Graduates from Southeast Missouri State share a fundamental pride about who they are and the work they do. They’re the nurses taking care of you. They’re the teachers educating your children. They’re the civil servants working at Homeland Security. They’re the people you want doing the work that’s important to you — because they’re dedicated and tenacious, and they’re going to get the job done. In short, they have a will to do.
In recent years, Southeast had been overshadowed by other institutions in Missouri. Ologie’s work with the university sought to dispel misperceptions, and evolve the brand to attract its best-fit students. The challenge was to convey its truly personal experience and groundbreaking academics, while underscoring the tenacity of its people.
After extensive research that included in-depth interviews with faculty, staff, alumni, students, and leaders in the community, we discovered a gritty and driven community at Southeast. These ideas informed our strategy and the university’s positioning, leading us to the brand platform and the “Will to Do” campaign. Both highlighted the university’s true spirit and cutting-edge programs, while instilling pride and increasing awareness.
In refining Southeast’s logo, we chose three emblematic components and modernized them: the dome of Academic Hall, the university’s full name, and the year it was founded. We worked closely with the Southeast team to evolve the various elements of the logo system so that it felt right to them and best represented who the school is today.
The final result was a blend of defining architectural details and unified typography, for a new identity that reflected a timeless and sophisticated look and feel.
For the Southeast team, it was important that the viewbook leave students feeling like the university is a place where they can receive personal support, truly thrive, and be proud. We created a viewbook that highlighted the pillar academic programs, co-curricular programs, athletics, Greek life, and recreation facilities. More importantly, we took a strong stance for authentic stories, and used bite-size facts and figures to inform without overwhelming.
Southeast ran with it, truly taking their story to hear and expressing it in their own ways. They introduced the overarching “Will to Do” message with a campus-wide takeover that included visuals on sidewalks, banners, oversized signage, the marching band, and lots and lots of swag. The event was a grassroots effort that united the community, injected it with a renewed sense of pride, and tapped into a magnitude of school spirit. Since then, the university has continued to own and express the brand through diversity “talking booths” on campus, athletic videos, and homecoming.
With the roll-out of “Will to Do,” Southeast achieved one of its highest retention rates in school history — that’s a total enrollment of about 12,000 students. The fall 2016 semester also brought a flourishing freshman class, which increased by 9 percent from the previous year. The university also saw a record class of students coming directly from high school, representing a growing shift toward more first-choice students.