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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:00 am

Color scheme change part of IPFW rebrand

Black, gold to represent Purdue Fort Wayne

RON SHAWGO | The Journal Gazette

Goodbye blue and white. Hello black and gold.

When Purdue University Fort Wayne emerges from the breakup of IPFW next year, it will assume the colors of its mother school, IPFW announced Wednesday.

“While there are several factors that played into this decision, the findings of the market research are clear: the Purdue University brand is known for academic quality and is recognized as being a quality brand locally, nationally and globally,” IPFW Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer said in a news release.

The university's athletic teams will remain the Mastodons, school spokeswoman Kimberly Wagner said. But in consideration of the past, athletic colors are still under consideration, she said. They might not be blue and white, she said, but they might not be just black and gold, either. Wagner had no further details.

“When you look at a lot of university campuses, the university will have one set of brand standards, and athletics may be branded differently,” she said. “Even Purdue University, their athletics division has a different logo than Purdue University. So, we're looking at our options as far as athletics goes, knowing that there's a lot of pride and a lot of commitment and support to athletics.”

Marketing firm SimpsonScarborough, of Alexandria, Virginia, which works with higher-education institutions, was paid $80,000 by IPFW to help with rebranding. Its contract was signed in April and ended Sept. 30. The company surveyed high school students, current IPFW students, faculty and alumni.

In his first official news release since taking over as chancellor Nov. 1, Elsenbaumer said “the brand equity of Purdue will serve to enhance and elevate perceptions of Purdue Fort Wayne.”

The rebranding must be approved by Purdue University. Purdue President Mitch Daniels issued a “Clarification of Brand Governance” in July that outlines the importance of uniform branding of all Purdue schools.

“No university that we know of has been as lax as we in enforcing the use and format of our brand marks and standards,” he said in a memo to administrators. He tied branding adherence on each campus to funding.

School colors might be one of the most visible changes coming to the local campus, but the rebranding is multifaceted. Under terms of the SimpsonScarborough contract, IPFW wanted to gauge the value of the experience its Fort Wayne campus provides and “understand any liabilities or threats that must be addressed.”

The school wanted to determine the programs IPFW is best known for and what Purdue University assets should be capitalized upon, among other questions. 

“To be clear, determining our colors is just one step in the process of rebranding our institution and we will continue working to develop the creative pieces of our brand, Elsenbaumer said in the statement. “A brand implementation team comprised of university stakeholders has been engaged in the process and will be critical to the brand rollout.”

The full cost of rebranding is still unclear, Wagner said. She called the effort a “rolling transition.” The school is in the process of sending out requests for proposals to marketing agencies to help it move to the next stage of rebranding, she said.

“And it really kind of depends on what they come back with as to what kind of costs will be associated with the actual rebranding efforts,” she said. “So, we're still pulling together the numbers.”

In December, Indiana University and Purdue trustees approved an agreement for IPFW's governance that establishes two institutions beginning July 1, 2018. IU will have a lower profile and focus on health sciences. Purdue will handle all other academic programs.

rshawgo@jg.net