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K-State Today

November 9, 2022

Updates on Next-Gen K-State strategic planning and the university branding initiative

Submitted by Richard Linton and Charles Taber

Dear K-State Community, 

As we head toward our fall break in a couple weeks, our Next-Gen K-State strategic planning effort is moving full speed ahead. This fall has been one of heavy engagement with students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, donors, employers and other partners through listening sessions, interviews,and surveys. Our Emergent Method partners have completed 67 individual interviews and 38 listening sessions across the university, with our affiliated organizations, and across the state — with more to come. More than 2,274 faculty, staff, and students have responded to our surveys. In addition, 3,346 alumni, 964 parents and 110 employers have provided their input through our targeted survey efforts. All of this research will be compiled and shared in the coming months as we work to affirm our mission, vision, and values and begin developing our programmatic priorities around strategic themes.

From the beginning, we recognized that this strategic planning effort offered a unique, synergistic opportunity to leverage significant stakeholder engagement and use it to also inform the next evolution of our K-State brand, aligning it with the university's future and strategic directions. A key component of our planning effort is the creation of a unified brand strategy for Kansas State University that can be embraced across the broad K-State community, including our colleges, departments, non-academic units, the K-State Alumni Association, K-State Athletics, the KSU Foundation and other official affiliates. A unified brand strategy will support the creation of an evolved brand platform and visual identity for K-State — an identity designed to distill K-States values into lifelong affinity and loyalty to the university.

To develop this unified brand strategy, we have created a Brand Task Force. The task force will guide the development of the strategic vision and standards that drive key messaging, visual branding, brand campaign(s), and application of the brand strategy to internal and external audiences. The task force, which is beginning its work this week, is charged with the following key activities:

  • Guide the development of a structured, integrated brand strategy for the university.
  • Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to the K-State brand.
  • Foster a dialogue around the K-State brand platform, including vision, mission, brand promise, guiding principles, tone, personality and key narratives.
  • Explore the evolution of the visual identity of the K-State brand.
  • Guide and analyze market research and validation for proposed brand concepts.
  • Provide brand strategy recommendations to university leadership.
  • Support the development of brand guidelines to drive consistent implementation and utilization across all colleges, departments, units and affiliates.

We thank the task force members, listed below, for their willingness to take on this important work.

  • Susan Berhow, vice president of marketing communications, KSU Foundation.
  • Alan Boyer, professor of practice, A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Tami Breymeyer, director of licensing, K-State Athletics.
  • Amy Button Renz, president and CEO, K-State Alumni Association. 
  • Ben Cleveland, creative director, Division of Communications and Marketing. 
  • Tim de Noble, dean, College of Architecture, Planning & Design. 
  • Jason Ellis, department head and professor, communications and agricultural education, College of Agriculture. 
  • Karen Goos, vice provost, enrollment management. 
  • Fred Guzek, professor, integrated studies, K-State Salina. 
  • Emmanuel JeJe, doctoral student in leadership communication. 
  • Kenny Lannou, executive associate AD for communications/public relations, K-State Athletics. 
  • Ashley Martin, interim vice president, Division of Communications and Marketing.
  • Karen Pedersen, dean, K-State Global Campus. 
  • Erin Pennington, director of strategic research communications, Office of Research. 
  • Marta Richenburg, junior in history and political science, College of Arts and Sciences. 
  • Shane Shanks, senior creative director, KSU Foundation. 
  • Christine Splichal, director of communications and marketing, K-State Olathe.
  • Audrey Taggart-Kagdis, assistant director of marketing and programs, K-State Student Union.

The work of the task force will be supported by the Division of Communications and Marketing, which will serve as the project management office leading the implementation of the new brand strategy, and our Emergent Method strategic planning and brand consultants.

As we complete Phase 2 of our strategic planning this month, we thank all of you who have contributed your thoughts and suggestions throughout the fall. We truly appreciate the passion and energy you are bringing to this planning effort as we chart our future together. 

Go 'Cats!

Richard Linton

Charles Taber
Provost and Executive Vice President