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Nova Southeastern University A university brand makeover the community can rally behind

Starmark helped NSU Florida (Nova Southeastern University) take their new brand to market and increase their national reputation among prospective undergrad, graduate and professional students.

Starmark met the challenge of updating a 50-year-old brand head on. From capturing the fundamentals of what it means to be a NSU Shark to guiding the digital rollout to various schools within the university, Starmark successfully introduced The NSU Edge to the world, rallying students, faculty and alumni behind the brand.

Brand Essence Video

Starmark captured the essence of NSU in a video that brought the new brand to life for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. The music and VO-driven video follows an NSU student from her freshman year all the way to her successful career.

NSU Brand Essence Collage

As the camera moves through these situations, viewers catch glimpses of her “inner Shark” by her side every step of the way. In addition to their site, the video was used for social media and other promotional tactics as part of a bigger arsenal of storytelling pieces. Starmark also created other stories versioned for different audiences. For the first time, NSU has a moving, living embodiment of the spirit of their school, and the Starmark team is proud to have been a part of it.

It couldn’t have happened without being Agile

An important part of the challenge for NSU and Starmark was using Agile Methodology to break down a massive branding assignment into a series of roadmap phases that could be vetted with students, faculty and prospects throughout the process. The work also needed to be sequenced to create some early wins to keep momentum up over the length of the 18-month project.

'At Starmark, we like to say that any large, successful project is made up of a series of small, successful projects. Those small projects are what we deliver each sprint so that we stay flexible, aligned with our clients and open to change.' - Brett Circe, Chief Interactive Officer

The Starmark team created multiple mini roadmaps covering all aspects of the assignment. This allowed us to start the foundational digital work and brand guidelines much sooner. At the same time, we were able to begin the concepting, planning and pre-production work for the brand essence video.

Later in the project, we were able to use that foundational brand guidelines and digital work to guide the time-intensive but less time-sensitive rollout to microsites for each key school within the university system.

New Homepage and Landing Page

To make a big impact sooner, part of the roadmap was creating a quick turnover of the NSU homepage and web presence. Starmark created a temporary landing page that informed the public about the rebrand, hyping them up for the big transformation.

At the same time the landing page was being constructed, the team was hard at work modernizing the layout and functionality of the homepage. The result was a clean, new homepage, complete with new copy and a shark fin header design. Starmark made the page modular, allowing all aspects of the design system to be repurposed throughout the NSU site over time for consistency and efficiency.

Digital Brand Guidelines

Internal PR communications, academic departments, apparel vendors and student organizations all touch the NSU brand in some capacity. With so many moving pieces and players involved, it was important for everyone to be on the same page. Starmark created an online brand guidelines site to assist each player in knowing how to accurately convey and communicate the brand. NSU now has a new way to tell the NSU story, complete with a brand promise and directions to execute tone of voice, wordmarks, photography/video, editorial copy and more. Easily accessible and convenient, the guidelines ensured the brand will live on.

Digital Brand Guidelines

College Microsites

Since recruiting and increasing international and domestic nationwide applicants is at the core of NSU’s growth plans, Starmark developed a series of 4 college microsites that addressed and appealed to prospective students.

NSU College Microsites

Each microsite implemented the new brand’s tone of voice into concise copy that entices and empowers users to apply. The microsites included new downloadable information, success stories, course curricula, faculty pages, degree descriptions and more. Students seeking degrees from the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing, H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Fischler College of Education, and the NSU College of Engineering and Computing were able to find all relevant information in a simple way.

Moving NSU into the big leagues

The rebranding effort is already paying dividends. Both faculty and student groups are praising the new campaign as it rolls out.

There’s no way we’d be this far along without a roadmap that allowed us to tackle several different initiatives at the same time. We stayed flexible and stayed in touch with all our stakeholders from the various departments and colleges. We were able to keep everyone aligned and excited, while still giving ourselves room to account for change. – Brandon Hensler, Executive Director, Public Relations and Marketing Communications for NSU Florida

Phase two is coming soon, focusing on work that will up the game of NSU’s athletic department.