March 31, 2023
You might recently have found Susquehanna University’s digital presence impossible to ignore.
The university’s homepage has been refreshed and features the leading message “Be impossible to ignore.” The website and social media describe Susquehanna as “the future-ready institution for today.” These messages are part of an ongoing effort to rebrand Susquehanna and spotlight its investments in each graduate to help them realize their unique potential and lead a successful and meaningful life.
Orange and maroon remain Susquehanna’s school colors, while its secondary color palette has shifted to represent the vibrancy of campus and the beautiful valley that surrounds it. Susquehanna’s wordmark and River Hawks logos have not changed.
In coming months, more brand enhancements will be visible. Updated brand banners will replace the existing ones on light poles and buildings around campus. New photography styles, an iconography system and newer typefaces will be incorporated into print pieces and digital platforms. The website will be fully redesigned in phases over two years and has already started with refreshing the content for Susquehanna’s 100+ majors and minors.
“Instead of a logo change, we wanted to strengthen our brand through compelling storytelling that is authentic to Susquehanna, while also appealing to future students,” says Aaron Martin, vice president for marketing and communications. “We achieved our goal.”
On March 9, at its annual conference, the College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals organization recognized Susquehanna’s rebranding with a gold Cuppie award for creative excellence in marketing and communications.
“We were honored that our higher education peers acknowledged the years long effort that went into designing the brand,” says Martin, “but, honestly, the real reward has been seeing the enthusiasm for the brand from students, faculty, staff and alumni. A brand is only as good as people’s eagerness to champion it.”
The work of rebranding began in 2020 with conducting market research to better understand the views of prospective students and their families.
“Through two years of discovery, we learned a lot about others’ perceptions of Susquehanna and what would add value for them,” says Martin. “The new brand speaks to student experiences and expectations.”
Led by Marketing & Communications, Enrollment and Advancement team members, the university partnered with J2, a strategic branding and creative agency in Philadelphia, to conduct internal research and to develop the new brand platform and voice. That work — interviews, focus groups, surveys, analysis and design meetings — took place from January through December of 2022.
“I am delighted that so many people across our university contributed to the outcome of unifying our voice under our new brand. And that the brand is genuine and conveys the unique sense of Susquehanna that people observe and share once they visit our special place,” says Susquehanna President Jonathan Green. “Our renewed brand approach will benefit us for years to come.”
The real branding work begins now, according to Martin. As one of Susquehanna’s brand messaging statements eloquently puts it, “Compelled by curiosity and backed by a legacy of success, we stand to face the future, ready.”