Germanna Community College
Germanna Community College embodies the advantages of a two-year education. They are affordable. They offer top-ranked programs in region-relevant fields. They emphasize diversity and inclusion, welcoming students with a supportive, family-like atmosphere regardless of academic credentials or background.
However, the story Germanna was telling fell short of their value proposition. Their brand lacked focus and differentiation. Their communication channels were riddled with inconsistent messaging and dated marketing collateral. In the digital arena, their website was difficult to navigate and dense with link-heavy content, making it hard for their audiences to find what they needed quickly and easily. Combined with the long-standing misperceptions of a community college education and the enrollment disruption brought on by COVID-19, Germanna was not positioned for success.
Their storytelling vehicle needed major repairs in a number of areas. That’s when Germanna turned to VisionPoint to rebuild both their brand and their website from the ground up.
Our brand perception research revealed positive differentiators that Germanna could highlight in their new brand. By and large, Germanna’s top priority audiences had positive impressions of Germanna. The college’s offerings were viewed to be of the highest quality and Germanna was seen as a place that is accessible, welcoming, and available to everyone in the community.
Through the rebrand effort, we wanted to help Germanna go beyond the generally positive perceptions and really crystallize what sets them apart. Based on the research findings, we centered the brand on two key qualities: excellence and inclusion. This combination was not only authentic to the college, but also made for a compelling story.
The first pillar – “Second to None” – focuses squarely on Germanna’s dedication to excellence. Aside from being Virginia’s top-ranked two-year institution, Germanna is dedicated to going above and beyond in every aspect; which balances out nicely with the second pillar – “Open to All” – which speaks to the college’s open-admission commitment to making a first-rate education accessible to all.
Our positioning also expressed their passion for diversity and inclusion in ways that go beyond the fact that community colleges appeal to diverse people. At Germanna, they privilege the differences that people bring to the table, and build the type of community in which a rich education can happen.
The centerpiece of our brand work is the new logo we designed for the college. Germanna has a personality that is quirky and experimental – a place where students could stay unapologetically true to themselves while pursuing their goals with confidence. As a nod to the brand pillar, “Barrier Busting”, the new logo literally broke the letters in Germanna’s name apart. The irreverence of the design risk was intentional.
Our brand strategy called for Germanna to be fearless, and embrace their individuality in all its quirks and imperfections. To this end, we invoked bright colors and tasteful design choices that captured the vibrance, optimism, and approachability of the Germanna experience.
Then, we extended the new visual identity across different academic units and divisions, giving Germanna’s brand the architectural framework needed for consistent storytelling. Finally, we produced a comprehensive brand guide to help Germanna inspire and expedite adoption.
Our early work for Germanna demonstrates how abstract ideals, like brand pillars, can take shape. Whether it’s through a bold new logo, smart messaging tailored to specific audiences across different channels (like landing pages, social media, paid ads, etc.), or an elevated website experience, our early work has set the stage for Germanna to achieve their brand marketing goals.