University of Arkansas – Fort Smith
Brand · Integrated Marketing
A Brand Mired in Ambiguity
For years, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS) had been grappling with inconsistencies in how the university community both presented and perceived itself. In reality, UAFS had the ingredients of a great brand story – from their role as an economic growth engine in the River Valley region, to their focus on personalized student success.
A University Battling Community College Misperceptions
Audiences – especially those in their immediate recruitment region – still associated a UAFS education with the disadvantages and limitations of a two-year degree – a byproduct of their evolution in 2002 from a community college into a university.
Delivering a Consistent Message
To help UAFS discover a story they could tell in one voice, as well as build internal advocacy to ensure the brand’s long-term success and adoption, we involved over 1,000 stakeholders in the rebranding process.
A Bolder, More Confident Numa
The centerpiece of the project was a new institutional logo that portrayed the UAFS mascot, Numa the Lion, standing atop a stone foundation with a future-forward posture, along with a new font design for the university’s name.
A Framework for Adoption
To help UAFS adopt the new brand, we developed an extensive brand book, a brand video, and a brand guidelines landing page with downloadable resources and templates. We also helped launch a series of internal rollout activations, which included brand training sessions and event support for a formal flag raising ceremony.
A Solution Between Reality and “What If”
Our brand-driven campaign presented UAFS’s differentiators – low tuition, résumé-worthy experience, and personalized attention to student success – as the “what if” solutions that bridged theoretical ideals with practical success outcomes.
A Proud New Stance
Through our work, we helped UAFS redefine who they are, what they stand for, and what sets them apart – all while bringing traditionally siloed units and divisions together by involving them at every step. While results of our campaigns are still coming in, our work has already helped UAFS earn media attention, as well as pave the way for their upcoming website redesign.