University of Houston

Brand · Digital Marketing

The University of Houston (UH) was at the early stages of a sea of change, striving to elevate its national ranking and solidify its status as a top-tier institution. Through substantial investments, particularly in athletics and research, UH had witnessed remarkable success, becoming a top research institution in the country and appearing in the 2021 NCAA Final Four for the first time in 37 years. The university’s primary goal was to increase enrollment, but our analysis revealed the need for modernized branding and advertising campaigns to align with UH’s ambitious strategic vision and untapped brand potential.

Evolving the Brand

Instead of jumping straight into an integrated marketing campaign, we conducted foundational brand work with the university first. Through our brand development workshop, we helped them surface their brand pillars, brand messaging, and personality traits. Their interlocking UH logo stayed the same, but we updated their wordmark as well as their brand architecture to better showcase how all of their amazing institutional elements worked within the UH brand. 

We Dare

Once we came to the end of our brand work, VisionPoint worked with the university to launch an enrollment-leaning, but still institutional, brand campaign. One of the anecdotes we heard frequently in our brand workshops was that UH stakeholders believe they’re not quite the underdog, but they do possess a “we’re never going to be held back; we’re only moving forward” kind of personality to their brand.

Understanding this, we developed the We Dare campaign concept, encompassing how the university not only dares to do groundbreaking things, but also how you can dare to do the same groundbreaking work. You dare to make it big in Houston. You dare to be the first in your family to go to college. You dare. This dare campaign was able to be translated into an institutional message of “we dare you” or “we dare for ourselves” that allowed the campaign concept to be adaptable to many executions and permutations at once.

Groundbreaking Results

The We Dare campaign results totally blew industry benchmarks out of the water. In the first year of the campaign, it garnered more than 88 million impressions and nearly 4,000 conversions, with many channels delivering results over 100% stronger than industry benchmarks. As a lead generation effort, the campaigns generated a low CPA of $21.34 compared to benchmarks for most channels closer to $70-$100. Embracing their identity, the University of Houston’s updated brand and new campaign heralded a new chapter of innovation and possibility, kicking down the doors into a new era.

Next Project

Kutztown University

Digital Marketing