Branding Town-Gown Initiative Across the State

What are LaunchBoxes? They’re facilities at Penn State commonwealth campus communities that provide free resources to student and community entrepreneurs. Because they exist in core communities statewide, they are also a face of Penn State town/gown relations and an important feature of university/government relationships, too.

When this program was launching, they came to Rowland for help creating their brand and establishing a repeatable framework for LaunchBox websites. Since then, we’ve also helped with the complicated work of brand management, as well as producing collateral and strategic plans that can be used as needed by all 20+ locations, as well as communications with communities, university stakeholders, and state politicians.

Project Goals

1

Establish and maintain a lasting brand

A new entity negotiating a complex educational and political landscape needs a great brand.

2

Develop a robust web presence

How could all LaunchBoxes have a website, without starting from scratch each time? They needed a solution that was scalable, personalizable, and able to be used by teams with varying technical skills.

3

Communicate purpose and vision to stakeholders across the commonwealth

It’s hard to explain what LaunchBox is and why it exists. The brand and associated material had to make it crystal clear what LaunchBox was doing, and why.

4

Provide customizable assets

There are 20+ LaunchBoxes, and each has varying levels of staff support. Some were capable of making their own marketing assets. Others were run by a single individual and needed all the help they could get. We had to come up with on-brand solutions that worked for both.

90%


A study found that 90% of respondents believe a university is an asset to a community.

Discovery

LaunchBox had different audiences. There was the target demographic of people who might use LaunchBox services. There was also a layer of local and state politicians looking for causes to support and looking to demonstrate a commitment to entrepreneurship. LaunchBox had to reach both, and our discovery process laid the foundation for a brand that now knew exactly what its goals were.

Strategy

From the beginning, LaunchBox has needed strategic support managing its brand. Nesting in a unit in a unit in a university, it could easily turn into meaningless logo soup. Instead, we worked with stakeholders and central communications to establish exactly how to manage the brand and how to strategically communicate that with each individual LaunchBox. The result? A clear, consistent brand that you’d never know is being implemented by 20+ separate groups.

Design

We love the LaunchBox brand. That box looks great on websites, in print, and on the side of a building. And the colors are used not only for the brand, but to create interior spaces that feel young, energetic, and adventuresome. No institutional beige here. We also used this vibrant visual identity to design scalable, adjustable collateral that all LaunchBoxes could use — supporting the teams who needed it most, and ensuring brand consistency.

Development

Like everything else LaunchBox, the website had to be unique. They didn’t need one site: they needed a few dozen! But the individual LaunchBox programs were at different stages of maturity when we did this work. Some hadn’t started yet. Some were in early stages. And others were going full speed, offering speakers and consulting and more. So we designed a stripe-based web template implemented on WordPress that let teams build out matching sites with only the sections they needed. As they grew, they could easily add information via new stripes and new pages, without coming back to us for every change. It was a unique solution in both design and development, and it’s served the growing LaunchBoxes incredibly well.

Awards and Recognition

2019 CP2 Bracket Award

Category: Brochure

CP Squared logo

2017 CP2 Bracket Award

Category: Website

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