IUP Brand: The IUP Story

  • The IUP brand is not a marketing gimmick. It’s not a logo or a color or a turn of phrase. It’s a unique story that shines through everything the university does in print, online, and in person.

    It communicates who IUP really is, based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research.

    You can find it in the Facebook posts we share, the stories we publish, and the pictures we take.

    It’s the guiding principle for all our marketing work as a division and as a university.

    Here, we lay out the core elements of the IUP brand story and how we tell it.

    Wondering what this looks like in real life? Our marketing portfolio shows some of the work we’ve been doing that reflects this brand essence.

    Brand Beliefs

    There’s potential for something greater in all of us. The capacity to grow with a purpose bigger than ourselves. To become something we never thought we could be.

    Everywhere you look, we’re pushing ourselves and each other to dig deeper, work harder, and reach further. Strengthening our resolve to tackle any challenge and weather any storm.

    You’ve already got what it takes. We’re just here to take you further. So no matter where you go, your IUP experience will carry you through—enriching your life, your community, and the world.

    The IUP Brand Essence

    We do not have a tagline. IUP is too complex to be condensed into a catchy phrase.

    We do have a brand essence, a guiding statement that captures the overall IUP brand and the role we play in peoples’ lives. It is an internal guide and starting point for understanding our brand.

    Cultivating Transformation

    • Cultivating: The deeper level of proactive engagement and care that students receive at IUP is simply unmatched.

    • Transformation: The dramatic impact this university has on students, faculty and staff, the town of Indiana, western Pennsylvania, and the world are truly astonishing.

    The IUP Brand Essence in Action

    At IUP, you’ll find yourself at the heart of a community as unique as you are.

    Where professors are as passionate about uncovering potential within every student as they are about teaching and research.

    Here, our students are encouraged to find their footing well beyond their comfort zone and are supported every step of the way.

    And no matter where you’ve come from or what brought you here, we all share an enthusiasm for hard work and accomplishment.

    Key Message Pillars

    Our audiences want to know why they should believe us. The answer lies in these four key statements that begin to break down who we are as a university and what makes us tick.

    Who We Are: Self-Actualization Providers

    IUP is a place where opportunity meets attainability. It is a rich community that pushes and guides students to flourish—to reach heights they didn’t know were possible.

    What We Do: The Hard Work of Transformation

    IUP expands the realm of attainability by taking our sense of community, our sense of belonging, and growing it with a shared sense of purpose and hard work.

    How We Do It: Personalized Belonging

    IUP serves students who desire rigor, but also desire direction. IUP responds with opportunities and resources, paired with intimate experiences, to help students define and reach their aspirations.

    Why We Do It: Diversifying Opportunity

    More than a degree, an IUP education provides a foundation that ensures adaptability—in the workforce and in life.

    Brand Voice and Tone

    Our brand voice is how we talk about IUP. It’s an active voice that’s clear, authentic, and direct—not flowery or verbose. It reflects the fact that we believe anyone can achieve greatness with guidance, hard work, and the right tools.

    The tone words below define our voice. They also allow us to change our tone so that it’s appropriate to the audience and situation—without losing what makes us unique. (For more on how to apply these tone words, consult our Content Guide.)

    Assertive

    • self-confident

    • strong-willed

    • the “tough” part of tough love

    Empathetic

    • understanding

    • kindness

    • the “love” part of tough love

    Real

    • straightforward

    • honest

    • direct

    Encouraging

    • optimistic

    • supportive

    Lively

    • active

    • dynamic

    • socially and academically

    Brand Research

    It began with a problem. IUP is a force in Pennsylvania, but our unique story has not been breaking through the sea of sameness in which we exist. To break through, we need a cohesive vision for the future, understanding the elements that make IUP unique and powerful to communicate them in a clear, consistent voice.

    This is how we made it happen:

    • Six months of market research

    • Competitive media audit of IUP and its six most significant competitors

    • 100+ interviews on campus with anyone from university leadership to police officers.

    • Follow-up interviews with local business owners, alumni, prospective students, and more.

    • Thousands of survey responses from current and prospective students, faculty and administrators, parents, alumni, and more.

    The research confirmed some of our assumptions and rejected others. It helped us define who we are, what others think of us, and how we can join the two.