Emporia State's new logo.
Emporia State is no longer “Empowered by E.” The university launched a new marketing campaign – “Changing Lives Since 1863” – website and logo in July in celebration of the college’s 150 years as a public institution. ESU is the oldest, publicly funded college in the state.
“We didn’t just spring up overnight,” said Bill Noblitt, executive director of Marketing and Media Relations. “I think getting it out there that we have this rich tradition of 150 years is really going to help us.”
When “Empowered by E” was launched by former President Michael Lane in January 2011, the university erected several billboards around the state toting the slogan, filmed television commercials and amped up its presence on social media websites.
Noblitt said the new campaign will build on these advertisements but that President Michael Shonrock allocated an additional $100,000 in rollover funds from the last fiscal year to the current, annual marketing budget. Last year’s total marketing budget for both undergraduate and graduate programs was $310,700. This year’s budget is $452,840.
“We have been very fortunate in receiving funds and support from the president in the continued efforts to grow the marketing and media budget, but it’s still at a competitive level,” said Jim Williams, vice president of Student Affairs.
The new logo, which incorporates the Emporia State seal and features a line drawing of Plumb Hall, was designed by Kat Dorcas, graphic design specialist. The website was co-designed by Dorcas and Umair Abbasi, university webmaster.
“The old (website) look was so dark and uninviting,” Noblitt said. “It was too cacophonous in a way. We tried to clean it up and make it simple…the focus is on student retention and recruitment. If faculty and staff feel left out, we don’t want them to because they can still find what they need on there.”
Shonrock said he and his wife, Karen, came up with new slogan while driving back from their former residence in Texas, where Shonrock was previously an associate professor of educational psychology at Texas Tech.
Williams said there was nothing wrong with the “Empowered by E” campaign, but it was a successful kick-start to creating an integrated marketing program. When Noblitt took the helm as director in August 2010, ESU did not have an overall marketing campaign, he said.
The Power E logo, which was created in 1998, will continue to be seen on promotional and novelty items and used by the athletic department, said Gwen Larson, assistant director of Marketing and Media Relations.
Larson said the Power E is part of ESU’s history and compared the switch to the new logo with ESU’s various names.
“We’re on our fourth name for the university, and when we changed from Kansas State Normal School to Kansas State Teachers College – which is actually the name we’ve had the longest in our history – nobody went to the roof of Plumb Hall and leaned and power-sanded the KSN medallion and changed it to KSTC,” Larson said. “KSN still exists on this campus, the Power E still exists on this campus, and it’s always going to be part of our history.”
ESU’s homepage describes the university as “a private college experience,” and Williams said this is taking a cue from private colleges by focusing on the university’s attributes that are similar to private schools. For instance, Williams noted ESU’s small campus size, a strong international student population, opportunities to get involved in research and individualized attention for students as a few examples of how ESU compares to private colleges.
“We kind of are like what you would think a private liberal arts college would be like, but we’re public…we can celebrate our uniqueness in the sense that we’re a close community, and those are the types of things you get a private school,” Williams said.
Noblitt said he hopes this new campaign will last at least five years, but the university will be looking into creating a new logo sometime over the next 18 months.
“It will probably not be the Power E,” he said.