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USC Marshall Executive Education: A Case Study in Rebranding Success

USC Marshall Executive Education - feature image

In the world of business education, the USC Marshall School of Business has long been a respected institution. However, in recent years, the school underwent a rebranding effort to elevate its executive education programs and better align with the needs of today’s business leaders. The results of this rebranding effort have been nothing short of impressive, and USC Marshall Executive Education has become a case study in rebranding success.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, so too must the educational offerings that aim to support and develop the next generation of business leaders. USC Marshall Executive Education recognized the need to adapt and innovate in order to remain competitive and relevant in today’s fast-paced business world. Through a strategic rebranding initiative, the school has successfully positioned itself as a top choice for executives looking to further their education and advance their careers.

This article will explore the rebranding journey of USC Marshall Executive Education, delving into the strategies and tactics that led to its success, and highlighting the lessons that other institutions can learn from this case study in rebranding triumph.

What is Rebranding?

What is Rebranding?

Rebranding is the process of changing the corporate image and identity of a company. This can encompass everything from the logo and color scheme to the overall messaging and positioning in the market. Rebranding is often undertaken to breathe new life into a company, appeal to a different target audience, or distance itself from negative associations. It may also be necessary after a company’s reputation has been tarnished and it needs to rebuild trust with its customers and stakeholders.

Rebranding can also be a strategic move to stay relevant in a constantly evolving market and to adapt to changing consumer preferences. The process of rebranding can be complex and involves a thorough analysis of the company’s current brand image, as well as input from various stakeholders such as customers, employees, and industry experts. Ultimately, rebranding is about creating a fresh and cohesive identity that reflects the values and goals of the company.


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Understanding Rebranding for Business School

Understanding Rebranding for Business School

Rebranding for a business school involves a strategic overhaul of its identity, encompassing its visual elements, messaging, values, and overall perception. It’s not just about changing a logo or name; it’s a holistic transformation to align the school’s image with its goals and target audience.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Defining Purpose and Vision: Clarify the school’s mission, values, and distinctiveness.
  • Understanding the Audience: Analyze the needs and aspirations of students, alumni, faculty, and employers.
  • Revamping Visual Identity: Refresh logos, colors, and design to mirror the school’s ethos.
  • Crafting Consistent Messaging: Align website content and communication strategies with the new brand.
  • Meticulous Implementation: Ensure uniformity across online, physical, and communication channels.
  • Feedback and Adaptation: Gather stakeholder input and refine the brand as needed.
  • Strategic Marketing: Launch the rebrand with a comprehensive promotional strategy.
  • Sustaining the Brand: Maintain consistency and adherence to brand guidelines for long-term success.

Rebranding a business school is a complex process that requires strategic planning, creativity, and stakeholder involvement. Done right, it can revitalize the school’s image, attract the right audience, and align its identity with its values and goals.

The Benefits of Rebranding for Business School

The Benefits of Rebranding for Business School

Rebranding in business education is more than a cosmetic shift, it’s a strategic maneuver that can reshape a school’s identity and influence its trajectory. By delving into the benefits of rebranding for a business school, one can uncover its transformative power in boosting enrollment, enhancing reputation, and aligning with the ever-evolving educational landscape.

Rebranding a business school offers numerous advantages that directly impact its success and standing within the educational landscape:

Increased Enrollment and Retention:

A strategic rebrand can attract more prospective students by highlighting the school’s unique offerings and strengths. A fresh identity often resonates well with potential enrollees, leading to increased admissions. Moreover, a rebranded school can foster a sense of pride among current students, boosting retention rates as they feel connected to an institution aligned with their aspirations.

Improved Reputation and Perception:

A successful rebrand can significantly enhance how the school is perceived by students, faculty, alumni, and industry stakeholders. By modernizing its image, showcasing innovation, and emphasizing its values and achievements, the school can elevate its reputation. This enhanced perception can positively influence partnerships, collaborations, and overall credibility within the business community.

Alignment with Changing Educational Landscape:

Business education continually evolves to meet industry demands and technological advancements. A rebrand allows the school to showcase its adaptability and relevance in this dynamic landscape. By updating its identity, curriculum, and methodologies, the institution demonstrates its commitment to staying ahead of emerging trends, attracting forward-thinking students and faculty seeking cutting-edge education.

Steps for a Successful Rebranding for Business School

Steps for a Successful Rebranding for Business School

Rebranding a business school is a transformative journey that involves strategic planning, creative execution, and stakeholder engagement. From defining a distinct identity to aligning with evolving educational trends, a successful rebranding effort requires a systematic approach.

Let’s explore the detailed steps that pave the way for a business school to revitalize its image and resonate effectively with its audience.

  1. Assessment and Goal Setting: Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s current brand position, reputation, strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Define clear and achievable objectives for the rebrand, aligning them with the school’s long-term vision.
  2. Stakeholder Engagement: Engage all relevant stakeholders including students, faculty, alumni, board members, and industry partners. Gather their insights, perspectives, and feedback through surveys, focus groups, or interviews to understand their expectations and perceptions of the school.
  3. Defining Identity and Values: Refine or reaffirm the school’s identity, mission, vision, and core values. Ensure these elements are authentic, distinctive, and aligned with the educational goals and culture of the institution.
  4. Audience Understanding: Conduct thorough research to understand the needs, preferences, and aspirations of the target audience – prospective students, faculty, alumni, and employers. Create personas to better tailor the rebranding efforts to resonate with each group.
  5. Creative Development: Collaborate with designers and branding experts to craft a compelling visual identity. Develop logos, color palettes, typography, and design elements that reflect the school’s values, culture, and positioning. Ensure the visuals are modern, relevant, and appealing to the target audience.
  6. Messaging Strategy: Develop a cohesive and consistent messaging strategy that articulates the school’s unique value proposition, strengths, and differentiators. Align all communication materials, including website content, brochures, and social media posts, with this messaging strategy.
  7. Implementation Plan: Create a detailed roadmap for implementing the rebrand across all touchpoints. This includes the website, social media channels, marketing collateral, signage, merchandise, and internal communications. Ensure consistency and coherence in the rollout.
  8. Feedback and Adaptation: Regularly collect feedback from stakeholders and the wider community. Monitor the perception and reception of the rebrand, and be open to making necessary adjustments or refinements based on this feedback.
  9. Launch Strategy: Plan a strategic and impactful launch campaign to unveil the new brand identity. Utilize various channels such as events, social media campaigns, press releases, and partnerships to generate excitement and create awareness.
  10. Sustainability and Management: Establish guidelines, brand standards, and protocols to maintain consistency in the brand identity over time. Provide training and support to internal stakeholders to ensure adherence to the new brand guidelines in all future initiatives and communications.

By meticulously following these steps and incorporating feedback along the way, a business school can successfully execute a rebranding initiative that aligns its identity with its vision, resonates with its audience, and sustains its relevance in the dynamic educational landscape.

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USC Marshall Case Study

USC Marshall Case Study


USC Marshall Executive Education, despite its academic excellence, grappled with low visibility in the market. Recognizing this challenge, USC Marshall sought to redefine its image and reach a wider audience. Engaging Digital Delane, a renowned marketing agency known for innovative strategies, became pivotal in this transformation.

Digital Delane‘s expertise in market analysis and creative solutions was instrumental in navigating USC Marshall’s rebranding journey. Their collaboration commenced with an in-depth assessment of USC Marshall’s existing position and an understanding of the aspirations for the rebrand.


  • Audience Reestablishment: Identifying and redefining the program’s audience and market positioning.
  • Vision, Mission, and Values: Redefining the core ethos and purpose of the program.
  • Renaming the Department: Crafting a new name that encapsulated the program’s essence.
  • Reconsidering the Tagline: Creating an aspirational and impactful tagline that speaks to students’ ambitions.
  • Brand Identity Reconstruction: Designing a modern and professional visual identity that mirrored the program’s objectives.


Case study's solutions

  1. Comprehensive Rebrand Strategy: Digital Delane, in partnership with USC Marshall, developed a comprehensive rebranding strategy. This included audience analysis, market positioning, and a roadmap for implementing the rebrand.

  2. Brand Identity Transformation: Leveraging their design expertise, Digital Delane crafted a fresh visual identity for USC Marshall Ignite. They conceptualized a modern logo and website design that captured the essence of the program’s transformation.
  3. Strategic Messaging and Tagline Development: Working collaboratively, Digital Delane contributed to formulating the impactful tagline, “Ignite Your Potential.” This resonant messaging aimed to inspire potential students to pursue their career growth through USC Marshall Ignite.


The rebranding effort was successful, and the USC Marshall Executive Education program is now more visible and competitive than ever before. The program has seen an increase in enrollment, and it is now considered to be one of the top executive education programs in the country.

The rebranding initiative yielded remarkable results:

  • Enhanced Visibility: USC Marshall witnessed a 40% increase in search visibility, significantly amplifying its presence in the market.
  • Increased Course Offerings: With the successful launch of 13% more courses, the program expanded its educational portfolio, catering to diverse student needs.
  • Elevated Reputation: The program’s revamped image positioned it as one of the top executive education programs nationally, attracting increased enrollment and recognition.

Case study results


The USC Marshall Executive Education’s rebranding journey is a testament to the transformative power of strategic reimagination in education. It showcases the vital steps—assessment, stakeholder engagement, identity refinement, and sustained implementation—that institutions can take to evolve and meet the demands of a dynamic business landscape.

For those seeking a similar transformation, Digital Delane’s expertise and innovative strategies, showcased in their collaboration with USC Marshall, offer a compelling pathway. Their role in defining market positioning, crafting resonant messaging, and reshaping visual identity was pivotal in USC Marshall’s success.

To embark on your own rebranding journey, consider partnering with Digital Delane—an agency that understands the nuanced art of revitalizing institutional identity, fostering visibility, and achieving rebranding triumphs.

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