Doane University logo
Branding, Activation, Strategy & Analysis

A strategic campaign to launch a new era.

The ask.

After building a 140-year legacy in education, Doane College was ready for the next chapter — one that began with a name change to Doane University. Their marketing team came to us for help with announcing the evolution, increasing awareness and differentiating themselves from their regional competition.

The truth.

Doane isn’t like other universities in the region. As Nebraska’s oldest liberal arts and sciences college, it’s a one-of-a-kind private institution. Replicating the same marketing strategies as large, public universities wouldn’t yield the desired awareness and enrollment results. We had to showcase why current, prospective and past students choose Doane University — in a way that simultaneously highlights history AND modernizes the brand.

The solution.

A sense of belonging is timeless. And at Doane, students find a lifelong community. This key research finding — that students choose Doane because it’s different and familiar — was the basis for our Earn Your Shield campaign. Through multiple creative tactics, we highlighted the sense of belonging and community students can find — all while unlocking outsized opportunities.

To bring this modern and heartfelt story to market, we:

  • Updated the logo design and visual identity
  • Developed a cohesive messaging strategy
  • Completed a website overhaul
  • Launched branded swag
  • Developed a brand video
  • Executed traditional and digital ads
Earn Your Shield banner

The impact.

The Earn Your Shield campaign ran for nearly two years and helped Doane successfully transition to their new university identity. It increased enrollment by resonating with both traditional undergraduates and adult learners, inviting everyone to be part of something bigger.

The campaign generated hundreds of thousands of impressions and solidified Doane’s position as a destination in Nebraska. Not only did the campaign grow brand awareness and recall among undergrad and graduate audiences, but it also united internal teams and provided a clear path for growth.

Play Video about Doane University video: How will you earn your shield?
Doane University website

Leanne Prewitt

President & Chief Executive Officer

Shaped by her background in creative direction, Leanne leads the agency’s culture and creative vision and also oversees the operations that allow a team of marketing, design and media specialists to create powerful and effective work for their client partners.

Leanne began her professional career in New York City working for some of the nation’s leading agencies. In 2016, after a five-month sabbatical around the world, she returned to her hometown and joined Ervin & Smith. Her global perspective and expanded professional experience influence the work she does today.