Rebranding of business college extending its reach with campaign


Courtesy of Emily Bowman, Ivy College of Business

Adriana Camber, senior in finance, wearing the “We Are Ivy” t-shirt from the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business.

Kirstie Martin

It has been 10 months since the rebranding campaign for the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business was launched. The rebranding campaign of the college was to add “Ivy” to its name. 

Michele Appelgate, director of marketing and communications for the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business, said the college spent a year planning the brand campaign. The Ivy’s donation was announced in September of 2017.

“Fifty million dollars is a lot for one family to give to a college, and that got a lot of attention,” Appelgate said. “The branding effort is even paid for with the gift; it’s an opportunity we never would’ve had before.”

The last year and a half has been spent pushing the Ivy name, Appelgate said. The new name is just part of the reason the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business has been standing out.

“One of the things that we have really been talking about the past year is what makes us unique,” Appelgate said. ‘We’ve been saying we are a college on the move because we have so many new majors and opportunities, while we have also been growing in numbers of students and programs that benefit students and their employers. As Dean Spalding likes to say, ‘We are not your father’s College of Business.’”

Emily Bowman is a graphic designer for the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business and said it is obvious the college is on the move.

“People are picking up on it,” Bowman said. “I think they recognize us more now. One thing I noticed is that in the first convocation ceremony after we were named the Ivy College of Business, students were really excited about it.”

Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding said the college really emphasizes digital advertising and making connections in all 99 counties across the state of Iowa to raise awareness about the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business.

“I feel good from that standpoint, that we’ve extended our reach,” Spalding said. “In terms of click throughs, the response has been strong and has exceeded our expectations. So I feel good about the campaign from that standpoint. I’m also hearing from people in Des Moines that people are talking about how visible we have become in the Des Moines area as a College of Business.”

Part of the strategy for this rebranding campaign is giving away “We are Ivy” t-shirts.

“We’ve had several emails from alumni asking for the t-shirt,” Appelgate said. “It’s been kind of hard because we use those as student giveaways primarily.”

Even with the name change, the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business wants to make it clear that all alumni of the college are Ivy College of Business alumni.

“One of the things that we are trying to communicate with the alumni who graduated before is that we are all part of the same family,” Appelgate said.

Appelgate said they are working on plans for what they will do next in the rebranding campaign but wasn’t quite ready to share them.

Available for viewing on the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business’s YouTube channel are three videos of Ivy students. The videos are part of a series called “Making a name for myself,” which is centered around Ivy students in different majors and their experiences at Iowa State within the Ivy College of Business.

“Our name may be new, but our impact is not,” Bowman said.