Dixie State University, Love Communications nationally recognized for branding efforts
Members of the Dixie State University Marketing & Communication team, from left, Colton Campbell, Megan Church, Joel Griffin, Scott Garrett, Jordon Sharp, Misty Frisbey, Kayla Coolbear and Jyl Hall pose with their SAMY Award at the award ceremony in Salt Lake City.
ST. GEORGE, Utah — In partnership with Love Communications, the Dixie State University Marketing & Communication office is receiving statewide and national recognition for establishing the Trailblazer identity.
For their branding efforts, Dixie State and Love have been named a finalist for the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award and won a Utah Business magazine SAMY award. Additionally, the university was presented with four national and 11 regional awards from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations.
“The Dixie State University Marketing & Communication office has done an amazing job branding and promoting our institution,” Dixie State President Richard “Biff” Williams said. “The athletic rebranding process was a monumental undertaking and the new Trailblazer identity has been incredibly successful; it has reignited the community’s passion for Dixie State University and made them even more excited to live in Trailblazer Nation.”
Dixie State and Love’s entry for establishing the Trailblazer athletic identity was named a finalist in the Reputation/Brand Management category for PRSA’s Silver Anvil award. An honor highly respected among communication professionals, the Silver Anvil has recognized the best in strategic and public relations since 1944.
The top campaign in each of the award’s 16 categories will walk away with a Silver Anvil and finalists will take home Awards of Excellence. Winners will be announced at the PRSA 2017 Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony this June in New York City. Other finalists include Aflac, American Express, NASA, Carnival Corporation, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Hilton.
“The success of the new Trailblazer brand has been nothing short of amazing,” Dr. Jordon Sharp, Dixie State’s chief marketing & communication officer, said. “Historically, athletic rebrands do not go over well, yet the Trailblazer identity has grown in strength and prominence in every measurable way.”
Additionally, Utah Business magazine recognized the university and Love with a SAMY Award in the Public Relations Launch category. Honoring excellence in marketing and sales in Utah, the SAMYs awarded companies such as Harmon Brothers, Zions Bank and Sundance Mountain Resort in other categories.
To create the Trailblazer identity, the university and Love reviewed identity data collected over 10 years, administered an online survey to 5,000 participants, held more than 50 focus groups, evaluated 10 different possibilities, and created concepts and imagery for the final three identities.
The resulting Trailblazer identity embodies the Dixie Spirit that is rooted in southern Utah pioneers’ legacy of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to one another and is paired with the bison, America’s original trailblazers. Trails created as bison stampeded across the country were adopted by Native Americans and pioneers as hunting and warrior paths and assisted with the migration out west. Dixie’s mascot, Brooks the Bison, is named after Dixie’s original trailblazer, Samuel Brooks, who spent the night on the steps in front of St. George Stake Academy on the eve of its opening in 1911 in order to be the first person to secure student status.
“Dixie State is on the move and the new identity is trailblazing the way; merchandising is up, student recruitment is up, donations and community involvement are up, awards received are shattering records, and you can see Brooks the Bison everywhere you look,” Sharp said. “It has been a great honor for our marketing team to provide an identity that is worthy of the rich Dixie history of service, innovation, and sacrifice.”
Dixie State also recently received four awards through the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations Paragon Awards program, which recognizes outstanding achievement in design and communication at colleges. The university competed against 1,800 entries from 240 colleges and received Gold awards in the Viewbook and Original Photography – Manipulated categories, Silver in Video Shorts and Bronze in College Promotional Brand Video. Additionally, on the district level, Dixie State earned two Gold, four Silver and five Bronze awards as it competed against 47 colleges from the Southwest.
“The university’s marketing materials and public relations efforts invite the community onto our campus, and UMAC has done a great job of capturing the essence of Dixie State and sharing it with the community,” Williams said. “Dixie State University enriches its community and the lives of its students by promoting a culture of learning, engagement, and opportunity and UMAC’s effort in sharing this message deserves all the recognition it has received.”