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Case Study

Iowa Western

A remarkable transformation for a premier college


Iowa Western (IWCC) is a two-year, public community college that specializes in programs designed to transfer as well as programs intended to get people out in the work force in two years. IWCC was founded in 1966, offers 84 majors and has over 7,000 students.

Identity for the College and Athletics

The Challenge

When prospective students were brought to campus and asked how they see Iowa Western, the responses were: Growing, great campus life, affordable programs, traditional age students and a cutting-edge community college. The brand expressions did not align with those opinions. Creating a new personality, a new image, a new way of expressing the college was critical in persuading students to take a visit so they can see all the great things for themselves.

Websites and Digital Advertising

“The transformation of Iowa Western into the premier community college in the region has been an exciting journey that included a remarkable rebranding campaign by the staff at DAAKE. Our new logos and branding materials have created a sense of pride among our students and staff as we continue to grow as a quality educational institution.”

Dr. Dan Kinney
Iowa Western

Recruitment Publications

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The Approach

When you arrive at Iowa Western’s entrance you see rolling hills, acres of trees and modern buildings rising up. There are students walking along bridges over creeks, playing basketball outside their residence halls and football and baseball players practicing. This is not what you think of when you hear “community college.” We needed to capture this vibrant, University feeling in a new identity.

  • Analysis : We took prospective students on a bus ride to Iowa Western and conducted focused research while we were with them. The emerging trends in those sessions were very valuable. We also conducted a creative strategy session will all stakeholders. We asked questions about their unique story, their culture, their competition, their target student, adjectives that describe the Iowa Western experience and many more.
  • Define & Plan: What we learned was this is a place hungry for a new identity that symbolized all the wonderful things they were doing. We learned that the modern, up-to-date facilities stood out. We learned that getting people to see this amazing campus for themselves is crucial. We learned that a brand influences a decision to attend a college, but the substance (programs, degrees, campus life) matters most. This was a brand revolution, not an evolution.
  • Create : We needed to make an aerial footage-based commercial of this campus to show it off. We needed a college and athletic mark that competed with all the other big schools. We were going to minimize the words “community college” in expressions to avoid some of the stigma.

Outdoor Advertising

TV Commercial


The most important thing we learned

Iowa Western looks, feels and delivers on a four-year college experience. Elevating their brand expressions to this level has positioned them for the future. While their sports teams are winning national championships wearing their new Reiver’s gear… more and more students are visiting Iowa Western to see their vast campus and the large, modern buildings popping up in each corner.

This was a very fulfilling assignment because we were able to create a great, new identity that now accurately symbolized all the great things happening on the campus.

Signage, apparel and more...

What our client had to say about the experience

“One word that could describe Daake would be committed… they kept me focused on the end result.”

Don Kohler
Vice President
Marketing & Public Relations
Iowa Western