Investing the best and brightest individuals with opportunities for education and growth is a smart move for any company. The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program does just that for the state of Indiana by offering Indiana students the opportunity to attend one of the state’s higher education institutions and, ultimately, pursue careers in Indiana.
What happens after completion of the program though? With more than 4,700 recipients since 1998, Lilly Scholars form a unique group of motivated, lifelong learners and engaged community members. The Lilly Scholars Network started with a small cohort of scholars that were grateful for scholarship and wanted to give back and stay connected after graduating. From this small group came the network grew organically eventually developing a website and brand and spreading to chapters at different schools in Indiana.
As the network grew, it became apparent that they needed partners to bring stakeholders together, develop programming, and build consensus. Enter Independent Colleges of Indiana and Indiana Humanities who were brought in to develop and drive the future of the program. The network also needed a partner to help develop brand elements that aligned with the Lilly Endowment, and ultimately position The Lilly Scholars Network as a unique organization. Enter SmallBox.
The ultimate goal was to inspire, educate, and mobilize scholars to create change in Indiana, while broadening awareness among academic, community, and business leaders.
Our first step was to listen. Based on insights from conversations and creative exercises, we collectively evaluated the Lilly Scholars Network name and mission, determining the exact elements to be updated. Next, we developed a purpose statement that could be used to guide all of our work. With collaboration being of the utmost importance, we socialized a draft purpose statement throughout the organization for feedback, resonation, and to ensure excitement about our direction.
Lilly Scholars Network exists to:
We were thrilled with the collaborative process of designing the Lilly Scholars brand with SmallBox. With so many stakeholders involved, touchpoints to gauge feedback were very important to us, and we always felt that our input was valued, down to the smallest detail.
– KRISTEN FUHS WELLS, VICE PRESIDENT FOR INDIANA HUMANITIES
The next step in reimagining the brand was incorporating past foundation elements into a new visual identity. Working with a core team of Lilly Scholars alumni and representatives from ICI and Indiana Humanities, two strong identity options were created. Each identity was taken before the greater network and evolved based on feedback.
The final identity options were presented then to The Lilly Endowment along with a recommendation from us to ensure one cohesive overall brand, while also highlighting its unique entities. A final selection was made by the Endowment.
The name, mission, logo, tagline, and visual systems were wholeheartedly approved by all parties. From there, we created a rollout strategy, bringing the brand to life through newly redesigned brand touchpoints and collateral, such as LSN’s website, stationery, newsletter templates, social media assets, and swag.
We love the new logo, all of the little touches in the brand identity, and how fresh and flexible it feels. We know that this full rebrand will help us to mobilize a passionate group of Lilly Scholars while elevating the reputation of the program overall.
– KRISTEN GUHS WELLS, VICE PRESIDENT FOR INDIANA HUMANITIES
Through a strong partnership between Indiana Humanities, Independent Colleges of Indiana, Lilly Endowment Inc, and SmallBox, The Lilly Scholars Network was able to create a cohesive direction and experience for members. Despite launching the new brand during the early months of the pandemic, the Lilly Scholars Network has already seen an increase in the number of individuals engaging in networking opportunities, particularly online.
Most importantly though, the feedback garnered from the process has given Lilly Scholars Network a guideline for the future and reinforced their commitment to the potential of Indiana.