Working with the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University, Kelsh Wilson built a program of brand tools, then put those tools to work through a campaign of carefully targeted ads. The goal: to reach a group of particularly important influencers, including deans of peer schools nationwide.
It’s a twist on an old joke: How does an institution create the public image it wants? Answer: Very carefully.
In this case, the institution is the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University, an organization that’s dynamic, fast growing, thrillingly diverse—and not as well known as it deserves to be. In early 2017, Kelsh Wilson undertook a project to change that fact, a reinvention of the Volgenau message that resulted in a new brand, intentionally planned to spotlight the school’s truly distinctive strengths and to reach a range of audiences.
The program was built around the tagline “The Future of Engineering is Here”—a phrase uniquely appropriate to this decidedly forward-looking school.
Shortly after the launch of the new brand, KWD teamed up with Volgenau to bring the school’s new messages to life while reaching out to a particularly important audience. This was the membership of the ASEE—the American Society of Engineering Education—including deans and department heads at engineering schools across the nation. The members of this relatively small group have a big impact when it comes to shaping opinion—and voting on rankings—in their field.
Working with the Volgenau communications team, Kelsh Wilson set out to impress these key influencers with a series of ads in the ASEE magazine, Prism. Each of these ads tells a single story, and each of these stories makes the same point: that the future of engineering really is taking shape at Volgenau.
One submission highlighted NASA-funded work on machine algorithms used to process flight data in new ways, leading to safer skies. Another explored Air Force-funded cybersecurity research targeting malicious software in the form of so-called “Trojans.”
Whatever the topic, Kelsh Wilson works to distill complex stories into compact (but accurate) form and to pair the text with images that leap off the page.