Marian University
Doubling the Number of Graduates in 9 Years

Some would call a goal like this big and audacious. But Marian University, a private Catholic university in Indianapolis, called it their “WIG”—their Wildly Important Goal. But before they could attract new prospective students to learn who Marian was, they needed to define who they were to themselves, and then put a bold stake in the ground.

Brand Messaging Platform

The central theme of Marian’s brand is something that every college-bound student must ask themselves. What are you made of?  But beyond its use for student recruitment, the “what you’re made of” concept was developed to be very flexible across all audiences and purposes—from academic to athletics and development. It was also built off of the brand’s pillars and positioning statement.

Rolling Out the Brand

On & Off Campus

Banners and other signage on campus constantly remind Marian students and visitors to challenge themselves and look within for strength within. The brand messaging platform is also designed to speak to alumni and the community with a bold sense of pride.

Print Collateral

Along with high level messaging, Up&Up developed the new look and feel for the Marian brand and created production-ready templates for the viewbook and other print collateral material.


Marian’s reputation for developing leaders is something that has helped the university raise millions of dollars from the business community in Indianapolis. Knowing this, we created a way to incorporate this idea into the “what you’re made of” concept.


The “what you’re made of” concept naturally integrates into materials to recruit student athletes.


Microsite Experience

A microsite was built to accompany the viewbook and serves as the main landing page for paid media. We also built a multi-channel content strategy to get the new messaging and stories out on the website, through email, and onto social media. This helps drive students to Marian at various point in the funnel. At the top of the funnel, a brand video was placed in targeted markets to build awareness.  Also, an organic search strategy targeted students searching for particular academic programs, while email and social media were used to push out stories and information aimed at increasing yield.


Within a short period of time since the launch of the brand, Marian saw increases in new applications and deposits year over year. More importantly, the SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration) sessions applications, wait for it, soared. The SOAR sessions historically have produced the highest yield amongst prospective students.


increase in applications over last year


increase in deposits over last year


lift in early orientation/registration sessions