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Boise State rebrands to keep a competitive edge

Nike is known for its swoosh; the University of Oregon is renowned for their giant “O” and flashy uniforms; Texas is known for its signature Hook ‘em Horns. While Boise State has its signature blue turf and Bronco head logo, it is still competing with universities across the country to market itself not only in athletics, but also as an educational institution.

For Boise State, this competitive edge comes with a hefty price tag.

Recently, a large steel “B” was constructed behind the Administration Building on campus. It is hard to miss when driving by. Its cost: $40,000.

Another giant “B” can be seen attached to the side of the Stueckle Sky Center; its overall cost was $27,000.

Although funds for these projects come from facilities that are paid for by student tuition fees, there are also other entities that help to cover costs, including a portion of Boise State’s budget from the state.

“We’re going to use this money anyway,” said Greg Hahn, associate vice president of Communications and Marketing. “Why not turn the back of the Administration Building into something more than a parking lot?”

In deciding what monument to place in that particular location, the school board had many options to pick from, including a fountain or multiple horse statues. Ultimately, it settled on the “B” because of its recent  adoption as the academic logo.

Last year Boise State adopted the large Gotham-font “B” logo to replace the diamond design that represented the academic side of Boise State.

“What we needed was a logo that stuck out,” Hahn said. “That was not the case with the old logo.”

One campus logo that is already popular—as Hahn hopes the “B” will become—is the Bronco head which represents the Athletic Department, made famous by the Boise State football program.

“A logo is like a mark of origin,” Hahn said. “I think of it like the swoosh of Nike.”

He believes that universities are catching up to corporations in a sense.

“They figured it out a while ago,” he said. “We’re getting more sophisticated in the way that we present ourselves graphically.”

In a recent deal in which Albertsons, LLC acquired naming rights to Boise State’s football stadium, the university was designated to receive $12.5 million dollars over a 15-year period.

Hahn says the purpose of the deal is to associate Albertsons with the Boise State Bronco logo.

Ford, the official truck of the Broncos, also has a lucrative deal with Boise State for this reason.

“The value of the Bronco head is really important to the budget of Boise State,” Hahn said.

Most money earned from sponsorship goes into athletics. Merchandise sales featuring Boise State logos are often used to fund student scholarships.

The “B” has started to generate revenue of its own, but is far more versatile in its application than the Bronco head.

Student organizations and departments are allowed to change the “B” around to fit their individual needs, but must follow the brand guidelines posted on the Boise State website.

Students may notice walking around campus that many logos from past designs are still up. This is so that the re-branding remains as cost-effective as possible. As repairs are needed, campus logos will be updated accordingly. Because Boise State has a replace-as-needed policy, the exact date and total cost of the change over is unknown.

“What’s nice about evolving slowly as we have is that you don’t have to tear everything down at once,” Hahn said.