Success Story:

Harris-Stowe State University

Change Happens Here: Building a Powerful Brand to Reflect Success

The Challenge

Harris–Stowe State University (HSSU) is a historically black public university located in St. Louis, Missouri, serving 1,700 enrolled students and offering over 50 majors and programs. In light of recent enrollment growth, HSSU saw an opportunity to develop an authentic, engaging recruitment campaign concept and collateral that could communicate their value, quality and holistic student experience across the college search journey.

Our Solution

MediaCross crafted two distinct concepts that were both visual and editorial in nature and exuded HSSU’s unique value proposition and key brand characteristics. Our concepting work was thoughtfully created to resonate with prospective students and took into consideration how the tone and design may be adapted across mediums. Together, HSSU and MediaCross refined the creative direction from one of the concept designs, and MediaCross created a suite of recruitment materials.


After immersing ourselves in HSSU through an on-campus discovery, we developed two concepts of which the “Change Happens Here” concept was selected. The inspirational and versatile concept, expanded on HSSU’s existing message of “Inspiring Change.” It was a proclamation signaling the promise of transformation and life changing opportunities for HSSU students. To tie the brand together, colors were chosen that were bolder versions of HSSU’s existing gold and brown. We brightened their gold to make the designs pop, while also making it similar to the bright gold found in HSSU’s existing marketing materials. We also darkened the brown to create a stark contrast with the gold. The addition of a red-orange color – inspired by colors we found on campus in HSSU’s architecture – added flair to the pieces, while keeping the brand recognition, that the gold and brown created, strong.

Recruitment Suite

MediaCross created a recruitment suite that included a travel piece, a quick stats die-cut, letterhead, business cards, PowerPoint template and a series of academic information sheets. Our objective in designing the suite of materials was to create a consistent brand experience while designing each piece with the end user and desired action in mind. The recruitment suite will allow prospective students and their families to better connect with HSSU’s brand while educating them on the high-quality programs and unique features within HSSU’s three colleges/schools.

Using the HSSU’s athletic logo, the hornet die cut was designed as an “at-a-glance” piece that gives important fast-facts.

With a refreshed brand and tagline developed by MediaCross, this general brochure was the first in a full suite of new print assets and was designed to support recruitment efforts at college fairs and beyond.

To reinforce the new brand, MediaCross created stationery that continues a unified brand experience throughout all communications.

Brochures representing each college/school were created as a supplemental piece to mirror our newly created general brochure to give a deeper look into each area.

The Results

Through the fresh, new concept and suite of materials created by MediaCross, HSSU is better positioned to appeal to Gen Z students with a clear, cohesive brand. The messaging and design were developed to resonate with their audience and create a more connected experience, which often leads to more engagement and greater yield. Ultimately, our work morphed into a brand refresh and HSSU has since used our creative direction to adapt additional materials. We are currently working to develop campus branding materials, digital advertising and more that follow the concept.

A Concept that Resonates

The new campaign concept conveys the promise of transformation and the life-changing opportunities for students at HSSU, eliciting an emotional response, which results in building brand affinity.

A Cohesive Message

A cohesive message allows HSSU’s brand to permeate a student’s college decision, keeping it top-of-mind for prospective students.

Continued Impact

A full-suite of materials – travel pieces, branded templates, ads, signage and brochures and more – will help HSSU create a consistent brand experience, which leads to greater brand recognition.

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Alandrea P. Stewart
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Harris-Stowe State University
We sought out MediaCross to assist us with developing a new enrollment campaign, which quickly turned into a brand refresh for our university. The team at MediaCross is knowledgeable, creative, responsive and committed to supporting our marketing and branding initiatives. They have become an invaluable partner to our marketing team and university.

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