Innovation Corps Program Rebranding
Innovation Corps is a customer discovery program for college students. They aim to help
entrepreneurial students investigate if their idea is a viable market-ready product.
The program's ultimate goal is to educate students on the process of refining their idea and pushing to develop the product more in other programs or apply for seed money to make it happen. Students get $3k in travel/discovery funding to interview potential audiences and attend a series of workshops to eventually build a business model.
Scope : Title Treatment
Innovation Corps already existed as a brand but wanted to revise the look and feel to fit CSUN guidelines. It is important to discuss with the client what their brand attributes are such as: the company culture, their values and what makes them stand out from competitors.
After defining I-Corps, I can develop customer profiles for a brand's target audience. Each illustration represents a group of individuals most likely to engage with their program. Group need are described in their quote.
I conducted a competitive analysis on CSUN organizations similar to the I-Corps program. The first table shows the program's ability to offer more perks than other on-campus competitors.
Because I-Corps is widely known within other school ecosystems, it was important to see what entrepreneurial programs UC schools differed, to ones Cal State systems offered. In the second chart, I discovered travel funding is a resource that other programs don't offer.
Reason for rebrand:
-Wants participants who are earlier in their stage of discovery
-Wants applicants to develop their product even after the program is over
-Wants students to understand work load so a conscious commitment is made when applying.
-Wants to target other departments to participate because only business and engineer students are applying.
Concept 1: Moving Your Ideas To Market
Inspired by an online shopping cart, except instead of buying products, Innovation Corps invests in your ideas. Typically, the shopping cart has a number at the corner to represent x amount of products in your cart, but this concept replaces that with a thought bubble to indicate all the ideas being pushed to market under the program's guidance. The circles in the cart represent the teamwork involved with I-Corps: the students, faculty, professionals, and mentors.
Concept 2: Fund Your Big Ideas
Innovation Corps wants to fund ideas and help college students make their innovations marketable. The thought bubble represents these BIG ideas and the plane represents the travel reimbursement. These two symbols help identify the program and attract more students to join.
Concept 3: Begin with an Idea
All great ideas start in our head and the thoughts we develop. I explore what other forms a thought bubble can be to remind students that being an entrepreneur always begins with an idea.
Concept 4: Add to Your Toolkit
I-Corps has your entrepreneurial toolkit ready for you to discover your product idea and receive funding to explore.
Concept 5: New Entrepreneurial Heights
The hot air balloon represents an era of impressive innovations and discovery that literally took our way of life to new heights. This program will do the same for entrepreneurial youth.
Virtual brainstorms and brand identity research was essential to continually remind myself who the target audience was and what I want them to think and feel when encountering the brand.
Think: Supported, Empowered
Feel: Accomplished, Knowledgable
As I mentioned in the scope, the client needed a website design that was cohesive with the type treatment we designed. Above are some of the wireframes I designed for the Innovation Coprs website you can view @: https://www.csun.edu/research-sponsored-programs/innovation-corps
This project kicked off on August 11, 2020, with a team that had been meeting remotely through Zoom, Basecamp and Slack since April.
I designed using two existing brand identities to develop a new one. Rebranding Innovation Corps taught me the value of conducting a competitive analysis and learning how to pivot in times where limited lines of communication make it 10x harder to collaborate.
Following up with the program after one semester, Innovation Corps typically had 20-30 students in a cohort and in Fall 2020 an exponential increase of 66 students joined the program after rebranding and launching the website. I am currently leading the project into Spring Semester with a promise to design more email blasts and merch to increase brand engagement.