The Challenge

Best known for pioneering 'collaboration' as a way of working and deep marketing excellence, the Kellogg School of Management has been ranked among the top five U.S. MBA programs by leading publications for decades. However, beginning in 2008 the school began to see slippage in its rankings. Pushed out of the top five in 2013, Kellogg realized it had to re-energize the brand and align the program and the curriculum around the renewed brand strategy. Prophet was brought in to help Kellogg revive its brand and to drive more students to consider and ultimately choose Kellogg as their top choice program.

Our Solution

A robust customer study had already been completed to understand the types of students who went to top tier MBA schools and why they chose the programs they selected. Through that data, we were able to identify what makes a program a student’s top choice and where Kellogg could improve. We also conducted hundreds of interviews with faculty/staff, current students, prospective students, alumni and employers to understand what the vision for Kellogg was and what elements of Kellogg's history the school wanted to leverage as they rewrote the school’s future.

Through these inputs, we identified a higher order need among MBA students and prospects of ‘inspiring growth.’ Regardless of who we asked there was a belief that Kellogg’s MBA program inspires growth in many facets – personally, professionally within organizations and across markets. The idea of growth remained broad as the idea has different meanings to different audiences, and we wanted to capitalize on all of them. With the big idea nailed down we turned to helping Kellogg activate its new strategy of ‘inspiring growth’ across key audiences. We mapped out every touch point from the time before a student applies to Kellogg to the time after they cross the stage at graduation to determine the implications of this new brand strategy and the plan to activate it across key stakeholders.


The new brand strategy ‘inspiring growth’ launched nationwide on September 15, 2014 through an article published in Fortune Magazine. Activation efforts are continuing on an ongoing basis to ensure everything the school does aligns with its new vision. Only time will tell how strategic branding and activation efforts drive growth within Kellogg itself. But, today Kellogg has a renewed sense of purpose and a clearly defined strategy with which to move forward – and that is the first step in the right direction.

Learn more about how Prophet helps companies develop unique brand strategies, create engaging customer experiences and drive business growth by browsing through our case studies.