Exit interview: Ethan Braden and matters of Purdue’s brand
Chief marketer says his time at Purdue was about putting university's name on par with Nike, 3M and McDonald’s, not just other campuses, when it came to branding. A Q&A before he leaves for Texas A&M
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EXIT INTERVIEW: ETHAN BRADEN AND MATTERS OF PURDUE’S BRAND
It was no secret, when Ethan Braden arrived at Purdue from marketing positions at Eli Lilly in 2018, that then President Mitch Daniels was no fan of an approach to campus branding that he called “far more casual” than most of the university’s peers.
By early 2020, Braden’s marketing and communications team had locked a codified, unified look – standard old gold in the university colors, the “Motion P” already featured on football helmets everywhere on campus – and key phrases including “persistent pursuit” that came to stifle any strays over the next several years.
Braden, vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for the university, called it a matter of “knowing the mission of Purdue” before turning to “doing justice to the storytelling about Purdue.” It was one step in an approach that landed Purdue with Nike, 3M and Ford in Fast Company magazine’s “Brands That Matter.”
Thursday is Braden’s last day at Purdue, before heading to College Station, Texas, to take on a similar position with Texas A&M.
Here’s an exit interview, talking about that transformation in Purdue’s branding efforts, including nearly doubling marketing staff, in the last years of Daniels’ presidency and beyond.
Question: The easiest thing to sell at Purdue, in your time? What are the easiest aspects about selling a university like this?