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Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Troy Brown is putting IU's brand into action

November 29, 2016

For nearly two decades, Troy Brown has been a familiar face on the IUPUI campus, first overseeing the Office of Communications and Marketing and now as the assistant vice president for marketing for IU Communications.

His role is part advisor, part cheerleader, part prognosticator and full-time marketing expert on Indiana University's brand-management team, which has been turning "Fulfilling the Promise" into a hallmark of IU's commitment to quality education.

Troy Brown is in his element during the monthly marketing meetings at IUPUI. | PHOTO BY LIZ KAYE, IU COMMUNICATIONS

When IU merged its marketing and communications into a full statewide collaboration, including the IUPUI and Bloomington campuses, he moved into the IU Communications marketing operation.

As a brand and marketing strategist, Brown understands how to sell and market a complex product that becomes visible through the people it represents. During his 20-plus years of experience in higher education, which is one of the nation's most complicated and competitive markets, he has created many identities, advertising campaigns and institutional brands.

Brown has received numerous awards from organizations including CASE, Admissions Marketing Report and others, and his work has appeared in national and international publications.

He has a wide range of expertise in the marketing realm as well. His 20-plus national CASE awards include recognition for fundraising, student recruitment, annual reports, visual identities, advertising, websites and periodicals.

Brown uses all elements of his career -- news operations, website development, social media, advertising, photography and more -- in his latest job. He loves his work; even his license plate -- "BRAND" -- drives home that point.

"Our biggest challenge is to make sure we have brand alignment across IU's campuses," Brown said. "Our brand architecture offers a broad view of IU, one that recognizes that we are one university with multiple campuses. Each campus has its own identity, but every campus is strongest when we all draw off IU's strengths."

Brown's guiding principle is trust. "It's always about your audience," he said. "We are all here to serve our state, to educate people, to offer our expertise and do our part to help communities achieve their goals."

He said he has always relied on people skills to help others realize the strength that comes from unity.

"All IU campuses share the same assets: IU degrees, the crimson, the trident, the history and tradition, a dynamic alumni network," Brown said. "If you work with them and rally them to the cause, that's when things take off. The marketing folks on our campuses know what reaches people in their areas -- that's why I always want to work closely with them. If I can help them use the tools that IU provides, we can achieve amazing things."

Brown likes using humor, and he isn't above poking a little bit of fun in a meeting that is considering weighty subjects -- even if the humor comes back at him.

"I never want to be intimidating, or to make people think I'm throwing a lot of marketing language at them," he said. "I want to be open. That's why I try not to wear a tie, to make them think 'this is a formal meeting.' I want them to relax, because that's usually when people get creative. I've always thought that, and I still do."

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