Growing Enrollment by 10%

Build Dakota Scholarship Fund

The nation has suffered a skilled labor shortage of blue collar workers, and South Dakota is no exception. The Build Dakota Scholarship Fund was founded to provide full-ride scholarships to students at certain South Dakota tech schools in high-need careers like welding, engineering and manufacturing.

building a brand

Build Dakota Logo

The L&S team started by giving the scholarship fund a fresh look, creating a geometric logo, color palette and brand standards. As the program has evolved, so has our aesthetic, incorporating iconography, color overlays and more.

Extensive audience research then drove our messaging. For the campaign launch, we initially challenged people’s perceptions of tech degrees. But over time, as the prominence and value of a technical degree has risen, we’ve shifted that message to show how you can build a brighter future with a Build Dakota scholarship.

Build Dakota billboard
Instagram carousel post
rotating display banners to promote the Build Dakota Scholarship Fund
Gameboard direct mail piece

Building Buzz

When the Build Dakota scholarship was announced, earned media spread the message of a full-ride scholarship for South Dakota students. But over the last eight years, we’ve kept that momentum going through paid media, online content and partnerships. Using television and digital video, audio, out of home, display, paid search, a redesigned website and even a “how to” video explaining the program, we’ve made sure Build Dakota stays on students’ radar.

We also launched a social media brand ambassador program, giving people a glimpse into the life of a Build Dakota scholar. As students show the real-world application of their degrees and hands-on training, we’re elevating the scholarship while showing its impact on our state’s workforce.

Computer and iphone mockup

Building Momentum

Now several years into the campaign, Build Dakota marketing efforts have garnered millions of impressions, driven more than 14,000 applications and connected more than 1,900 students with full-ride scholarships. What’s more, the scholarship is driving two-year enrollment in South Dakota, with a 10.1% increase in 2021 vs. a national decrease of 29.7%.

14,000+ applicants. 1,900+ scholarships awarded. +97% website page views. 18% conversion rate from paid media. 2021 Enrollment at SD two-year institutions, -29.7% National Average, +10.1% South Dakota Tech.

two-year schools have seen a 10% enrollment increase, vs. a national decrease of nearly 30%

iphone with a sponsored Instagram post

The Build Dakota scholarship is building a better South Dakota, one skilled worker at a time. And we’re happy to lend a hand.

growing enrollment by 10%