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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Brandeis rebrands and makes a splash with AUTM exhibit


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 15th, 2019

The newly re-branded tech transfer office for Brandeis University, Brandeis Innovation, is making heads turn — most recently with its exhibit booth at this year’s annual AUTM meeting in Austin, TX. It’s not that common for a TTO to exhibit at AUTM, so what were they doing there and why?

Rebecca Menapace, associate provost for innovation and executive director of the Office of Technology Licensing, says that since they’re a smaller university, it’s sometimes difficult to get noticed. “While we’ve had luck with the partnering meetings through AUTM Connect [a networking platform for meeting attendees] in the past, we wanted to go broader and showcase our recent successes. For example, we became an NSF I-Corps site in 2017, and we recently had two of our teams make it to the national level. We’ve also created a publication of our marketing summaries, allowing people to see all our licensable technologies in one package. We’re working hard to put Brandeis on the map as a university where great research is being done, producing some extremely groundbreaking technologies.”

And, since they are an I-Corp site, they wanted to do their own customer discovery as a tech transfer office. They viewed attending AUTM’s meeting as an opportunity to learn more about their target audience, what their needs are, and how best to engage with them. In having a booth, specifically, they wanted to make it easier for people to find them and talk to them.

Brandeis’ TTO started out as a traditional licensing office, but more recently expanded into offering programs that support entrepreneurship across the university.

To showcase this expansion, the office rebranded as Brandeis Innovation, with its own identity including a logo (a lightbulb with a sprout inside) along with two logos for seed funding programs, SPARK and SPROUT, that incorporate some of the same elements. This has really helped cement the office’s visibility internally, on campus, and externally.

“People now understand that we have more to offer than just tech transfer — we’re a true hub for anyone looking to create something new, to be entrepreneurial,” Menapace says.

New marketing materials incorporate primary colors (blue, yellow and green) to reflect the team’s energy and the primacy of basic research. The colors also serve to ensure that everything the office produces is immediately recognizable as coming from Brandeis Innovation, while still authentically connecting with different groups on campus.

Those materials were front and center at the AUTM meeting — the first time that Brandeis Innovation hosted a booth to highlight the university’s technologies and programs to AUTM attendees. Menapace says the booth and the conference were successes for the TTO. In addition to presenting Brandeis’ technologies, staff also engaged in networking with industry professionals, including 15 formal partnering meetings with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as meetings with venture capitalists.

“By having the booth, we made more connections than we had at previous annual AUTM conferences, and the connections we made were not only around partnering but broader opportunities. It was very productive. We received overwhelming interest from the attendees who were eager to learn about the innovative discoveries born in Brandies labs,” she says.

A detailed article on the Brandeis rebranding effort appears in the April issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, and gain access to the publication’s entire 12-year archive of best practices and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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