Faculty conversations: Steve Pueppke
Changing the name of a 122-year-old organization isn’t easy.
“It was a much bigger job than I thought it was going to be,” said Steve Pueppke, director of AgBioResearch. “But I’ll have to admit, it went pretty smoothly.”
AgBioResearch, formerly called the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, includes more than a dozen research centers throughout the state and helps fund the scientific research of nearly 400 faculty. It is part of a nationwide network of agricultural stations.
The process of implementing the name change took more than a year, Pueppke said. Meetings were held with stakeholders around the state and across the university to brainstorm ideas for a new name and logo.
Business cards, letterheads, magazines, brochures and signs at all of the field research centers had to be changed. A new, more user-friendly website was designed and launched to replace the old one. The name change was finally rolled out in January.
“It was an attempt — that we feel pretty good about — to freshen up our brand image and help the citizens of the state better understand what we do,” Pueppke said.
He said that those at AgBioResearch pride themselves at being responsive to new trends that affect the work they do, such as an increased concern about climate change and globalization. The name change reflects this flexibility. It also reflects the fact that AgBioResearch scientists not only do work in the area of agriculture but also natural resources, food and health, environmental stewardship, water management and other areas.
A consultant who had worked with MSU previously helped ensure that the changes were consistent with MSU’s brand image.
“We really understand that MSU is the big brand name for us,” Pueppke said. “People are most interested that we represent MSU.”