NROC | From product to purpose

From product to purpose

Highlighting mission to build a better brand


The NROC Project (NROC) is a national nonprofit that gives education leaders, teachers, and learners a voice in the production of digital content and software. Originally known as a “national repository of online courses,” the organization has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others to build award-winning online learning tools. NROC is especially unique because they receive membership fees from educational institutions. Membership institutions share in both the work and the rewards of these development efforts. In this way, institutions are able to guide the development of learning materials to their own high quality standards while gaining access to excellent resources at a fraction of the typical cost. 

When Blue Marble first started working with NROC in 2008, the organization was comprised of several passionate staff with deep roots in education and technology. They had created various projects and initiatives lacking one recognizable name. The group was successful at securing grant funding and delivering quality work, yet it was difficult to gain recognition in a crowded and competitive marketplace. We were tasked with helping to narrow their approach and to define a brand architecture that could be used consistently long-term. 


Over its 10-year history, NROC had proven to be much more than a static, “online repository.” Its unique attribute was its truly active community of education leaders. We began our work with a research and discovery phase, where we gained an understanding of the founder's longer-term vision. With that perspective, we suggested modifications to streamline the language for the organization’s projects. While many of these projects were complex, we realized the need for clear, concise names and consistent themes to address a diverse, national audience. This has been a multi-year process, and we are proud to say that due to the persistence and determination of everyone involved, NROC is increasingly gaining recognition for their valuable and innovative work.



Taking marketing to the next level

  • NROC began referring to itself as "The NROC Project" to change the focus to the active and participatory nature of the work while retaining their history. 

  • The visual identity has become more modern and professional, with an evolving suite of print and digital collateral to clearly articulate the mission, values, and offering.

  • Various elements of NROC's customer/member experience are now better aligned with the overall organization's identity.

  • NROC has a style guide and templates that staff can use to unify ongoing communications.

  • NROC hired a dedicated marketing director, who brought decades of experience in corporate marketing and collaborated closely with Blue Marble to grow an integrated in-house marketing department.




The NROC Project


Communication strategy

User experience design

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support



“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project