Brand promise, tagline, positioning—each of these terms can mean different things to different people. As you look to create a brand for your university or college, here is how Stamats defines them.
Audience(s): Individuals with whom you wish to establish an exchange relationship:
Brand: A valued promise that an organization makes to its external and internal audiences. External audiences view a brand as the best and sometimes only solution to a problem they have. Internal audiences must believe the brand is worthy of their commitment. All audiences must understand the brand and view it as important, believable, and distinctive. (The term "branding" is not used.)
Brand Architecture: A systematic way of viewing and organizing your institutional and sub-brand promises, attributes, and graphic identity so as to achieve greater clarity, synergy, and leverage
Brand Attribute: A series of words or phrases—implied in your brand promise—that you want to position in the minds of your target audiences. Over time, as a result of your brand communications plan, you want your audiences to repeat these attributes back to you, and to others; also known as benefit segments and vivid descriptors
Brand Attribute Matrix: A matrix, or visual depiction, of all the institutional and sub-brand attributes
Brand Clarification: Clarifying and articulating a brand involves:
Brand Communication Plan: A plan that includes the following elements:
Brand Portfolio: Key brand components and resources that are used to explain, communicate, and help you live your brand. This includes the brand promise, brand rationale, brand attributes, sub-brands, brand attribute matrix, and elevator speech.
Brand Promise (Institutional Brand): The primary, valued promise made by the larger institution. Also called a positioning statement or USP
Brand Rationale: An explanation, most often written for internal audiences, as to why your brand promise is of value; the rationale is not an explanation of how the brand promise was created, but rather a concise description of the logic behind the determination of your brand promise
Brand (Promise) Testing: Determining which single promise, of the multiple promises created during promise clarification, is most understandable, important, believable, and distinctive to your audiences
Communication: The creation of customized and segmented messages founded on careful listening that addresses both institution and audience needs and goals
Competitive Positioning: Developing and communicating powerful and meaningful differences between your offerings and those of your competition
Creative Boards: The brand promise is translated, visually and verbally, into creative personas for each key audience
Elevator Speech: A consistently used, memorized statement that summarizes, in a meaningful way, the essence of your brand and your institution. This "speech" is given, usually verbally, when someone says, "Tell me about your school"
Graphic Identity: The visual elements of your brand. Often includes institutional name, wordmark, logo, other graphic elements, and standards
Image: A set of attitudes or beliefs that a person or audience holds about a college or university. Institutions have multiple images, many of which are inaccurate and out-of-date
Integrated Marketing (IM): An organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders (AMA, 2004)
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): A comprehensive, coordinated, institution-wide effort to communicate mission-critical values and messages in ways that target audiences notice, understand, and respond to. IMC incorporates brand marketing, direct marketing, and supports customer relationship management
Marketing Action Plans: Clarification of who will do what and when to achieve your marketing goals
Marketplace: A subset of the larger environment in which the college or university must create sustaining exchange relationships with key audiences
Planning: A formalized attitude and process that involves selecting a rational course of collective action to achieve a future state of affairs. It includes assessing the present state, setting goals, gathering and analyzing information, evaluating information, developing budgets, making decisions, and acting
Position: Very similar to a brand, a position is where your target audiences place you in their minds; the words they use to describe you when asked
Positioning: The act of building a valued and preferred brand promise or position in the minds of your target audience (also called brand marketing)
Promotion: The downward distribution of messages from a college or university to target audiences that focus almost solely on organizational needs and goals (to contrast, see communication, below)
Segmentation: Dividing large, heterogeneous populations into smaller, homogenous subpopulations and creating, based on research, customized and more desirable messages, products, and services
Sub-brands: Separate, complementary brands that are developed when the larger institutional brand is too broad to differentiate the benefits or unique attributes of a particular department or school. For example, sub-brands are created when a college or university wants to clearly associate an entity—such as a law school or football program—with the larger institution; ideally, sub-brands are created at the same time as the larger institutional brand and should be complementary in nature
Tagline: A brand promise expressed in "shorthand"