Stand By Your Brand

“What’s unique about this university?” The focus group facilitator’s question seemed to hang in the air. Then a high school senior replied, “The only thing that comes to mind is that it’s a direction on a compass.” The response made those of us observing behind the glass wince. With the value of higher education continuing…

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A Brand New Year: Make 2018 the Year of Your Story

In my blog post from May, I examined the vital link between brand building and storytelling. It’s an idea—a way of approaching the art and science of branding—that’s not only accessible and compelling, it’s finally becoming mainstream. Beyond the functional how-to’s of better branding through better storytelling, let’s explore why stories have always been so…

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Why Brands Matter Now More than Ever

Oddly, one of the great challenges of building a great brand is more likely internal than marketplace. It is not that leaders are against branding, it’s just that some don’t know where brand building fits on their queue of “important things we need to do.” Let me spend a few minutes explaining why brand building…

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From the Inside Out: Why Great Brands Begin From Within

In working closely with colleges and universities on a wide range of brand development initiatives over the years, I’ve noticed one stubborn misconception: that branding is done primarily for external audiences and is less important for internal audiences. Few things could be further from the truth. Today more than ever before, brands must be born…

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People Don’t Buy Different

If your recruiters’ and fundraisers’ presentations aren’t making their audiences choke up just a little, it’s time to simplify and re-script the expression of your school’s brand experience. Bravo to Rob Zinkan for nailing a fundamental higher ed marketing misfire squarely on the head in his recent IHE blog. Indiana University’s associate vice president for…

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Pat Weas, The Thorburn Group

Pat Weas Talks Brand on the Podcast Purse Strings

Purse Strings, with Maria Reitan (Principal at TopSail Strategies) is a podcast program focused on marketing to women. In this episode, titled Marketing Trends for 2016, Maria Reitan talks with Pat Weas, COO and Executive Strategy Director for The Thorburn Group. They discuss the future of branding in higher education and the role of agencies like The Thorburn Group.

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Deng Thiak Adut Unlimited

No Voice-Overs Required: Showing Student Outcomes as a Journey

There are college recruitment videos showing students in a fun and bright campus, discovering college as a path towards independence and a promising future. At most, they may bring back successful graduates to give a soundbite on how college changed their lives for the better and imply that you as the viewer will equally benefit with the end goal of a great career. Then there’s Western Sydney University (WSU).

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Branding from the Inside Out

Eric Sickler, a friend and colleague at Stamats, recently said something that really caught my interest. He mentioned that effective brands must have an inside-out orientation. I queried him about what he meant, and he stressed the importance of having the brand deeply and intimately aligned with an organization’s people and culture. Eric is absolutely right. Alignment is critical.

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The Six Essentials of Powerful Competitive Message Development

If you don’t have a “plant” record in the recruitment databases of your primary competitors, you can’t begin to imagine the recruitment marketing cacophony your prospective students are navigating. To catch a glimpse of what your recruitment marketing messages are up against, listen to the comments of the uber-candid high schoolers who participated in the…

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