February 12, 2018
As far as I’m concerned, three things* complicate the higher education narrative more often than they help. Brand taglines are at the top of the list. They attempt to convey in just a few seconds what a college or university has spent decades creating: their very special brand story.
As busy consumers with ever-shorter attention spans, we all look for shortcuts to help us evaluate—and assign value to—products and services. Unlike buying something as ultimately disposable as a car or a refrigerator, however, selecting a college is a life-changing decision.
But as higher education marketers (too-often inspired by well-intentioned arm-chair marketing experts higher up the organizational food chain) race to deploy snappy taglines designed to catapult their institutions into brighter lights, we consistently see their efforts fall prey to some serious under-thinking:
Resist the temptation to relegate your institutional brand to mediocrity by saddling it with another forgettable tagline. Save the tags for short-term ad campaigns or sideline cheers at the big game.
Be wise and be brave. Honor your institutional brand with a reflective expression of your school story. Show and tell. Don’t simply default to a tagline.
*If you’d like to know the other two things I include among my top-three menaces of higher education, contact me at 319.431.5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.