Often in our busy professional lives, it’s tempting to embrace a set-it-and-forget-it approach when it comes to branding. After all, strong brands will take care of themselves, right?
Nope. Brands are living things—they require constant attention to thrive, grow, and build the sort of vital connections that make good institutions great. This year, make the care and feeding of your brand top priority. Here are five tips to improve your brand performance in 2017.
- Know your target audience. If you can describe your target audiences very specifically, you’re probably ready to strengthen your brand and grow your enrollment. A lack of clarity regarding your target audiences (and their priorities) puts your entire marketing program on shaky ground. Start with a foundation of solid data and move forward with confidence.
- Say it with fewer words. Here’s the ugly truth: Almost every slogan, web page, brochure, and viewbook is too long. Discipline yourself, and challenge your team to communicate more clearly and succinctly. You’ll be amazed at the impact.
- Be consistent. Even if a web page, email message, search brochure, or other communication is clear and succinct, it won’t work well unless it’s consistent with your other communications. For maximum results, every marketing message must be frequent, clear, and carefully brand aligned.
- Be concrete. Let the facts paint a picture. Use powerful student quotes, get specific about faculty accomplishments, provide impressive statistics, and share real-world stories about how your alumni are transforming their lives and the lives of others. Remember, effective persuasion is all about showing, not telling.
- Actively manage your image. Target audiences can only judge you on the image you present. A clunky website, an uninspired campus visit, sullen customer service, and shabby marketing can each be fodder for harsh judgment—no matter how exceptional an education you provide. You’re responsible for how prospective students perceive and interact with your brand. Make sure they know who you are and why your school should be first on their list.
Far greater than land, facilities, patents, and endowments, your institutional brand is your most valuable asset. With the proper stewardship, that brand communicates who you are, broadcasts your unique story to the world, inspires prospective students to take that first tentative step in your direction, and drives every marketing initiative you invest in. This year—every year—manage it well.
At Stamats, we live and breathe branding. Our team is dedicated to helping colleges and universities tap into the power of their brands to build more vibrant futures. To learn about our services, call me directly at 319-861-5146 or email [email protected].