March 1, 2023
In the fast-paced world of marketing, brands fly in and out with ease. Yet, the most valuable brands like Apple, Google, and Amazon plan for longevity with careful and strategic planning. They have teams of people whose whole focus is making sure their brand is visible, valuable, and salient.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be part of a billion-dollar company to have an outstanding brand. But you will need a brand champion who can guide your organization through these three areas.
A brand champion will help create a brand strategy and then advocate ongoing implementation and effectiveness. There’s more to brand strategy than a new logo or even a redesigned website (though we love both of those initiatives). Developing a great brand will involve strategy around your core values and messaging. It may mean changes to your signature academic programs. Or pushing for increased funding for market research. Or working to update aging facilities.
Asking hard questions such as, “Has enrollment stalled?” or “What happened in the latest capital campaign?” requires sensitivity and care. A brand champion’s role includes listening to different points of view, envisioning where the brand could go, mapping out the strategy, and then seeing it to completion.
Related reading: Using Market Research to Build and Enhance Your Brand
A brand champion will create a clear understanding of an organization’s brand, both internally and externally. Telling your institution’s story is never a one-and-done effort. Each organization has compelling qualities important to you and to the marketplace so it’s critical to constantly maintain that overarching message everywhere (think social media, website, email marketing, etc.).
A brand champion develops confidence in the reputation and integrity of your organization and uses all necessary communication tools to get that message out to your current students, faculty, and staff—and to your community stakeholders and potential students.
But your brand is only successful if people buy into it.
A brand champion will help build community around your brand. What is the use of having a brand that doesn’t resonate with your key audiences? Once your brand strategy is in place, your brand champion will be its greatest advocate. Establishing a brand that students, staff, faculty, leadership, and other stakeholders can identify with and support requires thoughtful, reliable, and ongoing work.
Stamats has well over 30 years of experience in brand strategy, working with 30+ Fortune 500 clients in 20+ industries, with education and healthcare at the top of the list. We continue to serve as brand champions for numerous organizations, working to enhance or revitalize a client’s brand and support their overall marketing strategy.
In 2018, we worked with one of the top HBCUs in the country—North Carolina A&T State—to help them gain new insights while rethinking their brand. Gaining input from senior leadership, deans, students, and others, their brand identity was recreated and then translated into powerful messaging and visual treatments. Aggies Do! was born.
More recently, we’ve partnered with Pima Community College in Tucson to overcome multiple challenges, such as identity damage that resulted in declining enrollment. We proposed a new brand communication plan. After in-depth market research, a refreshed logo, and a revitalized brand promise, their new brand identity was launched via a multi-channel campaign. And the results are as we expected—early enrollment figures support their new story and erase outdated perceptions.
The values of any great brand champion must include perseverance, integrity, and empathy. The work can be hard and extensive. Convincing various key audiences to switch from what they’ve always done to something new takes extraordinary communication skills, honesty, and an understanding of different perspectives.
If you want to discuss how we can help you champion your brand, email us to start a conversation.