I’ve been speaking to lots of prospective clients these days about branding in higher education. I like these early conversations. Listening to people talk about their individual challenges and opportunities is one of my favorite parts of the job. Working in higher education isn’t easy, but in my experience, the people who make a commitment to a college or a university feel very deeply about its well-being and its future. That passion is infectious.
Passion is consistent, but I’m also reminded every week that no two institutions are the same, and they have unique administrative structures, unique politics, and unique opportunities. In the end, it comes down to this: how can I somehow define and articulate the soul of my institution?
That’s a nutshell way of describing an incredibly tough job. My colleagues here at Elliance do an wonderful job of getting to the heart of the matter, but I can share some advice about the earliest stages. If you’re thinking about a branding project, it’s a good idea to:
1. Be clear about the problem that you’re trying to solve. If you’re getting ready to make an investment in a branding project, chances are good that there’s a pain point somewhere and you need to resolve it. Be mindful of what it is and be comfortable sharing it.
2. Be ready for some tough love. Every college or university has elements that make it special. Most also have elements that are perceived as unique or important, but may not ultimately matter to your audiences. Your branding project is likely to come with both good and bad news.
3. Know what matters. Articulating a clear brand means giving up on being everything to everyone. We’ll encourage you to make hard choices about what really differentiates you from your peers, even if that means leaving more generic characteristics out of the equation.
There’s much more to it, and we’re happy to help you through the process. When you’re ready to get started, give me a call. I’ll love talking more about you.