Unfortunately for higher education marketers, there is only so much program-specific information a University can espouse before its branding message becomes just another noisy, unrecognizable foghorn on the mist-cloaked, higher-ed seas. To differentiate your school’s programs, brand and message, consider marketing sideways.
“Use a peripheral but more human and interesting component of your brand to tell a story that compels your customers and prospects more so than any product feature or benefit,” writes Marketing Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author Jay Baer.
Baer’s article cites The King of Sideways” – Subway’s Jared Fogle. Subway’s campaign positioned Jared’s weight-loss story in front of customers who would hopefully relate and identify with Jared. The story appears to have worked. Jared is in his fifteenth year as a Subway spokesman with a net worth of $15 million.
Sideways marketing is nothing new and certainly doesn’t begin or end with Jared. This marketing technique has been used by an uncountable number of brands – think insurance: Geico, Allstate and Farmers — all of which appeal to audiences/customers by creating likeable characters.
At Elliance, we don’t have caveman and Mayhem to tell our client’s stories. We have students, alumni and faculty. We integrate marketing sideways into our branding, SEO, social and creative strategies by telling these stories. Often we tell student stories. Sometimes we emphasize a University’s ethos. But no matter the topic, we always seek to pinpoint the passion, message and value of our client’s institution.