university brand revitalization
Is your center, department, college, athletic or university brand giving you the results you want? Our holistic approach helps you vitalize your university brand platform to make more connections and get longer lasting results.
An optimized brand fosters engagement, collaboration, and buy-in among your internal and external stakeholders; it also ensures the end products fully support and are aligned with your strategies and organizational objectives.
Brand vitalization is a five-phased approach developed over the years of working with universities and HBCUs to develop brand platforms that focus not only on the final deliverables (brand identity, brand messaging, marketing collateral pieces, strategic communications plan, website, etc), but also on the process used to generate these. It is not enough to create a great brand, with universities and HBCUs you must foster engagement and buy-in along the way.
Part of the process includes defining your strategic goals and objectives, your priorities, conducting primary and/or secondary market research, using existing research, and your target audience, all through the lens of your brand platform. This holistic approach is the difference between a brand that is “in alignment” and adds tremendous value and one that is never fully or effectively implemented.
It all begins with the most basic component of your brand – your core truth. How do you define your core truth? The core truth illuminates the strengths of the university from the viewpoint of all of your stakeholders. This isn’t just something you want to be or something one person believes, it is a truth that is recognized by all (or almost all) of your key stakeholder groups. This core truth then becomes the foundation of your brand platform that is represented in your visual and verbal brand language. Building your brand platform around your core truth will ensure you can deliver on your brand promise.
Here is a little more about the brand vitalization process….
1. Research + Discovery – Universities have a lot of stakeholders and it is important to understand their position and needs. This phase may include: understanding and using existing research; defining plans and objectives; identifying core awareness gaps; conducting a brand audit; and conducting primary research (where necessary).
2. Engagement + Alignment – The key to any successful plan for universities is to engage your stakeholder groups in the process (for information, point of view, and to promote buy-in). This fosters a collaborative approach, aligns needs and purpose with strategy, and is a valuable tool for evaluation of resources.
3. Planning + Strategy – Now that you have the brand platform, brand language, etc defined and all groups are aligned and engaged, it is time to collaboratively develop branding, marketing, and communications strategic and tactical plans. This process should include prioritization, calendarization, resource allocation, budget needs, and return on investment (ROI) measures for success.
4. Creative + Branding – It is time to make brand come to life for your university. With the brand platform, personality, visuals, language and more, we work with you to create, update, tweak or supplement the new brand identity and collateral marketing collateral materials. This may include copywriting to build out the core brand messages, identifying the best communications vehicles for the various audiences, integrating the campaign across the channels, and personalized multi-touch multi-channel campaigns (student enrollment, retention, alumni giving, etc).
5. Roll out + Implementation– The best laid plans will fail if they are not implemented well. Part of this process should include measuring established success metrics, making adjustments as needed, soliciting feedback from stakeholders, taking advantage of last minute opportunities that ‘fit’ as they arise, and “closing the loop” by continuing to engage core stakeholder groups with campaign updates.
There is some overlap in these phases, both in content and timing for university brand (re)vitalization.
So if your center, department, college or university brand is not delivering the results you want, ask us how we might help using our brand vitalization process. Call us at 919.850.0605 or contact us online.