Why Branding Matters in Higher Ed

Posted: January 3, 2024

Christian Jessup Company Marketing Manager

There are few landscapes as dynamic and ever-changing as higher education. Whether it’s a new generation or simply a new school year, students are looking for something new from their college experience. So how can an institution keep up when everything around it is changing by the minute?

That’s why branding is more crucial than ever in the higher ed space. 

It’s easy to forget that a great brand is not just flashy creative; it’s a compelling story, a promise, a dynamic force that shapes perceptions. A logo or slogan can go in and out of style, but a compelling story at the root of your brand will always speak to your audiences. So here are three quick considerations for making sure your institution’s branding contributes to building a unique identity:

REMAIN GOAL-DRIVEN

In our 22 years of higher ed marketing, our approach to building institutional brands has always been goal-driven. Instead of relying on personal tastes or stylistic whims, your brand should be rooted in your goals. Another challenging aspect is securing institution-wide buy-in on these goals. Building consensus is tough. But it’s something we do very well, and it ultimately ensures a cohesive and impactful brand identity.

START WITH RESEARCH

Another foundational element of building a unique brand is understanding where you stand in the minds of your audiences. Uncover the story people are telling themselves about your institution. Use research data to guide decisions. Invite directional input from your leadership and campus community. And invest in a partner who can help you fully understand who you are and how you’re perceived.

REMEMBER WHO OWNS YOUR BRAND

Throughout the process, remember who this is all for. A brand isn’t something you own; it lives in the minds of your audiences. It’s a promise and an emotional connection. Effective branding is about changing minds and inspiring emotions that align with your goals and values, setting the stage for a profound and enduring relationship between the institution and its audience.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Branding in higher education is a collaborative journey—one that VisionPoint has navigated before with established flagships, community colleges, online schools, and everything in between. Our agency was purpose-built to help universities and colleges solve brand challenges.

Together, we can help you shape a brand that not only stands out in the competitive landscape, but also drives your institution forward. Reach out to us using the form below to get the conversation started.

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