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The 5 Truths of Higher Ed Branding

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A look at the higher education landscape, the silos among branding, marketing, and communications, and lessons learned along the way.

Published in: Marketing

The 5 Truths of Higher Ed Branding

  1. 1. 5  TRUTHS THE OF HIGHER ED BRANDING Thingswe’velearnedalongtheway
  2. 2. William Hull Faust Managing Partner @ologie @williamfaust
  3. 3. ACT 1: A MAD, MAD WORLD Today’s higher ed landscape ACT 2: STRANGE BEDFELLOWS Communications? Marketing? Branding? ACT 3: THE FIVE TRUTHS Things we’ve learned along the way The Agenda
  4. 4. A MAD, MAD WORLD: TODAY’S HIGHER ED LANDSCAPE “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” ACT 1
  5. 5. THE ENROLLMENT LANDSCAPE • A BUYER’S MARKET Fewer students, with more choices External Environment
  6. 6. THE ENROLLMENT LANDSCAPE • A BUYER’S MARKET Fewer students, with more choices • FINANCIAL FATIGUE Tuition, debt, and ROI External Environment
  7. 7. THE ENROLLMENT LANDSCAPE • A BUYER’S MARKET Fewer students, with more choices • FINANCIAL FATIGUE Tuition, debt, and ROI • UNDIFFERENTIATED Everyone looks and sounds the same External Environment
  8. 8. THE ENROLLMENT LANDSCAPE • A BUYER’S MARKET Fewer students, with more choices • FINANCIAL FATIGUE Tuition, debt, and ROI • UNDIFFERENTIATED Everyone looks and sounds the same • HYPERCOMPETITIVE Regionally, nationally and even globally External Environment
  9. 9. External Environment STEM SCHOOL S COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITIES RISD SCAD MIT IIT Georgia Tech RIT NYU Stanford CMU Cincinnati MICA Full Sail Columbia College Emerson ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA SCHOOL S CIAParsons Pratt ART AND DESIGN SCHOOLS
  10. 10. External Environment STEM SCHOOL S COMPREHENSIVE UNIVERSITIES RISD SCAD MIT IIT Georgia Tech RIT NYU Stanford CMU Cincinnati MICA Full Sail Columbia College Emerson CIAParsons Pratt ART AND DESIGN SCHOOLS MEDIA SCHOOLS
  11. 11. External Environment STEM SCHOOL S RISD SCAD MIT IIT Georgia Tech RIT NYU Stanford CMU Cincinnati MICA Full Sail Columbia College Emerson CIAParsons Pratt ART AND DESIGN SCHOOLS MEDIA SCHOOLS UNIVERSITIES
  12. 12. External Environment RISD SCAD MIT IIT Georgia Tech RIT NYU Stanford CMU Cincinnati MICA Full Sail Columbia College Emerson CIAParsons Pratt ART AND DESIGN SCHOOLS STEM SCHOOLS MEDIA SCHOOLS UNIVERSITIES
  13. 13. External Environment THE ADVANCEMENT LANDSCAPE • GENERATIONS OF ALUMNI Engagement is a challenge
  14. 14. External Environment THE ADVANCEMENT LANDSCAPE • GENERATIONS OF ALUMNI Engagement is a challenge • BEYOND ATHLETICS Converting fans to supporters
  15. 15. External Environment THE ADVANCEMENT LANDSCAPE • GENERATIONS OF ALUMNI Engagement is a challenge • BEYOND ATHLETICS Converting fans to supporters • COMPETING FOR ATTENTION So many good causes, so little time
  16. 16. External Environment THE ADVANCEMENT LANDSCAPE • GENERATIONS OF ALUMNI Engagement is a challenge • BEYOND ATHLETICS Converting fans to supporters • COMPETING FOR ATTENTION So many good causes, so little time • DONOR FATIGUE Annual funds, capital campaigns, and everything in between
  17. 17. Internal Environment MEANWHILE, BACK ON CAMPUS... • STEM VS. LIBERAL ARTS The debate rages on
  18. 18. Internal Environment MEANWHILE, BACK ON CAMPUS... • STEM VS. LIBERAL ARTS The debate rages on • PRODUCT VS. PURPOSE Should schools be run like a business?
  19. 19. Internal Environment MEANWHILE, BACK ON CAMPUS... • STEM VS. LIBERAL ARTS The debate rages on • PRODUCT VS. PURPOSE Should schools be run like a business? • THE QUEST FOR DIVERSITY Higher ed’s Holy Grail
  20. 20. Internal Environment MEANWHILE, BACK ON CAMPUS... • STEM VS. LIBERAL ARTS The debate rages on • PRODUCT VS. PURPOSE Should schools be run like a business? • THE QUEST FOR DIVERSITY Higher ed’s Holy Grail • HAVES AND HAVE NOTS When supply exceeds demand
  21. 21. DISRUPTION IS COMING THE BOTTOM LINE: [And it will take on many forms.]
  22. 22. STRANGE BEDFELLOWS “If you build it, they will come.” ACT 2 COMMUNICATIONS? MARKETING? BRANDING?
  23. 23. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Advancement
  24. 24. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Advancement Enrollment
  25. 25. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Advancement Outreach Enrollment
  26. 26. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Communications Advancement Outreach Enrollment
  27. 27. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Communications Communications Advancement Outreach Enrollment
  28. 28. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Communications Communications Communications Advancement Outreach Enrollment
  29. 29. BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Communications Communications Communications Advancement Outreach Enrollment Centralized Marketing (CMO)
  30. 30. Communications Communications Communications Advancement Outreach Enrollment BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS (or at least finding kindred spirits) Institutional Brand Management Centralized Marketing (CMO)
  31. 31. CMO The Rise of the Higher Ed CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
  32. 32. CMO The Rise of the Higher Ed CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER 2013 Northwestern
  33. 33. CMO The Rise of the Higher Ed CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER 2013 2014 Northwestern William Mary
  34. 34. CMO The Rise of the Higher Ed CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER 2013 2014 2015 Northwestern William Mary Ohio State
  35. 35. CMO The Rise of the Higher Ed CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER 2013 2014 2015 2016 Northwestern William Mary Ohio State Univ. of Georgia
  36. 36. INSTITUTIONAL BRAND MANAGEMENT? • More than a logo • More than a tagline • More than a campaign But what do we mean by
  37. 37. EXPERIENCE It’s the total we promise to deliver to our stakeholders via... PEOPLEPLACEPRODUCT IDENTITY INSPIRATION INFORMATION
  38. 38. EXPERIENCE Managing the brand in higher ed requires breaking down the silos... PEOPLEPLACEPRODUCT IDENTITY INSPIRATION INFORMATION
  39. 39. Turning brand ambassadors into storytellers is one of the most effective ways to share the experience to engage people to... STORY. ...and telling a unified APPLY GIVE ENROLL CARE
  40. 40. THE BOTTOM LINE: While an inclusive process can be painful at times, the brand benefits from greater alignment. PEOPLE SUPPORT WHAT THEY HELP CREATE.
  41. 41. THE FIVE TRUTHS “Be true to your school.” ACT 3 OF BUILDING MANAGING A BRAND IN HIGHER ED
  42. 42. A strong brand looks backwards and forward. IT’S A BALANCE OF PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. 1
  43. 43. Your story must be real and genuine to be believed. AUTHENTICITY IS EVERYTHING. 2
  44. 44. People absorb information differently than they used to. SHOW ME A STORY. 3
  45. 45. Gen Z We communicate constantly. Social media is the #1 reason we use the Internet, and we send more than 100 texts a day. Our digital world is noisy. Our attention span is 8 seconds, and we multi- task across five screens.
  46. 46. No one really cares how you are organized. COMPLEX ORGANIZATIONS REQUIRE SIMPLE STORIES. 4
  47. 47. What’s the one thing at the top of your pyramid? IT STARTS WITH A BIG IDEA. 5
  48. 48. WE RISE
  49. 49. OH, AND ONE MORE THING... (Truth #6, but I didn’t want to change the title)
  50. 50. Launching internally first ensures that branding efforts are more than a campaign. INSIDE then OUT.6
  51. 51. MOUNTAINEERS GO FIRST.
  52. 52. QUESTIONS?
  53. 53. THANK YOU.

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