Brand building is as important for higher education markets as it is for major consumer marketing companies, and the benefits of branding are the same. Just as consumer markets use their brand to attract customers, institutions and their programs utilize branding to target and attract the prospective and existing students most likely to enroll.
The process of brand building and discovering a brand’s essence will determine which factors make the most compelling brand elements. An institution’s overarching brand, when combined with sub-brands derived from that institution’s individual fields of study, creates market awareness and elevates an institution’s reputation or profile to assist in achieving the institution’s overall mission, goals and objectives.
Apollidon employs a scientific approach to branding services. The five major work components for Apollidon’s branding services are the following:
a. Brand Discovery
The first step involves our team getting to know everything there is to know about your institution, your program offerings, your competition, your faculty, and your students (existing and prospective audiences). This involves conducting limited market research specific to branding purposes, meeting with you and your team and conducting interviews to drill down to the core of how your current and potential students see you now and how you want them to see you in the future.
b. Brand Strategy
Once the discovery is complete, our team will develop a brand strategy unique to your institution. In B2C (business-to-consumer) sectors like higher education, students may give a variety of reasons why they choose one brand over another. Sometimes, it’s tangible reasons like tuition cost, convenience, delivery method, or admission requirements. Often, however, it’s all about intangibles like, “they know us” or simply, “we trust that brand.” Creating those intangible perceptions is the goal of B2C branding. We will create drafts and suggest tactics for a brand promise and how it can be communicated throughout your institution’s marketing efforts.
A successful branding strategy results in “brand equity,” the value of a brand over and above the value of similar offerings. That’s why a solid roadmap to develop and define your brand is so important in the B2C space.
c. Identity Package
Once the brand strategy has been developed and approved, our designers will move into interpreting your brand characteristics in a more visual way. Program differentiation and messaging must fit within your institution’s brand guidelines; however, within those parameters, Apollidon looks to create a distinct program brand identity. This is done in collaboration with your institution’s program team.
The branding and messaging should be consistent across media platforms, utilizing the website, social media, content curation, and other digital marketing techniques as well as targeted print and media placement, to increase program awareness and enrollment numbers.
d. Brand Testing
Social insights drive intelligent brand strategies for B2B as well as B2C. That’s why tools that uncover B2C social insights are effective branding. Brand testing through focus groups can be conducted to help develop these insights.
e. Brand Guidelines
Apollidon recognizes that your institution has established brand guidelines. We enforce brand compliance according to all the specifications of your institution’s brand and style guidelines, and we have integrated time into our process time for your institution’s team to approve all content, graphics, and display to ensure guidelines are met before market release.
Our experience has shown that higher education branding is complex. Our approach focuses on clarifying the unique attributes of your institution and program offerings to customize and create marketing strategies that meet your overall branding objectives.