Bringing Balance to the Modern Higher Education Brand

Modern higher ed brands bring balance to the challenges of brand building across digital spaces with marketing’s most fundamental truths.

Originally published at Uplifting Insights by Up&Up

Modern Brand Building Requires Balance

Modern brand building is built on a foundation that balances culture, media and marketing truths. For every new shift in media behavior there is a marketing truth that continues to endeavor. For every emergent social media platform, there are still fundamental human behaviors that are slow to evolve. For every qualifier we place in front of “influencer” and for each push to remove “funnels” from our lexicon, the more we rediscover a need to go back to past practices to inform key business goals.

Balance brand marketing and enrollment marketing

Often thought of as siloed or divided by traditional/digital tactics, modern higher ed brands must balance brand marketing and recruitment activities across the spectrum of marketing objectives. As Binet and Fields argued “Balancing brand building and sales activation activity appropriately for the sector in which the brand operates remains a vital requirement.” Enrollment and brand marketing should seek to work in tandem to build a full funnel.

Balance the “bits”

Our current media environment can best be described as fragmented, disconnected and decentralized. The customer journey is messy at best, attention is divided and interactions with brands extend beyond our control–making higher education marketing much more difficult.

Balance the collective understanding

Brands are built through collective meaning. Marketing helps to create meaning, reinforce previous interactions with a brand and get more people to experience the brand. It’s when a consensus reality has formed that a brand truly “owns” its status and attributes. For example, luxury brands don’t maintain their luxury status without a collective understanding.

Balance marketing communications and community

Just like our social networks, brands have become decentralized. Audiences have just as much voice and more creative tools than ever before. Brands are now shared and scale can now be built through co-creation and community–creating meaningful incremental reach.

The Modern Higher Ed Brand is Built with Authenticity

As Stephen King wrote in What is a Brand?, “[A brand] has to be a coherent totality, not a lot of bits…blended into a single brand personality…Secondly, it has to be unique, and constantly developing to stay unique, because it is through its uniqueness that the brand can offer sustained profit margins. Thirdly, this blend of appeals must be relevant to people’s needs and desires, and immediate and salient. It must constantly stand out from the crowd; it must spring to mind.”

Strategy @Up&Up