Game On – #HigherEd Gets Serious About Branding

picA new report from consultancy mStoner is sure to make some college marketers nervous.

Higher education institutions are building brands in a big way, becoming stronger competitors in the arena for prospective students, promising faculty, community attention and alumni contributions.

Of 125 chief marketing officers at public and private colleges surveyed, three-quarters report having undertaken branding efforts at their institution.

They’re spending serious money, too. Two-thirds of the respondents shared cost details, with 63 percent of them reporting investments of more than $100,000, and 31 percent investing more than $200,000. The Buffalo News reported that the University of Buffalo is launching a $314,000 project.

The money isn’t buying new logos and t-shirts.

Branding is about identifying what distinguishes an institution from its peers, determining why an institution matters to specific audiences and using the findings to make better connections with people in a noisy, cutthroat and distracting marketplace.

It sharpens the competitive edge.

For college marketers still on the branding sidelines, t-shirts and cups offer little protection against the newly, strategically branded teams now taking the field.

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