< Journal
27th April 2022

How to Build a Distinctive and Consistent University Brand in 2022

How to Build a Distinctive and Consistent University Brand in 2022

Making your university branding stand out in 2022 is no easy task. With more and more universities boasting world-class facilities, high rankings, and ground-breaking research in their messaging, how can you ensure that your marketing makes an impact on the right people? With Audience Collective being branding experts, we compiled a list of the most important things to consider when building a compelling, consistent brand.

In an increasingly online world, accelerated by the pandemic, it is important to ensure your reputation is strong across online platforms and so this blog is aimed towards helping you build the foundations of a strong internet presence.

Your reputation as a University is built on the opinions of a range of stakeholders, students, businesses, governments, current staff, alumni and more. The strength of this reputation will determine the quality of staff, students, partners etc, which, in turn, will determine the long-term standing of your University.

Avoid default messaging: 

Many universities fall into the trap of becoming the ‘University of Anywhere’ when they rely on default messaging. This refers to simply listing basic aspects of the university instead of focusing on its unique features. Leading lecturers and excellent facilities are aspects that universities across the US (and the world) regularly advertise. When such a large number of institutions offer very similar services to prospective students, it is more important than ever to make sure your institution stands out amongst the crowd.

Research shows that more than 95% of our brain activity is emotional. Emotion is what drives almost all of our brand choices – so don’t just focus on promoting the default aspects of your university. Drop the usual marketing method of promoting high-impact research or campus facilities. Instead, focus on evoking your audience’s feelings and emotions in your messaging.

Appealing to human emotions will build a bridge of trust between you and your audience. Become a university that keeps its prospective students at the forefront of its messaging. Your audience could potentially dedicate three or more years of their life to your university, so make sure you are communicating exactly why they should do so.

Common Concerns 

Concern: We have different groups that we’d like to target, so they need different types of messaging to effectively reach them. 

Resolution: This can be accomplished by creating a single, unifying message that appeals to everyone.

Concern: But what if we don’t have anything unique about us? Other universities do what we do.

Resolution: Every university has something unique about it – think about what would genuinely make you choose your institution over others. Becoming aware of your strengths can only help when it comes to branding. When you refer to these distinctive assets in your messaging, it will help your target audience remember you.

Become instantly recognizable:

A lack of consistency across your communications can be very costly.  86% of advertising spend gets wasted because consumers do not know which brand the message is from. When browsing online, people get bombarded with adverts and information. As a result, our attention spans have become very limited, leading us to scroll mindlessly until something interesting enough causes us to linger those few seconds longer. Make sure your brand is instantly recognizable and distinct to remain memorable.

Avoid re-inventing

Repeating the same message, using the same color schemes, fonts, and tone of voice over a long period can become mundane for marketers. While re-branding and adapting to the latest trends may seem like the way forward, developing distinctive, timeless assets will allow your brand to stay consistent even when trends do move along.

All touch points in your messaging should link to a common creative idea. If your copy relays a lot of different messaging, this can make your brand seem confusing and in-cohesive. Make consistency the easy option for stakeholders.

Take aways

  • Focus on what makes your institution unique.
  • Utilize emotive messaging.
  • Consistency is key.
  • Avoid default messaging.

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