It was pure serendipity that I read Brand Immortality by Pringle and Field on my way to a conference where I was to speak about branding to a group of enrollment executives from colleges and universities. It wasn’t a giant “Aha!” moment, but I realized that institutions of higher education represent the longest-lasting brands in our relatively young country.
The authors of Brand Immortality begin their book trying to defeat the notion that brands are transient and have a life cycle much like individual products. They would get no argument about that from most university trustees and administrators, who preside over institutions that have maintained the same name for decades or even centuries. And, make no mistake about it, colleges and universities market themselves – many to survive, a smaller number to thrive. What strikes me as odd is despite the amount of money that most colleges spend on direct mail, print and web advertising, social media marketing, and many other categories, how little they focus on branding. […]