College Branding in an Open Source Era

By |May 11th, 2010|

At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive, I had a chance to speak with Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. In her short but insightful book, Kamenetz outlines the forces that are starting to transform higher education in the U.S. and suggests alternative scenarios for what a college education might look like in the future. […]

Better Branding: Hire Passionate People

By |December 2nd, 2009|

I’ve been reading Passion Brands: Why Some Brands Are Just Gotta Have, Drive All Night For, and Tell All Your Friends About by Kate Newlin, and am enjoying her analysis of what makes a “passion brand.” Passion brands are those with which consumers form an emotional attachment, and which they recommend enthusiastically to their friends. Indeed, passionate brands inspire evangelism, and their loyalists are disappointed if friends fail to follow their advice.

For me, the piece of advice that most resonated was that to build a passion brand, you must hire “passionistas.” Those employees bring their own passion for the category and the brand, and the people they interact with will see their genuine enthusiasm and become infected themselves. Newlin writes, […]

College Branding: What if Harvard Moved Next Door?

By |November 2nd, 2009|

Why do most college branding efforts end up as meaningless pablum? I think it’s because most colleges have been relatively insulated from the effects of devastating competition. In fact, historically there have been major barriers to competition in the cozy world of higher education. The biggest have been geography, cost, and reputation. Let’s look at those in turn: […]

Just Say NO to Bland College Branding

By |October 27th, 2009|

I’ve been reading the recently released second edition of Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout, and there are some powerful (and timeless) messages there for all brands. Although the entire book is geared toward commercial brand differentiation, some of the comments relate directly to higher education marketing.

Trout takes on bland, meaningless product taglines with the same gusto I attacked college taglines that say nothing about the school in a previous Neuromarketing post. Here are a few of Trout’s ineffective tagline examples – see if you can match them up with their brand:
– “Your future made easier”
– “Yes you can”
– “Way of light”
– “Uncommon wisdom”
– “Shift” […]

Got Branding?

By |October 9th, 2009|

The last time I wrote about Nabisco’s Oreo brand, it was in Mega-Branding: The Purple Oreo Problem. In that post I was critical of the seemingly crazy proliferation of Oreo variations – 46 offerings, including “Purple.” My criticism was based on research showing that offering consumers too many choices can reduce sales.

Well, there are still lots and lots of Oreo varieties, but Nabisco is redeeming themselves in part by sending a strong brand message. The ad shown above has scored exceptionally well in viewer engagement according to Sands Research, a neuromarketing service provider: […]

College Branding and Banner Ads

By |August 25th, 2009|

Banner ads may be the most common method of reaching consumers on the Web, but they don’t get much respect. Web marketers talk about “banner blindness,” implying that users become so used to the presence of these ads that they no longer even see them. I don’t think it’s time to write off the ubiquitous banner just yet, though. First, here are some comments on college banner ads from top marketing blogger Seth Godin: […]

College Branding: Rooted in Reality

By |August 21st, 2009|

Some in higher education don’t like the concept of “branding.” This is so much the case that UK branding expert Robert Mighall wrote a lengthy article debunking some of the ideas those in higher ed have about the concept of branding (see College Branding Myths Demolished). To me, the biggest concern about the term “branding” is that it implies creating a false premise about the product, in this case, a college or university. I’ve included a few historic tobacco ads from a Stanford project as examples of branding at its worst. […]

Is Branding Dead? Ask These Kids.

By |August 13th, 2009|

As a followup to my post, Is Branding Dead? Our Brains Say No, here’s more evidence that advertising-driven branding is alive and well. In this video, neuromarketing expert Martin Lindstrom conducts a series of on-camera experiments with a group of “tweens,” kids 8 to 12 years old: […]

Is Branding Dead? Our Brains Say No!

By |August 12th, 2009|

A recent post at ClickZ declares that branding is “Ineffective, Irrelevant, Irritating, and Impotent.” The author, Augustine Fou (I can’t help but point out “fou” is French for “crazy” or “madman” :)), starts by suggesting that “branding” (as a verb) implies an artificial construct, something other than the brand itself. Fou says that he himself isn’t influenced by branding messages: […]

Sensory Branding at Le Méridien

By |August 10th, 2009|

The last time you were in a hotel, what did it smell like? Do you recall any sounds? While I think sensory branding is important for all businesses, hotels have a particularly strong opportunity to practice it. After all, their customers enter the hotel environment completely, providing plenty of opportunities to both delight the senses of the guests and provide consistent branding cues. Of course, all too often hotels do the reverse, assaulting guests with unpleasant odors, noisy ice machines and hallways, and other elements that detract from brand perception.

At least one hotel chain, Starwood’s Le Méridien, is putting serious effort into a memorable and consistent sensory experience: […]