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What are the keys to success in branding?

David Green sent this over today from the CASE  list serve.  Lots of Universities are asking questions about branding.  Brandy B. Aycock from Piedmont College is one of ’em who is asking.  Rob Moore with Lipman Hearne provides his thoughts.  Good reading and good insights.  Rob’s comments are in italic.

Happy Friday!
I am working on a project regarding college branding or rebranding.  I
was wondering if any of you have had experience with this in your
positions. Our alumni, development and communications departments are
all together with 6 staffers. I’ve done a lot of research and found many
articles, but I’d like to hear from those of you in the trenches.
Some questions:
1)      What do you think are the keys to success in a branding
Presidential leadership. Solid base of market research. Shared
understanding among key leadership about the specific goals of the

2)      What do you see as “the kiss of death” in branding?
Presuming you already “know” your brand.  You might know what you think
it is, or might know what you want it to be, but without market research
you don’t know where it resides in the minds of stakeholders—which is
where the brand actually lives.

3)      How long have you had your current brand in place?
This question is not answerable, if by brand you mean the place your
institution holds in the minds of its stakeholders. If you mean “brand
campaign” or a related public initiative to influence that brand
perception, the typical life of a brand campaign is 3-5 years—after
which it should be reexamined to see how it has changed the competitive
landscape and repositioned the institution.

4)      How did it change from previous brand, if you did a rebrand?
5)      What was the impetus for the change?
Usually driven by 1) enrollment issues; 2) potential capital campaign;
3) trustee/leadership unrest regarding reputation.

6)      What is the significance of the brand to your school?
The brand is the promise of the experience that your school makes.  Few
things could be more important.

7)      Can you quantify any benefits from the strong branding?
Branding initiatives should be started with clear goals beforehand,
with appropriate metrics attached.  This makes the benefits more than
anecdotal—it makes success measurable.

8)      Did you use a consultant in the branding process?
9)      What were the steps you used to create the brand?
Positioning analysis, market research, competitive scan, brand
hypothesis development, validation research, creative expression.

10)   How did you roll out the new brand?
11)   What would you say the cost range was for your branding
Cost range varies widely, depending in large part on the availability
of experienced, effective internal resources.  A successful initiative
can range from low six figures to $1-2MM plus—the latter if there’s a
new identity program, new signage across the campus, complete re-do of
all brand collateral, image campaign, etc.

I’m interested in success and horror stories. Tips are appreciated as
You can respond online, offline or call me.

Thank you!

Brandy B. Aycock
Associate Director of
Institutional Advancement
Piedmont College
P.O. Box 10
Demorest, GA 30535

Brandy, all I can say is Passion Rules!  With Rob on your side, you’re in good company.


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