Not too long ago, Educational Institute didn’t have much need for a strong brand. But as the market for funding, recognition, academic talent and even student recruitment has started to heat up, the need has become critical.
A survey by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup showed that in 2017, only 34% of schools polled had met their enrollment targets for the fall term on May 1, which marked a decline from 37% in 2016 and 42% in 2015. With recent setbacks like Covid-19 affecting enrollment, more Educational Institute have begun to focus on branding. At the moment, 85% of university leaders are concerned with accelerated rates of student attrition in the short term and 88% are concerned about a decline in overall future student enrollment due to Covid-19.
A strong brand and message can easily convert to higher enrollment, but with the current approach to education branding, it’s easy to see where many Educational Institute fall short. To build a stronger brand and improve student retention, follow these steps to develop a stronger brand and message.
HOW TO DEVELOP STRONGER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION BRANDING AND MESSAGING
Collect Brand Perception Data From Every Group
Educational Institute have a lot of different stakeholders from every corner of campus. If you focus on only one group, it’s easy to miss out on some great university marketing opportunities. In order to solidify your brand and make it accessible to the majority, you need to collect brand perception data from every facet of your campus.
Most Educational Institute can be broken down into the following groups:
- Current and prospective students (and their parents)
- Faculty (current and retired)
- Administrative staff
- Corporate partners
- Research funding sources
- Community members and leaders
- Local media, nonprofits and businesses
- University vendors
Identify Student Personas
Once you’ve collected perception data surrounding your educational institution’s brand, you can begin identifying student personas. Developing these personas is a key part of your university branding strategy because it will prevent you from generalizing your brand decisions.
Your established personas will help you recognize the specific attitudes, concerns and criteria that drive prospective students toward you or your competitors. Follow these steps to build the right personas:
- Divide Your Student Population Into Groups: E.g., divide returning adult students from recent high school grads.
- Identify Similarities For Each Group: Focus on what their motivations, goals and concerns are.
- Confirm Your Assumptions: Start surveying your groups to get insight into their wants and needs. For example, you may learn that returning adult students are interested in social connections just like recent high school grands.
By building these personas, it can give you insight into current trends other competitors may be using for recruitment.
Identify Unique Traits
Once you’ve created your student personas, you can start to identify unique traits among them. Begin by considering student niches, your location and your history.
- Student Niches: If your university caters to a specific student niche, this can become a strong focal point for your brand identity. For example, a disproportionately high number of part-time students, mature students or international students can potentially attract students in a similar situation.
- Location: Along with student niches, your location is another big part of your educational institution’s appeal. You don’t need to put a huge focus on this, but it can help promote a general atmosphere for your educational institution’s brand.
- History: For most Educational Institute, history is an important part of their identities. Even if your university is on the younger side, it can still play a vital role in your brand identity.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION BRANDING
Follow these steps to maintain your educational institution’s brand:
Keep Brand Assets In One Place: A critical part of university branding is consistency. If your staff or faculty can’t access your brand assets easily, you run the risk of having marketing items developed that don’t follow your brand. This in turn can undermine all the research and work you’ve put into building a brand that drives enrollment. To avoid this, keep your brand assets in one place.
Use Lockable Templates: Lockable templates will also help keep things consistent across campus. By providing lockable templates, you can put a stop to any rogue designers and ensure that everyone is using your brand assets correctly. Lockable templates don’t have to be rigid – you can provide templates that different departments can personalize.
Share Templates With Faculty And Staff: Finally, be sure to share your templates with all faculty and staff. With lockable, easy-to-use templates, anyone can quickly create posters, brochures, flyers and more that can be used throughout your university.
A educational institution’s brand is key to driving enrollment. Your brand is what draws in students, and during a time where enrollment is dropping, it’s more important than ever that your educational institution’s brand is solid and enticing.
originally posted on lucidpress.com by Amelia Wallace