Is your college communicating the right message?
A residential college needs us to address a logo and branding problem. Their trouble started when, to save money, they had one of their students photograph, scan and trace a photo of their college logo. They did this because over the last two decades the original logo had gone missing.
The college had a copy of Photoshop, Illustrator and a computer. They gave one of their students the responsibility of producing the logo and designing the overall look and feel for the student handbook. After the traced logo was finished it was applied to a range of printed material, email signatures and signage.
Everything was going smoothly. They set up their letterhead and with compliments slips, in Word, and had several thousand printed. They wanted to be taken seriously, so they designed their business cards in PowerPoint. The student branded the handbook in a very amateur way, there was imagery of students having a good time (drinking) on every page. Once finished the file was emailed to the printer.
A day later the printer called, they couldn’t use the files the college had sent, the images were 72dpi. There was also a problem printing their two-colour business cards, the logo would only print in CMYK (four colour process). The college was quickly in over their heads; the price for having these items printed had ballooned massively. The printer advised that they go and talk to a graphic designer.
It was at this point that they engaged us.
We listened patiently. They’d spent thousands on business paraphernalia and their material looked cheap, amateurish and none of the colours were consistent on any product. All their handbooks used imagery and text that communicated the opposite values of the college. What message did this send to current and future students and parents? It’s horrible to think how their unconsidered presentation impacted on their reputation and future business — and that’s the point.
A good brand is worth far more than any computer or office furniture you’ll buy. It should contain the unique essence of your business — your personality, promise and purpose — and convey meaning that words alone can’t express. It will be the face presented to all new business prospects for decades to come. Shouldn’t it be good? Shouldn’t it communicate your core values?
Fortune500 companies pay anywhere from $1000,000 – $2,000,000 for their logo designs. They fully understand the true value of a logo and brand that communicates accurately and honestly to their target audience.
Colleges can underestimate the importance of a properly designed brand. A well-crafted brand is an important investment in your business. It enables you to differentiate and compete and it will keep returning on your investment long past any other business commodity’s life span.
Our desperate residential college’s logo and brand had to be redesigned, there was nothing worth salvaging, nothing that resembled who they had evolved to. How did they get into this mess? They tried to save money by doing it themselves — ironically it cost them more than if they’d seen us at the start. Their material was attracting the wrong kind of student and encouraging behaviour they frowned upon.
We sat down with them and began from scratch. We explained the process of creating a brand and the necessity of strategy.
We began to walk with them on their journey of self-discovery.
At the end of process the college had an identity that reflected their core values and spoke clearly to their target audience. The client was extremely happy, they valued the professionalism with which they’d been treated and the result was far beyond what they expected. More importantly a relationship based on trust had been developed, they had access to professional people who have the skills and industry knowledge to collaborate with them to achieve their goals.
It’s easy to become complacent and rest on the glory days. Perhaps your college once had a reputation for quality. Is that the case now? It may be.
If you’ve evolved from where you once were it’s always worth considering if you’re communicating the right message to your target audience now. There are a lot of colleges that get more applications from students than they can accept. A lot complain that the kind of students that apply are not suited for their college environment for various reasons.
Are you communicating clearly?
The process for creating or refreshing a brand takes time — quality takes time, but it delivers results.
Business is expensive, why make surviving harder by not communicating and differentiating properly? Our client had traced their old logo and let their brand devolve for next to nothing. They paid for that error every time they created a product. They looked unprofessional and were communicating the opposite values of who they were.
How much do you think your brand is worth?