How differentiated is your residential college?When was the last time you went to your doctor with a serious health problem and, during the check-up, corrected her over her use of the medical equipment?
When did you last catch an aeroplane and, as you boarded, gave instructions to the pilot on how you think he should be flying?
It’s common for a college to self-diagnose when they feel they’re not connecting with students and parents. It is surprising how many times we’re engaged by a college that only ‘needs their website updated’, but after talking with them it becomes apparent that the new website is not going to fix their communication problem.
What’s even more surprising is that often the college hasn’t even thought about their existing brand and whether it’s still relevant to who they are now.
Don’t put the cart before the horse.
Before you start looking at redesigning your website, think about your existing brand. Does it honestly communicate who you are now? Are you using images from the 1980s? Does it look like you’re from the past? You may have had some distinguished alumni pass through your doors a while ago, but what about more recently?
Do you value high academic achievement or do you have more of a sporting focus? Every college wants to develop a global citizen, but how does your global citizen differ from other colleges?
If your brand isn’t honest and clear with who you are now, why would you spend money on a new website that’s reinforcing that you’re out of touch or undifferentiated?
Your brand and strategy forms the foundation for all your communication. If your foundation is weak the entire building will be too.
It’s important to sort out who you are before you put that message all over your website. Your website is one of the first touch points that your customer will come in contact with.
Ensure it’s consistent with the rest of your brand.
Don’t use your money on a new website if you don’t have a brand strategy. You’re only confusing everybody.