From knick-knacks to doodah to anything small or significant can be termed a 'Brand'. A Brand is necessarily a name that can strike a chord with the right audience in a relevant way. A successful brand doesn’t happen like lightning. Years of trust, credibility, and authenticity are what build a brand organically.
Education, at any phase, is the crux of life. Education aims at holistically developing an individual as opposed to only the academics part of it. For an educational institution to emerge as a distinct identity & grow into a successful brand, branding plays a crucial role. We have jotted down a few factors which can shape & influence a brand & its identity.
1. Brand name & identity
It is prima facie the most important thing for an institute to come up with a name & logo that are in sync with its values, vision, mission & ideologies.
For instance, the Ramaiah Group logo was recently revamped, putting out a more robust & convincing message to the world. ‘Ramaiah Group’ as a brand, is one of the few very successful groups. The group, since its inception focused on education & the new logo was created to reinforce the ideologies & symbolise their dedication to carrying the legacy forward. Every element & colour used in the new logo categorically represent their thinking.
The brand name & logo are decisive factors in creating a distinct identity in any sector. The visual identity includes not only the logo elements, colour schemes & other symbolic representations but also the built area, campus, infrastructure, etc. These are extremely important in creating a brand, getting people familiar with the name & logo. After all, a brand is created not by a designer, but by the people who are invested in it!
2. Physical branding of the classrooms & premises
For an idea to originate and take form, ‘imagination’ is the key. Education, at every level, needs to focus on opening up the minds of students to higher horizons, helping them think beyond the possible and inspire innovation. As Ken Robinson indicates, “creativity is as important in education as literacy itself”. Branding an educational institution to inspire students to imagine, learn and explore, is no mean feat. A through & through understanding of students’ psyche is extremely important.
Studies show colours can greatly influence learning. Green colour, the tone of nature, can induce concentration & clarity of thought; orange has been widely accepted as a mood-lifter, it can increase the oxygen supply to the brain & stimulate the brain activity; while red encourages creativity & stimulates alertness, white can help maintain attention, & so forth. Right colours & right artwork can together portray compelling stories that inspire the existing students & motivate the prospective students.
3. Branding across various media
Before jumping into the institution branding in multiple mediums, it is essential to have a brand style guide. The style guide is the reference document which lays down the proper usage & application of the logo & other design elements. It should be noted that fonts play a significant role in showcasing the power of a brand. Fonts for educational institutions need to signify the credibility, stability, authority & strength. There should be consistency in the usage of the logo, fonts, colours, placement, vision & mission statement etc., while advertising or branding in any media. Also, all the marketing collateral including the brochures, leaflets, magazines etc., have to maintain the consistency in messaging.
The website is one indispensable component of branding your institution online. It has become a primary point of contact for existing or future students or even the alumni. At any given point in time, anyone who visits the website can have the complete information about the school/ the college, their offerings, USP, history, affiliations, accreditations etc. With 3600 views of the campus being made available on the websites, the students & parents can take a campus tour virtually-really!
For instance, Lakefield College School is a boarding school in Ontario, their USP being learning with nature, a large part of their studies involves interacting with nature, exploring the natural world, learning new sports etc. Their website communicates this with the use of right colours, images & narratives weaved as an emotive brand story.
5. Picking the right target audience & reaching out to them
Your brand identity is your first impression. For an educational institution to establish & become a brand, it needs to be clear about ‘what it wants to say to the world’, i.e. the messaging given out through various mediums, ‘what it does’. i.e. actions, behaviour, attitude, achievement, integrity etc., and ‘what do they want people to talk about their brand’, i.e. brand perception. The influencers for a private institute include current students, parents, alumni, staff, education agents, and other colleges. It is important to filter out and choose the right medium, be it print, web, radio, television etc. Celebrity endorsements are gaining traction due to the kind of inspiration & brand pull it can create, but the choosing the right ambassador is very important. Choosing a celebrity only from the popularity standpoint & forgetting the fact that he/she is not qualified to promote an educational brand will defeat the purpose.
An investment in branding can achieve far-fetched results for educational institutions. Get in touch with the right branding consultants & hit the ground running, today!