Recently the head of a small agency (and an old friend) described what marketers actually do for Forbes magazine. “Great marketing,” he wrote, is “an entire ecosystem of communications and engagement with the market.” What great marketing means,” he says, “is putting the pieces together to create an infrastructure that’s perfectly meshed with a brand and its business objectives. They don’t favor one strategy or media over another but see the value of the whole constellation of tools.”
Why does it bother us so much when a politician says one thing and does another? Or when a commercial suggests something is tastier or easier to use than it actually is? Why do we feel cheated a product, service or experience doesn’t live up to our expectations—even if it offers us something of similar quality? The friction between the message and the reality creates mistrust.
Go to Flickr. Search the name of your institution. Now go to Google Images, and search again. One more—YouTube. What impression are you left with? Is that the impression you want people to have?
Brand Standards, also known as a Visual Identity System, help organizations present a clear and consistent identity for your school. Regularly used graphic icons, type treatments and messaging can convey and reinforce your identity, your strengths and your reputation.
No organization that interacts with people in the world can claim to control its brand. It’s snake oil to claim otherwise. Brands exist only in concert with other minds.
Not long ago, we had a client who had done a brand audit with another firm. The client thought it was good work, but for some reason, the ideas were never implemented. None of their staff or creative vendors seemed eager to champion the messaging because it was hard to see how it would play out. The report, like most reports, didn’t come with specific instructions.