Brand Awareness: Seven Major Ways to Get More Eyes on Your Brand

Brand Awareness: Seven Major Ways to Get More Eyes on Your Brand

The fourth marketing condition in our series to grow your education brand is brand awareness. The more people who know about you, the more prospective students you’ll attract to your enrollment cycle. Let’s talk about ways to amplify your education brand awareness.

Brand awareness is a popular marketing term, so if you want to get to the awareness hacks right now, feel free to skip to the brand amplifiers below!

But if you’re new to the term, education brand awareness is how aware your target audience is of your organization — who you are, what you have to offer, and what is important to you.

Now, it’s important to think through why increasing your education brand awareness is so important… because you’re going to spend A LOT of your time as a marketer working to create this one marketing condition.

The Importance of Brand Awareness

Every school — whether you’re a college, university, or k–12 school — flourishes or fails depending on the strength of your recruitment pipeline.

Meeting your organization’s KPI’s will mostly come down to the number of conversations your enrollment officers are having weekly with prospectives and their parents.

So for us as education marketers, the primary goal, then, is to keep enrollment officers busy with profitable conversations.

The straightforward rationale here is that when more people are made aware of the various aspects of your brand — like your brand elementsbrand authoritybrand authenticity, or brand promise — they will naturally be motivated to make contact with your enrollment team.

How motivated they are to contact your enrollment team will depend on the quality of the work you’ve done in each of those branding areas that I’ve already written about. You must have a “product” worth talking about before you try to increase brand awareness.

Now that we’ve got a good grasp (or refresher) on the basics behind education brand awareness, let’s dive into these time-tested ways to amplify your education brand.

By the way, I’ve listed them in no particular order. You may find some of them more relevant or strategic for your school.

Education Brand Amplifiers
1. Digital Landscape Awareness

How much of a footprint do you have in the digital landscape? Each day, your audience is spending more time online than the day before.

They’re looking for the answers to their questions about higher education, their career dreams, or what school is the best for their children. And that’s what makes the digital space so exciting!

Not only are you reaching out to build awareness — your audience actively looking to find your content.

This makes digital channels unique in that you’re not only building awareness, you can also give your audience a call to action. Since they came to you, and because you’ve shown brand authoritythrough your content, you can naturally ask them to go to the next step in their engagement with your brand.

I’ve been blogging about digital education marketing for a while now, so click on the links below to get a better idea of how this tactic can raise awareness of your education brand.

Key brand amplifiers in the digital spaces are:

  • Blogging
  • Vlogging and Video Content
  • LinkedIn Publishing – LinkedIn’s blogging feature lets you post long-form articles straight from your LinkedIn profile, and even allows for rich content like images. It’s a great way to get your blog content out to your alumni who very likely to be connecting with you on LinkedIn more so than other platforms.
  • Social Media Contests — Social media contests attract new eyes to your brand by incentivizing your current followers to introduce your brand to their friends by posting their written stories, pics, or videos about your school using cool giveaway prizes.
  • Podcasts — Any school, but especially higher education, could benefit by getting some of their expert faculty and staff to host a podcast on one of the main academic subjects your school leads.
  • PPC ads, Social Media Ads, and Search Engine Marketing
  • Retargeting (remarketing) — Basically, after a visitor comes to your site, they’ll see your ads showing up in their search engine results and social media feeds. Retargeting is an amazing way to keep your brand in front of people who’ve visited your site, and it’s especially powerful when you only retarget those in your geographic region.
  • EBooks — I’ve seen significant success in lead generation using ebooks as an ethical bribe to get prospective students to opt into your email list. A well-done ebook will increase your leads almost every time.

2. Event Marketing

You can use events to increase your education brand awareness by sponsoring or hosting events that engage communities where your audience is most likely to be.

These events could be within your local community — but consider putting on or participating in events within areas of your school’s expertise like leadership, tech, or environmental issues.

3. Referral Programs

Some schools do an incredible job at referral programs. For example, I have it on good authority that Huntington University has experienced some success in their “Find a Forester” campaign where they offer gifts cards, HU apparel, and other giveaways if their current students somehow connect a friend to Huntington.

This may seem gimmicky at first — but think about it.

When your lead comes from a current student, they’re more likely to be a qualified prospect as opposed to just anyone who’s happened to hear about you.

4. Influencer Marketing/Guest Content

My own blog has experienced upticks in traffic just by using this simple, but powerful education brand awareness tactic.

Find subject matter experts, alumni, and faculty to write for your blog, create videos for your vlog, or share your content in their newsletters.

The beauty of this tactic is that your influencers don’t have to be famous to get your brand more exposure. They just need to be respected and established in their circles, which could be as formal as their industry or as informal as their family and friends.

5. Physical Landscape Awareness

Good old fashioned branding isn’t dead! Just make sure that you use images and copy on these physical landscapes that remind people of your education brand more than just showing them your brand.

For example, slogans, mascots, and even landmarks are great images that look good on the items that you’re giving away.

  • Car Wraps — “reminders of the brand but not the brand itself.”
  • Swag
  • Clothing and Apparel

6. Local Partnerships

Form partnerships with local organizations, educational associations, and community initiatives that reinforce or echo your brand values.

7. Personality

This last brand amplifier is to BE USED WITH CAUTION.

But crafting human, personal qualities into your marketing messages that highlight your brand distinctives can make your brand so sticky, your audience will never forget you.

Like the day that Butler Blue, the bulldog, wrote to my son’s pets…

During his college application days, my son applied to Butler University among several others. In the application, he was asked if he had any pets and what were their names. He replied that we had a dog and a cat and gave their names.

That’s a very strange thing to ask in an application. But we forgot about it quickly afterwards.

Use the appropriate tone and look when using personality to increase your education brand awareness.

Then one day, we received a rather unique communication from Butler U.

We opened the fun-looking envelope to find a letter from the school’s live mascot, Butler Blue III addressed to my son’s pets! In effect, the letter was assuring his dog that Butler would take really good care of “their human.”

This kind of light-hearted thoughtfulness to our pets endeared the Butler brand in the Caylor home. In fact, I’m sure I’ve told this story at least 20 times since then!

They also did an incredible job of leveraging their admissions communication flow to further marketing their brand.

Personality is a potent, concentrated brand amplifier, so I must repeat:

Be very careful how, or even if, you implement this tactic. It should never be done outlandishly. However, good-natured, thoughtful humor can go a long way when it’s locked into one or more of your brand distinctives.

Here for you.

Brand amplification is the day in, day out work of marketing. It can be overwhelming, repetitious, or even mundane.

Our team of education marketers at Caylor Solutions has decades of experience in education brand awareness strategies. We’re here for you!

Feel free to get ahold of us today for a free consultation.

How are you raising your education brand awareness?

Are you using personality, or events, or some other tactic you saw in my list? Are you using another method that is missing here? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image by Alexey Kuznetsov via Adobe Stock

Mail Dog image by Javier Brosch via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/brand-awareness-7-major-ways-to-get-more-eyes-on-your-brand/

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Brand Promise: Communicating Your School’s Value – Boldly

Brand Promise: Communicating Your School’s Value – Boldly

The third marketing condition you need for your school to grow is a solid education brand promise. Are you making and keeping yours?

Education marketing is built on promises.

What does your college, university, or school promise to give your prospective student in exchange for their time, interest, tuition, social media share, email, etc.?

Marketing is built on promises because you’re communicating with a prospective audience about a transaction that hasn’t occurred yet. The exchange of value is still off in the future.

When you examine every marketing message, you’ll find that you are making a lot of promises.

What you will do… when you will do it… how you will go about it… whom the student will become.

But when we talk about an education brand promise, we’re talking about the central promise that you need your prospective student to hear loud and clear.

An education brand promise is a pledge you make in your marketing about the primary benefit prospective students will receive from attending your school.

One of your primary objectives as a marketer is to get your education brand promise to shine through and tantalize your audience in every message you send out.

Staking Your Claim

Another way to think of an education brand promise is staking your claim. Make a bold, nerve-rackingly explicit claim.

What is it that you do or provide that is the absolute best in your geographic area, expertise, or class?

Marketing guru Seth Godin emphasizes that being the best at something doesn’t mean being the best in the whole, wide world. “Being the best” is relative.

Best in the world just refers to the world of the consumer in that moment, and best means the thing that most appropriately fits his worldview. In other words, I don’t think you have to be the best in the world at classical violin. I think you can do great by making the best espresso on this particular block of downtown Chicago, or being the politician with the best stance on immigration (the one I agree with the most).

Your education brand promise should be so bold and clear that everyone will know if you achieved or failed at delivering it.

The possibility of failure to deliver — and how obvious that failure would be — makes the idea of communicating your education brand promise a scary proposition. That’s why Seth goes on to say…

Compromise is the enemy of that. So is fear. So is the desire to fit in or be average.

The key is to know your school so well that you could make the claim of being the best at something without any fear that you won’t deliver on your promise.

Building Trust

The biggest mistake schools make when staking out their education brand promise is making a promise that’s contrived, or worse yet, ripped off from another school.

Promises that don’t come from what your institution just does organically (i.e., your mission) are promises you will most likely break.

Social psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson revealed in a Huffington Post article the small difference between the promises we break and the ones we keep.

Telling others about your intention to do something does make you more likely to actually do it, but this is only true when the actual behavior you are committing to is desirable for its own sake. [Emphasis mine.]

Earlier in the article, she gave the example of how a friend offered to babysit her children so she could get away and take a break. Will that friend ever come through and watch the kids? Heck, no!

Why We Break Promises

Her friend’s promise did not come from an authentic desire to be with the kids.

Dr. Halvorson’s well-intentioned friend was just making the promise because she wanted to feel like a good friend.

If her friend had said instead…

“Tell you what, I like your kids. I’ll swing by and be with them for a couple hours so you can get a break.”

An education brand promise is like promising to watch children. Are you doing it because you want to?

That would be a promise she would keep! Why?

Because it’s a promise to do something that she already likes to do. Being with the kids was “desirable for its own sake.” It’s not about a contrived version of herself that she wants to project (like being a good friend when she’s really not).

What things does your school do that you do simply because they are a natural extension of who you are?

If your mission is life-changing research, then that’s something your institution will do because “it is desirable for its own sake.” That’s a brand promise that you can make! For example…

“At [YOUR SCHOOL], students take part in ground-breaking research.”

If your institutional passion is leadership, then you will encourage leadership development in everyone because that’s just what you do. Your education brand promise could be…

“At [YOUR SCHOOL], leaders are made.”

So how do you know what would be desirable for its own sake for your school? Check out my previous posts on brand authenticity and brand authority.

Education Brand Promises

To wrap it up, I wanted to leave you with a few education brand promise examples that I believe these private schools do well at.

Indiana Wesleyan University

“We equip future generations of learners with skills they will need to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.”

Does Indiana Wesleyan University have world-class faculty? Yes. Do they have top-of-the-line equipment on their campus? Sure.

But those things aren’t the primary benefit a student would receive if they graduated from IWU.

The promise is this: “If you graduate from our program, you won’t just have a shiny, new paper on your wall. You’ll have all the skills you need to adapt to every unexpected change coming in your career, industry, or ministry.”

Keystone College

“Our pledge that within six months of graduating you will have received at least one job offer or been accepted into a transfer or graduate program.”

It’s easy to find Keystone’s education brand promise on their homepage. They literally call it “The Keystone Promise.”

That’s a really, really scary promise to make to over 1,500 students every semester!

What makes Keystone’s promise so compelling is that upon graduation you know if it was kept or not. No guessing. No ambiguity.

Our Promise to You

Making and keeping your brand promise is an ongoing, and sometimes intense, process.

In real life, we need trusted voices who help us make the right promises — and who help us keep them!

If you need a trusted guide to help you clarify your education brand positioning, or to completely rebrand your institution, you don’t have to go it alone. Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.

What promises are you making?

What does your school do better than anyone else in your region, field, or program-type?

What are the things you do just because your institute is passionate about them?

Featured image by lalalululala via Adobe Stock
Mother and Daughter image by Flamingo Images via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/brand-promise-boldy-communicating-your-schools-value/

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