After living in the same house for almost 40 years, my parents decided to build a brand new house. They’d planned and dreamed about it for years, collecting ideas in a scrapbook, making frequent visits to walk the land they had purchased. About a year after breaking ground, they moved in. Brand new yard. Brand new carpet. Brand new oak front door. But when I visited for the official nickel tour, their new home seemed strangely familiar.
There was the same brownish LazyBoy chair I grew up with. Next to it sat the floral patterned sofa where my siblings and I watched hours of Barnaby Jones and All in the Family reruns. All that was missing was the orange shag carpet and stained glass ceiling lamps. Of course I was happy for them, but I had to come clean about why it didn’t seem all that new.
It’s the same with your higher ed brand. You can’t expect to refresh your brand, build a new website or launch an effective higher ed marketing campaign with the same old content.
A Fresh Set of Eyes
Telling your story is the most important part of communicating your brand. The best and easiest way to tell it is through photography, video, and infographics. Because if you can’t engage people visually, it’s unlikely they’ll want to learn more about you and what you have to offer.
Keep your image library fresh. The shelf life of most photographic and video content is 2-3 years. If you can, update your image asset library on an ongoing basis, or at least annually.
Many colleges and universities have internal resources for photography and video. Others engage commercial photographers and videographers who bring a fresh set of eyes. Either way, we strongly suggest putting together a style guide, including sample imagery and video as part of the brand identity guidelines. Set the bar high. Make sure the look and feel is not only aesthetically pleasing, but captures who you are and and what makes you special.
Think Content First
We get it. You might be feeling the embarrassment of a sorely outdated higher ed brand or website. The natural instinct is to fix the obvious cosmetic challenges and change out the content later. But putting a new face on the same content only solves a small part of the problem. And before you know it, years have passed and that outdated content is still hanging around.
Before launching a new brand or digital marketing effort, invest time and resources in a content strategy. Planning and writing content before you launch will help you prioritize what is important, what’s still relevant and what has to go. And while it’s a difficult and unenviable chore, your team and your future customers will thank you later.
The Finishing Touches
A few months after moving into their new home, my parents finally invested in new furniture, which put the finishing touches on their new home. Like imagery, the right furniture and interior style says something about you. It makes your guests feel at home, and that means they’ll want to stay longer.