Job Wanted: Chief Brand Experience Officer

By Matt McFadden | Jul 12, 2017

Just what you wanted! A new person in the office with a made-up title like Brand Experience Officer. But there’s evidence that traditional roles in the university marketing and communications office aren’t cutting it.

Brand was an off-color word in higher ed 10 years ago, and now it’s all the rage. Many schools are rolling out new brand platforms successfully, but many are admitting that momentum fades not long after launch and they struggle both internally and externally to keep messages, creative, and experiences consistent and fresh.

Depending on the school’s size, the role of the traditional brand champion in higher ed typically falls to the VP, AVP, or Director of Marketing. Given all of the other duties, managing “brand” feels like a police badge and comes with a misperception of intent by campus communicators, faculty, and staff. Very little of the brand champion’s time is left for experience. If brand is a collection of experiences that forms the opinion about you in the mind and gut of your core audience, shouldn’t we spend more time there?

So if you could hire this person, what would their job description look like? Sometimes it’s easiest to build responsibilities by starting with what they won’t do. They won’t:

-Manage the brand guidelines or hold anyone else to them
-Worry about fonts and colors
-Handle PR or crisis communications
-Route work for colleges and departments
-Design anything
-Write anything
-Speak for the university

Welp, this sounds like a cushy gig. But here’s what they might do:

Find stories that relate to the brand pillars from across the university
-Recommend new mediums in which to tell these stories
-Lead development of new platforms and apps in which core audiences can experience the brand
-Build on-campus brand experiences for prospective students, parents, and alumniand then drive them back to key digital experiences
-Find opportunities with partners, sponsors, and community leaders who align well with the values of the university and can build equity
-Lead a team of content producers to bring these ideas to life
-Facilitate workshops around social media, content strategy, and customer service (you don’t need to be an expert in all of these, but should be able to pull in others to help)

Make no mistake, this job is no cakewalk. It will take someone who can think strategically, be creative, unify different groups around campus, and analyze key metrics and make recommendations for improvements. The job should be hard after all. Brand is too important, so it’s time to rethink everything.

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