Exploring the Brandscape, Part 3: What we’re saying

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2009 by Debbie Schallock under Integrated Marketing, Messaging, Research. Tags: , , , ,
Brandscape: According to Kilmer & Kilmer, brandscape is the definition of the competitive and consumer environment in which your brand must perform and compete.

Marketing and communication in higher education can be a challenge, particularly because of how many different arms and legs universities have and how many different kinds of communication are needed for speaking to a wide variety of audiences. UNCG, for example, has:

Of course there are many more entities to UNCG – and we’re constantly evolving.

For that reason, the Message Subcommittee conducted an audit of the university’s communication pieces with the objective of taking a comprehensive look at what we are communicating to our various audiences and how we share this communication. So exactly what were we looking for? All units from across campus were encouraged to submit pieces that collectively represent a typical method of communication. These could include anything from web pages to posters, brochures and advertisements.

To manage the quantity of potential submissions, submission criteria included high-frequency recurring pieces, pieces sent within the last two years and pieces that comprised a “top five” list for the particular unit.

The marketing and communication pieces we received targeted both internal (current students, faculty and staff) and external audiences (community leaders, alumni, donors, legislature, etc).

The audit was eye-opening. Taking inventory of the different kinds of messages we’re sharing with audiences is one of the crucial first steps in ultimately determining a unified look and feel across the board. The message audit also visually captured types of photography used to support messaging and identified components such as logos, web site addresses and use of school colors.

When the subcommittee met to review all of the submitted items, our focus centered on evaluating consistency versus judging the quality with regards to usage of identity, messaging and photography.

The subcommittee also provided recommendations for creating an environment for successful adoption of future integrated marketing and strategic communication guidelines. These recommendations came from our reasoning for why we believed there was inconsistency among, and even within, various units. For example, inadequate resources and budget dollars were often cited as potential reasons for inconsistency.

Ultimately, the purpose of the audit is to strengthen our communication so that we can enhance our reputation and build affinity for UNCG, both of which will have far-reaching benefits for the university from student and faculty recruitment to fundraising and beyond. Stay tuned to see what we discover and to learn more about the audit results.

By Lise Keller

Lise Keller is director of admissions