A ritual of the new academic year is a full day of faculty meetings the Friday before classes begin on Monday. Today was that day. First up was a department meeting. An item of discussion was a continuation from our last meeting in the spring on a possible branding initiative for our department (Management and Marketing). We have a brand identity in name only. No logo, symbol, slogan, or other brand marks. We will be moving forward with a branding initiative, but the scope of the project is going to surprise some faculty.
One of the branding needs our department has is to create a visible identity (i.e., a logo or symbol). What will be surprising to some faculty is that developing a brand mark is one of the last tasks that need to be done. A brand is not one-dimensional; it simultaneously serves four purposes:
A recent post by Seth Godin asked "What if you slogan is true?" Godin's contention was that slogans do not make a brand great but rather the story of the brand. A slogan is a "symptom" of that story. Godin concludes by saying "start with a slogan. But don't bother wasting any time on it if you're merely going for catchy. Aim for true instead."
- A brand is an identity (we've got that one figured out)
- A brand is an image - Perceptions people hold about you
- A brand is an experience - Interaction with your product evokes thoughts and emotions
- A brand is a relationship - Strive for ongoing, repeated interactions rather than transactions
My department will be working on crafting its brand story this year. We will get around to developing a logo. But, we have much work ahead to define our brand's mission, values, content, and messaging. We need a logo... and a lot more.