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4 Ways to Use Summer Break to Strengthen Your Branding

Gain tips on how to use summer break to test and strengthen your university's brand.

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Summer break means catching some rays and floating on an inflatable raft, right? Well, sure, if you're a student. If you are in higher ed marketing, summer break tends be all about playing catch-up. During the school year, things that seem less urgent—like brand management—get pushed to the back burner. Take advantage of the summer calm to evaluate and strengthen your branding!

1. Test Your Brand

The first step is to determine what is working and what's not. A/B testing is a great way to see what tweaks might improve enrollment, retention, and giving. You can even A/B test your Formstack forms! Use it to determine which works better: a short contact form or a long one. Test an alumni survey with a chance to win a large prize or a guaranteed small prize. Try your options one at a time and evaluate how your conversions compare.

Additionally, build a focus group to gauge their opinions of your brand. What do individuals think of your brand? Does it command trust? Are your communications delivering the intended message? Your branding could be impeccably consistent, but overall ineffective.

2. Tell One Story

It's tempting for departments to go their own way in branding. After all, each department has a unique personality and audience. But consistency in your brand's story must be paramount so your prospective students know what to expect from you. Instead of letting each department go wild with their own content, have them filter their department through one cohesive story.

Above all, a brand creates a promise. It is a culmination of every touch point that a student, parent, or alumnus has with your university. When the story is consistent across the entire school, the brand—and its promise—becomes trustworthy. Communicating this vision to departments will help them understand the reason behind your branding guidelines.

3. Leverage Self-Service Tools

It doesn't make sense to create beautiful email campaigns that link to a random, unbranded web survey! Choose online tools that allow you to control the branding. With an online form builder like Formstack, you can create custom templates that are usable by all account holders. That means any form with that template will be consistent in theme.

One study says that 72% of customers prefer using a company's website to answer their questions. Be sure that your website allows students and parents to find their answers easily—and on their own. Understand your audience's needs and provideself-service tools to meet them.

4. Check Your Guidelines

Branding guidelines are useless if they are disregarded! Take some time to do spot-checks of various departments. If your marketing department doesn't have a brand manager, designate one. Redirect the folks who have gone off the rails to comply with your guidelines. Always remember to explain the why—the benefits of a common brand. (And if you don't have established guidelines, now is the time to craft them!)


If you want to learn more about how online forms can strengthen your digital brand, check out Formstack’s simple online form builder. Online forms can help you streamline your data collection and interact with students and alumni. Formstack offers all of the above features and even more functionality to help you engage with your digital audience and capture more responses.

Contact sales@formstack.com (317-942-0883) to learn more about Formstack’s online form creation tool.

Sources:

Formstack.com http://blog.formstack.com/2013/ab-test-forms/

Oracle.com http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/web-self-service-1897186.pdf

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