Branding takes creativity. If you don’t have great creative, it won’t land.
But even the most creative branding campaign is nearly worthless if it doesn’t move the needle that moves your organization’s engine. Too often, marketing experts struggle to tie their branding efforts to measurable success.
“Too often in my career I have witnessed the claim that our marketing efforts are succeeding,” Brandon J. Johnson, vice president for enrollment management & career placement at Tennessee Technological University, said, “yet the enrollment numbers don't support that story.”
Let’s say you work in a university’s marketing office and you just launched a new branding campaign. The executive staff wants to see proof that the university’s new marketing campaign is “working.” What do you show them?
You could show them rising awareness and perception, which are great ways to measure a brand’s value. You could show them anecdotal evidence of students wearing brand t-shirts, or even high turnout to a brand kickoff event.
But if you aren’t showing the cold, hard numbers, don’t expect to get very far. How often have you seen it happen? An organization goes on a big branding tear, doesn’t see results and then immediately tosses it out the window.
Your brand’s success is directly tied to your institution’s revenue-driving goals. In our university example above, that generally means enrollment – how many new students are sitting in seats and staying there?
Brands play a big role in shaping any organization, so showing a return doesn’t always happen right away. Brands are investments that take some time to show their highest returns. This is why we encourage you to combine a long-term brand strategy with easy, quick wins that build marketing momentum.
Here are a few tactics that will complement your brand strategy and help you build the case that the marketing is indeed working.
Support enrollment (or sales) – Enrollment drives most university’s revenue, which makes them your marketing office’s No. 1 client. Build strong bonds with enrollment and give them every resource they need to be successful.
Build out your journey – What happens after your target inquires? Too often, the answer is “I dunno.” Work closely with IT, enrollment and any other key partners to make sure your lead capture process is easier than your competitor’s process.
Assess your marketing – Maybe your marketing spend is in the wrong place, or maybe your creative is just lame and boring. It’s OK, it happens all the time. That doesn’t mean you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Maybe your brand simply needs to be tweaked and evolved into something that hits its target directly.
These tactics will do two things: First, they will turbocharge the numbers executives care about – leads, conversions and revenue – and, secondly, they will help you build a brand ally in the enrollment office.
Remember, branding matters. We know this. But just because it matters doesn’t mean people will care. That’s your job. To do it, you’re going to need to show real results.
D. White & Company is a marketing & management consulting firm with more than a decade’s worth of experience building brands that deliver measurable results. Have a problem you want us to help you solve? Let’s talk about it.