Brand Consistency, Tune Ups & Tools

Branding is one of those topics that I talk about a lot. I’ve spent most of my career as a brand manager, and it’s where my interest lies in the field of marketing. I’ve managed major higher ed brands, developed product brands from the ground up, and developed strategies to make sure that brands are nurtured and sustained.

I care about this work because branding and brand management matter in a modern marketing climate and can make a difference for institutions of all sizes. The strategies are simple and straightforward, and when implemented well,  can offer a pretty great return. When organizations find themselves aligned behind a brand the marketing work becomes easier.

Here at Rowland, we tend to work with clients at varying phases of marketing maturity. It’s not uncommon that clients will identify tactile objectives as their primary need. We often hear, “I need a _________” (insert: website, logo, ad, video…etc.). More often than not, what the client needs is a well-defined and sustainable brand strategy. Sure, assets are an important part of this work, but a brand is more than a logo, a tagline, or a website. A brand is also about personal experiences and interactions. A brand is what people see, feel, hear, and think about an organization or company. What’s more important than that?

Consistency is Key

When an organization presents itself consistently over time, it’s more likely to create an emotional connection with its audiences. Emotional connections make interactions more possible, leads more easily collected, and conversions more likely. Fragmented visual identities and inconsistent messaging create confusion for audiences and can lead to a perception that your institution is also fragmented and disorganized. Tying up your brand’s loose ends is simply one of the best investments you can make in your marketing. Positive brand experiences lead to brand loyalty and well…that’s a topic for another day.

When unit stakeholders have a deep sense of what they stand for, brands organically develop roots. I had the opportunity to work with a client recently who had this nailed down. Their challenge was finding a way to communicate their brand vision through something other than just words on a website. They needed storylines. They needed to show the magnitude of their impact, the relevancy of their market match, and the authenticity of the people behind their work. Teasing out storylines is important; turning those storylines into tools is critical.

Quotation marks
Maintaining brand consistency is a major part of successful higher education marketing. It's also hard to achieve without total buy-in, and a strategy to maintain the brand. Creating tools that can be used by various stakeholders is one way to keep things in check."

Jessica Lentz Director of Strategy


Some of the tools we developed for this client included:

  • Testimonials (words + visuals)
  • Brand voice (curated words + defined tone)
  • Messaging hierarchy (words + structure)
  • Illustrations (visual + technical messaging)

Initially, these tools are being used on their website, but they are strategies that can be woven into other channels to bring consistency across mediums.

Keep Your Toolbox Full

Having tools at your disposal is the primary way to keep your brand in check. Every message and every touchpoint you put out in the world is an opportunity for you to say all the right things. Teaching your employees to contribute to the overall impression of your organization matters as well. Empowering them to be stewards of your brand is critical to making sure you are represented from the inside out. The added value is that a brand is more sustainable and more impactful when your team feels like they are part of something big.

Think about this—you can shape how others think about, talk about, and define their experience with your unit. That’s powerful. Rowland can help you get there, and we promise a lot of fun along the way.