The CASE District III conference was held from February 26-28, 2023, and it was a truly inspiring event! Professionals from the education sector came together to learn from industry experts, share best practices, and network with their peers. The theme of this year’s conference was “Advancing Education in a Changing World,” and attendees were treated to a range of keynote speakers and breakout sessions that provided valuable insights and strategies.
Some of the keynote speakers at the conference included Monica Pearson who is the first woman and first minority to anchor the daily evening news in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a candid round table with several university Presidents. They spoke about the future of education and how we can keep up with a rapidly changing world as well as focusing on what it means to be a leader in your organization. The breakout sessions covered a range of topics, from marketing ideas for advancement professionals to managing difficult donor relationships.
The conference’s vendor turnout was undoubtedly a highlight of the event, especially with Up&Up leading the pack. Attendees were given the opportunity to explore cutting-edge products and services that could enhance their professional work. This conference was particularly meaningful for me, as I had the privilege of co-presenting with Kyle Benjamin, an esteemed client of Up&Up from Carson-Newman University. In 2022, Up&Up collaborated with Carson-Newman to create a brand platform that resonates with their target audience. We then breathed life into the platform by developing critical admissions materials that inspire and engage prospective students.
How Proper Branding Can Make All The Difference
Let’s talk a little bit about Carson-Newman University. It’s a really neat institution with a long and rich history of providing quality education and spiritual guidance to its students. But like a lot of universities, Carson-Newman has faced some challenges in recent years.
For example, the university was struggling with an outdated five-year-old campaign, COVID fatigue, and a lack of clarity on why students choose to attend Carson-Newman. It can be tough to figure out how to differentiate yourself and stand out in a crowded higher education landscape, especially when everyone seems to be doing and saying the same thing.
But here’s the thing: it’s more important than ever for universities to focus on their brand and commit to their uniqueness. This takes a lot of courage, but it’s necessary to attract students who really align with your mission and values. You can’t own everything, but by committing to your own identity and being true to who you are, you can create a strong brand identity that resonates with students and sets you apart from the crowd.
We had an incredible time walking our audience through the steps of our brand journey as well as some of the lessons we learned along the way. Some of our key takeaways included:
- Even when the right people are in the room, there can still be some challenges later. That’s why it’s important to take your time and work through the process carefully.
- The right partner can make all the difference in building a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience. Trust your team and work with partners who understand your values and mission.
- By being true to yourself and committing to your uniqueness, you can create a brand identity that students will really connect with and that will help you stand out in a crowded market. Remember to stay true to your values and mission and to work with partners who share your vision for success.
Advancement Teams are Craving Brand
An awareness I got from the conference was realizing just how much advancement teams need partners in brand. It’s tough to navigate the challenges of brand differentiation and identity on your own, and having a partner to help guide you through the process can make all the difference.
If you’re facing similar challenges and could use some guidance in navigating the complex world of branding, I would love to connect with you and help you find your way forward. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and by working together, we can create strong and meaningful brands that resonate with our target audiences.