Why Quality Brand Experience Is Better Than A Unique Brand

June 1, 2016

Why Quality Brand Experience Is Better Than A Unique Brand

tag higher education
Why Quality Brand Experience Is Better Than A Unique Brand

Let’s be honest for a few minutes. We’re not all that different.

Up&Up isn’t that much different than our competition. We have similar people who can do similar things within similar processes. Does “Discovery -> Ideation -> Create -> Measure -> Iterate” sound familiar? In an effort to make our processes look unique, we put them in pretty illustrations like this, this, or this. Because our processes and often time our outputs are all really similar, we stopped using them as selling points a long time ago.

If you work in higher ed, maybe this is starting to sound familiar. Your school just isn’t that different from your cross app competitors. Kids enroll in a school. They go to classes taught by faculty. They can join over 300 groups or organizations. They can attend sporting events, eat in newly renovated (or not) dining halls, stay in dorms or off-campus apartments. Eventually, they walk across the stage and receive a diploma (a couple weeks later in the mail).

So why are we all racing to make the product look so unique instead of focusing on delivering experiences that would actually make a real difference? Why are trying to market how great our “Engaged Learning” environment is? Kids don’t give a shit about “Engaged Learning.” Kids today care about finding something they’ll love to do that will make a difference in the world. And in large part, they have no idea what that is. So…

What if instead of spending months and tens of thousand of dollars on a tagline, you used that time and money to build an experience that helped kids find the perfect major and discover what they can do with it in the real world?

What if we used higher education marketing budget to increase pay and training for tour guides to attract the best and brightest kids on campus? They’re often the first human interaction a prospective student will have with your school. Imagine if those students had gone through Ritz-Carlton’s customer service training.

What if we embraced the students as ambassadors and let them talk to prospective students via messenger apps (without looking over their shoulder)?

What if the colleges and schools held Q&A’s with parents and faculty via Facebook Live or Periscope? Or what if your ambassadors led campus tours via Periscope?

What if we stopped treating home pages like they’re a newsroom for today’s research breakthrough. That’s what the New England Journal of Medicine is for. Your site is there to market a destination. Anywhere someone is going to go for four years is a destination.

They want to know where they’ll eat, sleep, play, and learn, and the people that they’ll share these experiences with.

The common thread with all of these has zero to do with marketing. Instead, it’s all about the human experience. That’s why a quality brand experience beats a unique brand every time.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you agree? Which do you think is more important: brand experience or a unique brand? How are you living that out in your higher ed marketing?