By combining strategy, creativity and dependability, we cut through the complexity to deliver engaging marketing communications.
Welcome to Lesniak Swann. Making the complex, easy.
We’ve been rebranding colleges, other institutions and businesses since 2002. Given the fluid nature of the FE sector currently, such as area reviews, we realise more and more colleges will be merging over the medium to long term. We’ve seen some excellent executions of college re-brands and mergers, and some poor ones. Hopefully, the points we raise below will help an FE Marketer and their internal team about to embark on a rebranding project for whatever reason.
Firstly, there’s confusion about what a ‘brand’ is.
We believe it is a feeling or an opinion that springs to mind when people who know you think your name enters their consciousness. However, it’s routed in four things: Your ability to provide your service and do your job to an industry ‘standard’ (Unfortunately that standard also differs between individuals), your selling points or competitive advantages, the values of your organisation and the behaviours you demonstrate. Unfortunately, for some internal stakeholders (often senior managers), a ‘brand’ could also just mean a logo.
When merging, it is often the values and the behaviours of the two or more organisations in question that need to be addressed – and to make sure the new identity has commonality across all of them. As the eminent management consultant and academic, Peter Drucker once said: “culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner”.
For us, a brand lives and breathes at the heart of a business. The first step should be to establish the values you wish to convey closely with customers or service users to understand what they have an affinity with. To help you to do this you or your internal team should ask these questions:
You shouldn’t stop there.
Essentially these questions will allow you to write a creative brief – which in turn should give you more questions to answer.
From the answer to the above questions, you can begin to develop the core propositions and key messages. At this stage, you should also be defining the messaging architecture, evaluating how the college offerings relate to each other and work together to promote the whole brand.
Again, it’s useful to ask questions to do this. These questions essentially determine what exactly it is that you would like to say.
If you, your internal team or an appointed agency follow the questions and the processes we have listed, the result should be a solid creative brief. A watertight brief should allow a team of creatives and strategists to deliver work to the best of their ability. Lesniak Swann believes effective marketing communication should be strategic, creative and well executed. The creative and the execution will always be rooted in the strategy; an effective strategy, like any plan, should be the product of extensive research.