Brand Aid. The four planning hacks you ned to know.

Brand Aid. The four planning hacks you need to know.

You’ve just received an email from the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

“The Senior Executive are interested in pursuing a different avenue for the brand and would like to see three or four options for consideration. They are meeting on Thursday afternoon. We would LOVE to see your thoughts by then.”


Time to dust off the 4 A’s: Audience; Awareness; Attack; Attitude.


A is for Audience.

Marketing is all about the audience.

Over time, most brands drift away from their core audience. Often because audience needs shift as times change. More often, brands change in an effort to increase consideration outside their usual catchment. It’s the “But What About Those People?” Trap.

The simple answer? If “those people” were interested in you, they’d be talking to you already. The golden rule of all marketing applies, “Don’t talk to people who don’t want what you’re offering.”

Try this hack. Ask yourself, “What makes us the only…?” Fill out this simple sentence.

(UNI) is the only (WHAT) in (WHERE) that offers (WHAT) to (WHO) in a time of (INDUSTRY TREND/SOCIAL IMPACT.


A is for Awareness.

A quick hack to get brand recognition up.

This hack works to a simple truth. In a commercial world, the most important thing is to be remembered at point of decision. Be warned. This hack is effective. It is not sustainable.

While long term awareness comes from reach, frequency and consistency over time – a short term boost in brand recognition can work.

Prospective students, like any consumer, err on the side of easy, familiar choices. Many brand managers become so familiar with the brand name, they concentrate only on the benefits.) Forget, for a moment, what you want to be known for and concentrate on simply being known. Run a campaign that sinks your name into their subconscious. Develop one simple, distinctive message and ensure it is adequately supported in relevant media and across all university assets. Refresh everything you have. Put your name on their brain.


A is for Attack.

Brands need to stand for something. The best way to stand for something is to stand against “the way things are done”. Kill the elephant in the room.

Start with this simple statement. “This industry is heading down the sewer because _____”

Perhaps, “This industry is heading down the sewer because every university assumes they have to act like a Group of Eight university and, in doing so, ignore people who don’t care about university reputations.”

Then frame a response only your institution can answer. (E.g. “All universities have high standards. Ours is the only one with a view.”)

This gives prospects a reason to defend their choice to their friends who have decided to go to a larger, more well-known institution.


A is for Attitude.

Your brand must be an emotional differentiator.

Try completing this sentence.

Beyond “being famous for the quality of our education and the achievements of our alumni” the goal (or purpose) of this institution is to _______________.

To do this, we must be true to these five values: ___________; ___________; ___________; _________; ___________.

If we are to be true to these values, we must be seen as ______________ and _____________. To do this we must promise _____________.


Audience. Awareness. Attack. Attitude.


It’s a straight A’s start to your first