Educational Branding- How Educational Institutions Can Become a Brand
| Prof (Dr) Nimit Gupta - 01 Apr 2022

Higher education institutes usually rely on past performance and reputation to attract students. But in recent years, the education market has grown highly competitive, with nearly 4000 colleges and universities in the US alone. Additionally, the globalization of education and the shift to online learning make educational branding more important than ever. 

And like any other domain, your efforts towards branding an institute should focus on one main goal–to stand out. Pictures of large campuses and smiling students are cliché and don’t advertise any unique benefits of your institute. To properly market a school or university, you must first understand what students are looking for and build your brand campaign around it. Consider the below tips to build an effective marketing campaign for your institute.

 Create a Brand That Speaks To Students

Educational branding is directed toward students. Understanding their trends and perspective helps build a better brand that they can relate to. If you want to rebuild an existing brand, study it thoroughly to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Student surveys and interviews are also excellent data sources. 

Connect Through a Visual Brand

Once you have the data in place, start with the basic yet most recognizable aspects of marketing. A brand logo, colors, fonts, and tagline should not only be visually appealing but also tell a story that connects with the audience. Brand visuals form the identity of your institute, something that the audience should recognize wherever they see it. Avoid generic visuals associated with education, such as books or pens. They don’t do justice to the uniqueness of the educational institute, and the logo will be lost in a sea of other similar-looking brands. 

Do Extensive Competitor Research

Since the number of colleges is high, the effectiveness of educational branding depends on how an institute positions itself. Therefore, one of the best places to look for inspiration is the brand campaigns of competitive institutes. Look for colleges in the same area as your institute and also universities from around the world that offer similar courses. What aspects are they highlighting? How do they attract potential students? What kind of theme do they use?  Analyzing competitors who already have a brand in place lets you skip a lot of trial and error. It also helps you differentiate yourself by avoiding anything too similar or repetitive to other educational branding campaigns. 

Highlight Your Strengths

An important aspect of educational branding is to maintain a balance between the market gap and the strengths of your institute. For example, your area may lack institutes with good laboratories. Advertising the laboratories of your institute, even when they are not well-equipped, might initially attract students. But it will eventually hamper the brand image if the target audience is dissatisfied. Rather, advertise those aspects that are the key strengths of the university. Whether the faculty or the placement cell, highlighting them as benefits for students helps you build a better brand. 

Build Your Online Presence

Most students will discover your institute online. Going online will also increase your target audience and even attract international students. After planning out the branding, start by building a website for the college. Update every page with useful information and images that help students know more about the institute. Social media campaigns for educational institutes also work well as Gen Z students are tech-lovers. Through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you will be able to target the right audience.

Stay Consistent

Most institutes work hard to create a brand but fail to stay consistent. Are you using the same logo everywhere? Is the banner image updated on all social media platforms? Maintaining brand consistency across all channels enables better brand recognition. It also builds familiarity with the target audience, and they can instantly recognize the institute anywhere. Moreover, branding is not a one-day program but a collection of consistent efforts over time. Maintain the branding efforts throughout the academic year and not only during admission seasons. This helps you create an identity that students have known and trusted for a long time.

Wrapping It Up

Educational branding is not just about the logo and tagline but the strategy behind it. Focusing on the unique aspects and telling a story through your brand will help you connect with potential students. With an initial time investment and consistent efforts, you can make your institute stand out through educational branding. 


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