What's the dirtiest word in the world of higher education?

Phil Lindsay By Phil Lindsay

For a long time the word ‘branding’ and its implications was perceived to be unnecessary and almost objectionable to the academic community. Institutions believed they didn’t need any external assistance in marketing themselves and as such relied on long-established reputations as their only marketing tool. 

This has all changed...

A change is afoot 

The higher education industry has become quickly aware in its knowledge and appreciation of branding – and the advantages it brings. Moving from believing that branding was unnecessary, higher education organisations now generally acknowledge the importance of developing a brand strategy.

Colleges and universities are now enthusiastically showcasing their strengths and distinguishing offerings to prospective students, parents and donors. Their leaders are focussing on branding and are more inclined to understand the advantages of brand building strategies.

With audiences able to consume information through more channels than ever before, higher education institutions are having to shout louder to compete – and so are using their brands to create distinction. Brands are being used to increase student recruitment and attain growth.

This is excellent and promising news for the education sector.

Our top 6 tips

As marketers and designers specialising in the education sector, we're constantly asking what attracts people to certain institutions and why. Here, Creative Director, Ben Leeves, leaves you with six takeaways to bear in mind when creating and maintaining your education brand; gathered from 12 years’ experience in the education marketing sector:

1. Bravery

To stand out from the crowd, being prepared to be bold will pay dividends. As they say, fortune favours the brave.

2. Consistency

Uniformity in communicating your values and mission builds and protects a strong brand identity. It also projects that you are aware of exactly what you say and how you say it.

3. Truthfulness

Don’t be afraid to be true to yourself – warts and all: your audience will love you for it. Buying education is a decision based on trust, embracing transparency in your communications will engender that trust.

4. Flexibility

Be prepared to accommodate movement in your brand, if the master brand can’t flex appropriately across departments, it will never be fully absorbed.

5. Be different

Find your point of difference. Strive to offer something unique and specialist rather than playing on the same field as your competition.

6. Clarity

Don’t try to be all things to all people. The clearer your focus on defining what you stand for, the stronger the exclusivity and authenticity of your brand. 

It's good to talk 

We always have a few opinions and would love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch


Phil Lindsay

Phil Lindsay

Co-founder & Managing Partner

Phil is responsible for the overall operational and financial efficiency of Consider. Originally our Technical Director, Phil now looks after our amazing team, keeps a keen eye on our finances, and is helping develop the structure and tools we need to grow. You can read Phil's latest thinking on our blog.