There are few things harder to sell than education. I’ve done some brand planning for universities and the academicians who approve the work are often not equipped for the job. The budgets are also low so good agencies are rarely around and in many cases students, professors and recent grads in-house are at the controls. Brand strategy is non-existent and everyone promises the same thing: a good life after graduation. The end benefit. The how to that end benefit is also pretty much the same: great faculty, personal teaching environment, great courses, flah, flah, flah.
It’s ironic that college and university advertising is so poor because often the experience is one of life’s most powerful. That 4 years has the ability to create a loyalty few jobs can. Who sleeps in their Met Life tee-shirt 20 years after working there? Two husbands later.
As we slide out of the difficult economy with new elections upon us and technology flattening the world, the moment is nigh for some serious focus on education. There are lots of trivial bits flying across the web these days, but only a small percentage are focusing on education. We are already using web tutorials to help us clean bathroom pipes and shower grout, why not improve our SAT scores. Perhaps things are changing. This morning I noted on Skype an organic chemistry teacher available for $40 an hour (first hour free) and high school math assistance at $.25 a minute. (Do the math.)
Web-enabled academia is not the haps yet – not like geolocating your friends at Mary Carrol’s – but it’s coming. And along with that, in time, will come improvements in the branding of higher education institutions. These times are exciting. Stay tuned. Peace!