I don’t know why colleges don’t get branding. At its most basic a brand starts with a tagline — a 2 to 5 lyrical “word grab” of company or product intent or mission. Tagline’s are often campaign ideas written by ad agencies, that are so well received they find their way under the logo. For years. Mostly misunderstood, taglines lock up with logos and lie like faded wallpaper in poorly lit hallways.
Hofstra University has a new tagline: Pride and Purpose. It’s not 3/4s bad. I’m pretty sure the word Pride refers to Hofstra’s mascot…a group of lions. Pride is a great motivating word in brand planning – one I chase all the time. And Purpose is what all great university educations are supposed to engender in students. The fact is though, when a good tagline does not support the advertising – and I mean every ad – someone is not doing their job. You can’t tell the world you are all about Pride and Purpose then make a non-supportive, generic claim. You just can’t do it. And if you do, the tagline and strategy are either wrong or the leadership is. Sorry to go all hard butt on Hofstra, but they just came off of 8 years of a campaign called “the edge” which was built around an art director design frame showing an arrow in all the print work. It’s incredible to me that any academic institution would not know how to create a claim and prove it. And Hofstra is not alone. The entire college and unversity body of work is abysmal. Peace!