26: Building a New Brand Architecture at Indiana University w/ Dr. Rob Zinkan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Rob Zinkan, Associate Vice President for Marketing at Indiana University discusses the pros and cons of a branded house vs. a house of brands approach to brand architecture in higher education, and why we should consider thinking of colleges and universities more like cities than corporations.

First and foremost, that brand strategyis simply difficult in higher education and brand architecture is especiallycomplex because colleges and universities are inherently complex, you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to enromant growth,university, Imericolson, AVP of marketing, an helics education and werehere today with Dctor Rob Zincon Associate Vice President for marketingat Indiana University Rod. Welcome to the show, thanks Eric Great to be withyou and thanks for all the great content that you share vea this podcast.Thank you for being a listener. I'm really excited about our conversationtoday about a new way to think about...

...brand architecture and higher education.Before we dig into that rob, can you get the listeners a little bit betterunderstanding of both Indiana University and your role there. GreatIndiana University is among the nation's top public universities and weare home to a number of world class academic schools, including businessand music, also, the world's first school of Philanthropy, the nationsfirst school of inframatics and the largest medical school. We enroll morethan a hundred and ten thousand students across sethern campuses,including almost fifty thousand at our Bigton campus in Bloomington, and weare planning for our bicentennial coming up in two thousand and twenty. Iserve in a system mide role, as you mentioned, as Associated Vice Presidentfor marketing and U'fortunate to Work Withan outstanding team to help theuniversity strategic priorities, the three main parts of my portfolio arfirst brand strategy. We have developed and deployed the university's brandstrategy, and now our team is constantly working to measure andoptimize. Second serving is the...

...marketing lead or liason to ourflagship, campus leadership and marketing community, as we hadmarketing and communications professional spread throughout thecampus and then third leading our full service Internal Marketing Agency? Thatdoes a variety of work across our institution. Awesome wrap to start thisconversation about brand architecture and Hirad. Can you give us a littlebackground on a branded house versus a house of brands approach and why basicmarketing, AF fishes and see tends to side with that branded house model?Definitely a Brandet House leverages a single master brand or parent brandacross an entire organization in the organizations multiple offerings commonexamples would be apple, fedx, BMW, so the Apple Watch, for example, leveragesthe equity of the apple brand with the house of brands. In contrast, youessentially have stand alone brands. The classic example here is proctor andgamble, and it's many independent...

...brands, everything from Jillette's old,spice and Pampers to tide, crest and Mr Clean. The individual brands do theheavy lifting there. You may not even realize the association with PNG,because it's not visible Pang is not playing a lead role to lend equity tothose independent brands and you're exactly right Eric for higher education.In nearly all cases, a branded house is preferred. It is much more efficient tobuild and maintain a single master brand than a house of separate brandsand efficiency is such a critical factor in a sector that is on average,not investing massive amounts of dollars into marketing compared toother sectors. Large Public Universities, for instance, may noteven spend one percent of their annual operating budget on marketing. ABrandon House approach provides the opportunity to generate needed synergyand clarity, clarity for the...

...organization and clarity for youraudiences. However, I should say that a brandat house is much easier said thandone. It's really hard to achieve a branded house in higher education,where you often have a culture of discentralization and decentralizedstructures, thanks to responsibility, sentered management, budgeting systemsand many other factors. So at conferences, when I ask Hiridcolleagues your institution, how many of you aspire to be a branded housenearly every hand goes up yeah, but then, when I ask how many of yourinstitutions actually function as a branded house? Of course, only ahandful of hands go up. Ilon Love, it rob you've written about how focus anddifferentiation are some of the keys. Too Strong Higher Ed branding does thatimply that there are some strong benefits of that house of brands, modeland Hirad in order to specifically highlight those differentiations, not necessarily, I wouldn't say at that,it implies that house of Brands d would...

...be the way to go necessarily. I thinkit applies first and foremost that brand strategy is simply difficult inhigher education and brand architecture is especially complex because collegesand universities are inherently complex, and I think it explains whyuniversities can fine themselves in a house of brands predicament in terms offocus. Successful brands, especially corporate examples, are focused. HigherEducation missions, though, are not focused, theyre, multipronged and wide,ranging ar academic affairs executive. Vice President often says that greatuniversities are great because they do a great many things and I couldn'tagree more, that's absolutely the case, but it's also what makes it really hardto be focused and these complexities take place. No matter where you are notjust large publics, you could be in a smaller school or you could be themarketing director at the academic unit...

...level and you're still dealing withdepartment, centers institutes and other entities within your school. I dothink it's helpful to look back at the origin of these terms, brandat houseand House of brands and the siminal work that David Ocker and EricYilkenstaler did back in two thousand. They developed the brand relationshipspectrum with a branded house at one end of the spectrum and a house ofbrands at the other end, and we need to keep in mind that it's supposed to be aspectrum. It's not the either or proposition that we often make of itthat you're either a you're either a branded house or you're a house ofbrands and by the way the authors even acknowledge that a perfect brandedhouse was extremely difficult. So within that spectrum there are avariety of ways to describe the relationship between a company'smultiple offerings and what role, if any, the master brand plays. So inhigher education, a single college or university could actually land inmultiple spots on that spectrum, all at...

...the same time trying to justify thathouse of brands model for those listening, hoping that that you dobecause they come from that kind of institution. When I think aboutinstitutions where a school within the institution may have as strong brandrecognition has the institution ouself. I think, arguably, a few businessschools come close. I think of Wharton Calogu booth. Sloan. Are there otherexamples where a school has a stronger or differentiated enough brand tojustify that house of brand's model better? I certainly think there areexamples- and you went to where I think what comes to my first business schoolsand some of those just as you've said Eric have become strong name brands inthe Wharton School. That example, it's been around with that name since thelate eighteen, hundreds and obviously has built significant brand equity. Soyou can occasionally defend an individual outlier to that brandedhouse model. But it's challenging to defend the house of brands approach asan institutional strategy h if a...

...college or university operates as ahouse of brand, it's likely because they've organically slipped into thatmodel, with the lack of the central strategy that they've become a house ofbrands more by default, rather than by choice. So back to your question, Ithink the the overarching question is: Where does that equity reside and oftenresearch can help answer that question one example: our Art Museum. Wereceived a naming gift in two thousand and sixteen and by the way we have awonderful museum. The building was designed by impay. The museum has anamazing collection with works ranging from Pacaso to polick. So, let's saywith that part museum that this naming gift came from you Eric and yourgenerosity, and let's say that we want to build the art museum's reputationnationally and internationally. So we can leverage the equity that has beenbuilt up over the universities nearly two hundred year, history as theIndiana University Ulsen Museum of art,...

...or we can go at it as a standalonebrand as the Olsen Museum of art, and understand that building a brandidentity for the Olson Museum as great as that sounds that doing so is goingto be it's going to take considerable financial resources and time and wouldsimply not be the efficient way to go right. Right, love. It love that we'veaddressed kind of that that spectrum broadly now, let's dig into this kindof alternative way that you suggest we might think to look at higher at brandarchitecture more like a city than a corporation. So I use the term or the phrase: Amulti, dimensional branded municipality and that's a mouthful and and doesn'tquite roll off the tongue like brandon house does. But for more background. Igo back to the brand relationship spectrum by Akam, Aker and Yokem Stalar,and another important consideration in that is that it was created for thecorporate sector almost all of their...

...examples. Within that spectrum areconsumer goods with a few service companies mixed inand, now there's alot that we can and should learn from the corporate sector as it relates tobrand strategy. But I think we meed our own way to define brand architecture inHigher Ed, so we've established that the traditional branded house is thepreferred way. But again it's really hard to achieve the traditional brandothouse fails to acknowledge this multidimensional nature of our collegesand universities, all of these parts and pieces of our institutions thatcontribute to the mission and make our institutions what they are. We havethese centers and institutes and partnerships that just they don'talways fit neatly under one roof as a branded house, we're simply not BMW andsometimes that calls for a certain level of flexibility and how a unitleverages the master brand. So, rather than looking to define brandarchitecture based on this spectrum...

...that was created for the corporatesector, I would propose thinking of the universities, as you said, as citiesand while they're not necessarily a plethra of great examples of BrandStrategi of cities. Cities are, in fact a more appropriate parallelmunicipalities. They serve the public just like our institutions. Do theseorganizations are multifunctional with everything, from parks and recreationto public safety to sanitation. So this different way of thinking about brandarchitecture, where, in my case where it came from, was my dissertationresearch, where I did a case study of a pure institution of Indiana University,and this peer did have what I would consider brand coherence across a large,complex multicampus institution and they did leverage their universitymasterbrand. However, I wouldn't necessarily characterize it. I wouldn'tcharacterize it their brand architecture as a branded house, that'sjust two too straightforward of a way...

...to look at it. So when it comes to brand architecture forhigher red, I don't think we can be confined to just a house Eric, so we'reexpanding to a city with thes mall. The city Metaphor, N, an approachis great,my mind's just racing right now, so so very grateful that you're you're,adding that to this larger branarchitecture conversation, you'vereally focused on this field. A lot in your highrigt tenure, anyrecommendations you have for a centralized marketing department oncampus, who is attempting to solve this problem and create bretder brandcoherence across their institution. Sure a couple of thoughts, and Imentioned market research earlier. You can never overstate the importance andmarket research to better andunderstand, your audiences and their perceptions.Another point is that in my dissertation research I found that thebrand coherence that I observed at the case study university was notnecessarily a byproduct of the centralized marketing department andwhat that Marketing Department did.

Rather, the brancoherente reflected theinstitution's DNA. A brand is based on who you really are and that's how theyreally operated academically and administratively. So for marketers. Weneed to be part of. We need to influence not just marketingdiscussions on our campus, but also larger institutional discussions andthen last. I think we need to focus less on brand compliance and itily. Werid our vocabularies of that term brand compliance and instead ship theconversation away from policing the brand, which often tends to focus onvisual compliance and shit, the conversation more toward how do webring the brand to life and that's a a deeper level of engagement, Tonyproudfoot colleague from the University of Arizona he wrohe a great piece forcase last year and put it very well that, instead of brand compliance, weshould talk about brand expression in order to change the brand mindset oncampus from fixed and compliant to...

...iterative and express it, and I think,he's right on the money there. So Good Robi, incredibly grateful for your timeand your mind today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with youif they have any followed questions about this yes feel free to reach outon twitter, my handle is rob Zenkin or feel free to reach out on Linkedin I'dlove to hear about how other institutions are navigating brandarchitecture at their universities. Let's build some cities folks wrapthanks against so much o're joining us to the thanks, Aric attracting today'snew post, traditional learners means adopting new enromant strategies.Keeliks educations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helex has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing endromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Helocks,...

Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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