An establishment may choose to rebrand for many reasons, and when done effectively, the results can be amazing. However, there are times when what may seem like a smart rebranding strategy is actually going to become a brand disaster. Not nailing the brief for a rebrand can massively impact the relationship with the key audience. In this blog post, we’ve compiled some famous case study examples of rebrands that haven’t quite hit the mark in the education industry.
In the case of Loughborough University, a petition was started following a ‘modern’ rebrand of the institution’s name and logo, appealing to the Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, Professor Robert Allison, to change back to the old branding after a disastrous logo change.
Current students and alumni alike were angered by the change, stating that it was a lazy attempt at a rebrand and completely took away from the values Loughborough University are known to employ.
The logo was changed from a well-known, traditional crest – something most universities choose to incorporate in their branding – to a purple hexagon with an ‘LU’ shape cut out. This caused a lot of controversy, as the university has never been acronymed as ‘LU’ and in fact when put into a Google search, brings up Latvia University.
The rebranding of Loughborough University was reconsidered following the aforementioned petition reaching over 12,000 signatures.
Harper Adams University
Another university rebrand backfire happened in 2017 and came from Harper Adams University, where again a petition was set up to get the rebrand reversed. Students and alumni felt that the new logo was “cheap, tacky and does not represent our university properly.”
The University made claims that the logo was designed with both the heritage of Harper Adams and the progressive outlook in mind. The core audience however fundamentally disagreed.
Rebranding can be done when an institution is in need of a refresh. It’s understandable that after many years sporting the same look, a new approach can be welcomed when carried out effectively. Renewing and reinventing are great ways to prove that you are progressing and not just letting your brand remain stagnant.
The common aim of these University rebrands was to produce a logo that would work well digitally and be adaptable across a host of platforms. It could be argued that the fast pace of digital progression pressured the Universities to keep up, therefore they got lost in the race to become digitally apt and produced lacklustre work that left the traditions of the University behind.
The importance of getting a rebrand right
With rebranding comes substantial risk. The worst case scenario is alienating your key audience and causing their loyalty to falter. You also run the risk of losing your established identity. Consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 23% on average. Presenting your brand consistently over time enables your audience to internalise your brand values.
77% of marketers say that branding is critical to future growth. If people are aware of who you are, what you have to offer that other universities don’t and the values and identity that comes with being a student at your establishment, you’re likely to be more in demand. Your branding should reflect the strong attributes of your institution and make people want to be part of your organisation.
Values are so important, not just within the education sector but across a broader range of industries. 64% of consumers say that shared values are the main reason that they have a trusted relationship with a brand. The message and image that you convey is so important in gaining the attention of prospective students and re-energising your current student base. Your brand identity should be characterised through your logo and ensure that it is a fitting representation.
As branding is crucial to the way an audience engages with your establishment, it is so important to get it right first time. A backlash can be detrimental and cause a loss in applications from prospective students. Be sure not to rush a refresh and ensure that the approach you take is strategic and well planned.
At Alphagraphics, we specialise in helping higher education institutions reinvent their branding and deliver end-to-end, data-driven, automated marketing campaigns to improve student recruitment. To find out more, visit: http://education.agnortheast.com/about-us/