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Blogger’s Digest for hump day

Lots of interesting bits and bytes to get you through hump day::

  1. Australian fashion brand Sportsgirl has stepped it up with their recent rebranding (which bears more than a passing resemblance to UK’s Topshop) which includes ‘more striking shopfronts’.
    Was then interested to see that rival Kookai took up the game by including a fan in their window display, magazine shoot style.
    What next? Pre-recorded fashion shows of the clothes on sale? Live animals?
  2. Confirming my earlier fears, churches are really taking a leaf out of business with recruitment targets. There’s a lot to learn from an industry where it’s all about ‘the faith’ in the brand, but the next thing you know they’ll be headhunting… Putting out classifieds for ‘believers wanted’… More here.
  3. The Australian newspaper’s Media section this week reported that ACP Magazines is having issues (so to speak). I can’t comment on their men’s offerings (Ralph and FHM amongst them) but there were accusations that Cleo and Cosmopolitan are repetitive and prey off each other’s market share. How long did it take them to realise that?
    However my B&T feed tells me that Cleo may soon have a ‘handbag-sized’ version, which will be a good move. Would still love to see more differentiation, and moving out of category… What about a Cleo or Cosmo store stocking the products which have been advertised in the latest issue? Selling physical sales display space and not just promotion space on a page?
  4. Pointing out what we already knew::
    – Thanks to Alexander Downer for pointing out that politicians make policies to get votes (but apparently only in America and not Australia…of COURSE)
    More proclaimers of the death of the ad campaign, notably from a branding agency and a mobile network. (Although…sure, build relationships with ‘consumers’, but how many relationships can they have, honestly?)
    – Brandchannel says: not creating waste in the first place is better than recycling. They call it ‘precycling’. I call it efficiency, but we won’t split hairs. Either way, it’s good for your company.
  5. And finally, for comic relief – Weebl’s interpretation of the truth about advertising.

Oh how I hate jobhunting.


Higher brand standards for higher education
September 30, 2008, 4:46 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been following this debate on brandchannel with some interest, partly because I’m quite interested in the topic and partly because I’m a student (who happens to be doing a project on a similar matter).

The question? Whether branding is important to universities, and allows some to charge a premium for what is essentially a generic product. Essentially, are universities brands or just trademarked commodities?

I have to admit I’m a little confused by the assumption that subjects are the same wherever you study them – obviously the writer has never had a lecturer blather on about the all-new revelationary theory they just came up with. It’s like saying there are no schools of thought. Even within a field you’d think would be static – say, European history 1936 to 1950 – different education institutions have radically different interpretations and methods of teaching, having made their own decisions about academic staff.

That’s branding decision number one.

The biggest gap between universities is whether they take a research approach or a practical approach. Having attended both types, I can tell you that the experiences are completely different.

But let’s take a step back. As Adam Morgan would say, we’re limiting ourselves by looking at universities as being in a product category of delivering information. For students, university is an entire lifestyle for several years, offering greater access to resources (not just academic) and of course the opportunity to meet people. Business look to universities to provide them with new employees. Parents hope universities will make their children those employees.

I was talking to a rep of my university about this and yes, he believes that as universities increasingly compete globally the creation of their brand is vital. (If it wasn’t already.) Even if the subjects were the same, universities differentiate through teaching styles, research, staff, alumni, partnerships, fees, location, student services, and the type of students they attract…

A lot of people still make the mistake that advertising constitutes branding, and it just isn’t true. If an established university needs to resort to advertising to maintain its numbers, then it’s not delivering the right brand experience for its stakeholders.