Brand Basics

Brand Defined

Michigan State University has done a wonderful job at describing the nature of a brand. As they put it: 

"A brand is perception. More specifically, it's the sum total of people's perceptions and experiences - what they think, feel, and respond to when they interact with an organization. And branding is the intentional process of shaping that perception."

Grace Covenant Academy's brand is much more than it's logo. It's what people perceive when they think about the school. It's the way people feel when they interact with anything we do. It's our reputation, and our reputation will bring honor or dishonor to Christ and His church. 

How Brands Are Good

A strong reputation, or brand, is extremely important for any organization. But a great brand can be an invaluable asset that does the following:

  • Reflects the culture of an organization
  • Represents the identity of an organization
  • Creates an emotional bond with an audience
  • Encourages people to take action
  • Creates loyalty

Why Do Schools Need Brands?

Michigan State University has provided some great reasons why universities need good brands. Similarly, private schools need to invest in creating a respectable brand for many of the same reasons. All Christian schools will essentially do the same things: provide an education, incorporate Christian teachings, and provide a school community. We know that many schools do this differently and that difference makes a major difference to potential families. Illustrating GCA's uniqueness is critical to differentiating ourselves, and a good brand can influence: 

  • Student recruitment
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Alumni involvement
  • Fundraising
  • Word of mouth perception
  • Social media involvement
  • School reputation
  • Partnerships 

The Need for Brand Guidelines

Brands become great through consistency. Consistency in messaging, but also consistency between the message and the audiences' actual experience with an organization. This consistency helps cultivate trust.

Brand guidelines help create that consistency, from a visual stand point. The guidelines help outline what can and cannot be related to GCA. They allow us to work independently on our projects, but give us a unified feel. By submitting to the brand guidelines, we ensure that our school is being properly represented, and we allow our brand to grow. 

To learn more about our various brand guidelines, click here. 

Source

Ideas and content from this page are based largely on Michigan State University's brand guidelines and marketing communications site. We've got to give credit where credit is due!