What do people think of first when they hear your organization's name?
What position does your institution hold in the minds of your target consumer within your competitive marketplace? Are you perceived as the most friendly; having the best program quality; the most knowledgeable faculty; the best facilities; the greenest campus; the best student support services; the most opportunities for experiential learning; or just the most economical? Whatever the perception, your organization needs to take control of the communications and to influence the development of consumer mind sets with respect to your brand.
An established reputation based on consistent performance relative to reinforced messaging will assist in creating a brand for your organization. A strong marketing department that sets strict rules on use of logos, related visuals, and messaging in all organizational communications, externally and internally, will build consistent perceptions and start to establish a market position.
Defining your desired position and then consistently developing your brand will provide clarity for consumers and aid their decision-making relative to your organization, as well as contribute to effective decision-making and communications within the organization.
It is imperative that you decide on a brand that is potentially going to be accepted by your target consumers. One of the best examples from marketing history of selecting a position to allow for consumer acceptance is the Avis verses Hertz car rental wars of the 1960's. Hertz was the undisputed leader in the car rental marketplace in the 1960's. Rather than create a brand that would contradict the general marketplace's knowledge of the competitive positioning of Avis and Hertz, Avis adopted the 'We Try Harder' slogan. This established them as the number two company, which the public believed to be true. That now being established, the public perception was that Avis would try harder to please their customers in an attempt to compete with Hertz. The campaign was so effective, that Avis went from losing $3.2M to turning a profit of $1.2M for the first time in over 13 years.
If your organization's marketing department doesn't take firm control over your brand, then someone else will, typically landing your market position and public perception in an area that is either ambiguous or simply not helpful to building a strong organizational reputation.