I’ve got these good friends of mine who live in Kentucky. It has been a pretty traumatic summer waiting for college season to arrive. You see, they just sent their only child off to his first year of University. They are so very proud of him. He didn’t have any scholarships, well-placed contacts, or remarkable grades – he achieved his first real goal in life thanks in some part to branding.
His folks are colleagues of mine in the branding world. When the family gathered around the supper table, and prepared themselves to go through the groups of university brochures and browse the impressive websites, it wasn’t lost on them that they would also have to pitch their son to the universities. He would have to be branded. It would be an enlightening experience for him, and an assurance to them (the parents) that he put his best effort into getting accepted into his school of choice.
His resume wasn’t your typical binder containing exactly what would be requested but a more visual and intuitive presentation. His brand was polished, and it showed. Here are some of their branding highlights:
• His brand values were defined much like any great brand.They explained his commitment to these values and how they compliment the school and their value systems.
• His brand personality was visually presented using a “vision board.” This board contained words, pictures, colors, anything that portrayed his ‘personality’. His colors were used consistently through the presentation.
• His differentiator was his passion for the school. He chose them. His life goals matched their scholastic mandate.
• His visual image (or logo if you will) was designed to strike an emotion with the reader, who would no doubt judge their son on first impressions, not unlike the business world. Photos were designed to display his pleasant disposition and vigor of youth. He was a classic example of “their ideal student.”
• To further cement a favorable impression his personal interests and social skills were detailed to help establish a good profile.
• Aligning all his best attributes, their son refined his brand and enjoyed a boost in confidence. He realized a positive benefit with the genuine opportunities in defining his brand, aligning all his best attributes.
• He gathered favorable testimonials to his good character and included them to attest to his brand.
These were the main ingredients in their recipe to brand their offspring. Essentially branding your college student is another form of personal branding. The visual topper to this was a large branding board that visually showed everything about “his brand.” One glance at this board and you see his brand instantly. Since a picture is more powerful than the written word, this huge effort made it’s desired impression … he was accepted into his first school of choice. His confidence in himself helped him land on the student paper the first day on campus with a photo assignment. His passion you see is photo journalism.
His brand succeeded and gave him a powerful advantage. It’s his job now to make it better every day to help in his quest for glory.