Go Tell It on the Brand Platform

By The Creative & Marketing Group, April 12, 2021
A primer on the importance of brand and having a clear brand platform.

“Tell me about Ithaca College.”

Whatever your affinity with IC, chances are you’ve fielded this request on occasion. You may mention our location; the academic offerings in the five schools; our enrollment numbers and tuition rates; or even current topics of concern among the campus community. You may also include specifics about the work you do here.

All of which is great information. But do any of those straightforward responses get to the heart of what Ithaca College stands for, or what we all treasure about IC?

We know Ithaca College is an incredible place and we want others to know exactly why.

This is why “brand” is so important.

We promise it’s not a dirty word! A brand isn’t a contrived compilation of adjectives and attributes. It’s also not a marketing ploy to get people to like us. (If it were, it would never work.)

“Brand” can be difficult to define. One influential book on marketing, "The Dictionary of Brand," defines it as “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience or organization.”

That book’s author, Marty Neumeier, writes: “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product...a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”

We can influence those gut feelings with a clearly articulated brand position that allows us to convey who we are, what we believe in, and our goals and dreams as an institution and for our students. In other words: defining what makes us IC. That’s why we need:

A platform to tell our stories.

In industry jargon, a “brand platform” is a framework assembled from key components of an organization’s operation. The centerpiece of that platform is the brand promise, “A Place Called Progress.” “APCP” has been constructed from: our vision and mission statements, our institutional values, Ithaca Forever (a.k.a. our strategic plan), and our position in the higher ed market place.

What does the brand platform allow us to do? Well, it outlines our unique brand promise (what we offer to our students: progress and place) and outlines honest and engaging ways to tell our brand story (the ways we deliver on our promise). It also provides a guiding light for developing and adapting future marketing campaigns, or evolving the brand over time.

Another reason to have a brand platform: It ensures we spend our time, effort, and resources on work that has a real impact on our most important institutional goals, which are all aligned with our brand promise.

Stay tuned for more info on why IC is in the midst of its first major brand development. If you have questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Please email progress@ithaca.edu.