Thursday, October 21, 2010

Giving CreComm a hand with the organic rebrand

Like Madonna in Like a Virgin, mobile technology has made me - and the program in which I teach - feel shiny and new.

See what I did there? Virgin mobile? Aww, forget it.

It doesn't mean that I - or Creative Communications - is perfect or has no room for improvement, just that we're moving in the right direction. Or it is, anyway.

The evidence is that this semester I've been getting more and more potential students emailing and tweeting me for information about the program, asking for tours of the downtown campus and to sit in on some of our classes.

Of course, the answer to all of these questions is the same answer I give to the media when I get a request to be interviewed: "I'm already there, baby."

Yes, I call everyone "baby," baby.

In fact, it's the media, old and new, that may be the catalyst to the rebrand that our program seems to be enjoying lately, kicked off by the mandatory mobile devices, and covered by the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC Radio One, CBC TV, Citytv, The Projector, the Uniter, the Telegraph UK, CTV National, CBC (French!) TV, and - most recently - blogger Erica Glasier.

Practically, organically, rebrandically

Rebranding is one of those weird things that can happen organically over time or for which you can hire an ad or PR agency to make happen.

You usually know you're ready for a rebrand when you change your products and servies, your vision changes, your customer changes, or you're misuderstood by your target public.

In CreComm's case, no one is actively coordinating our rebranding process, if that's even what it is. Our products and services did change with the addition of the media-production major, personnel changes in the teaching staff, new courses and options, more "crossover" work between majors, and the addition of mobile technology and a focus on social media.

As well, there's been some discussion about to major or not to major and even a name change for the program.

The question on everyone's mind: "Where's the app?" I have a meeting next week to discuss that very issue in conjunction with another program and an outside vendor, though we'll also need some money from Mark Zuckerberg to make it happen.

The sad and lonely CreComm brochure

Of course, branding is more than an app and a logo. But now that you mention it, there isn't a CreComm logo. Or an app. Or a website to speak of.

And the brochure is depressingly copy heavy (it's not produced by the department).

My beef with the brochure is that it should reflect our positioning - how our product is ranked in the mind of the consumer - and niche market that we attract to the program. Does this brochure yell "new media" to you?

As for the content, the brochure covers the classes that a CreComm student takes, but it doesn't focus on the benefits of taking the program - a classic advertising and branding mistake.

How to rebrand anything

If I were in charge of rebranding our program, which I'm not, I'd do it the same way I've done it for many of my clients, God bless them for feeding my imaginary babies and manservant Ruprecht:

1. Get to the heart of your positioning. How are you ranked in the mind of your consumer? How does your consumer feel about you? How can you tap into that emotion?

2. Figure out what your competitors are doing. CreComm doesn't really have direct competition, though there are little courses here and there that offer elements of what we do; in our case, we'd want to make sure we educate people about how we differ from, say, the Academy of Broadcasting or the U of W's PR diploma program.

3. Decide whether a name change may be in order.

4. Consider your visual identity: logo, colors, brochure, website, letterhead, business cards, golf balls, baseball caps, etc.

5. Know your brand and enforce a policy to ensure consistency. One person should own the process.

6. Market the hell out of your brand using the four traditional Ps: product, place, price, promotion.

Shall we begin?


  1. A lot of good points... however, you have to consider that the CreComm brand is already pretty strong: you're accepting hundreds of applications every year, rejecting just as many, and have a waiting list just to get in two years down the road.

    Changing the name of the program seems like suicide to me.

    Spicing up a website, logo, brochure, etc. I agree with.

  2. I was thinking of calling it "readin', writin', and no 'rithmatic." C'mon: you know it would work!

  3. I couldn't find servies in the dictionary, what does it mean?


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