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Environmental Branding: Keeping your project on course shouldn’t be ruff

Scott Helms

By Scott Helms

In a college or university marketing department, you might feel like an Australian Shepard competing in a canine agility competition on ESPN9. There are tons of hoops and obstacles to run through to get any project completed. We know how it goes — especially when it comes to a project like environmental branding. A lot of things can knock the project off track. Luckily for you, we know how to keep it running smoothly in a way worthy of a belly scratch and a treat.

Make sure all the tails are wagging

It’s a proven fact that dogs run faster when “steak” holders are involved. You must include all key stakeholders within a college, department or unit early and often to develop a common vision. It is crucial to get alignment, and in turn, buy-in from everyone to avoid roadblocks. This also provides “ground softening” for creative development. And no, we aren’t talking about what a dog does outside when he lifts his back leg.

To strategically build buy-in with university influencers early in the process, we often utilize our proprietary Spotted Zebra Strategy Workshop. What is a Spotted Zebra, you say? It’s our branding philosophy built on a key foundational idea — when all your competitors have stripes, you need spots. This workshop provides a platform to bring your team and ours together to understand your brand and objectives, so we can create a brand strategy that connects emotionally and resonates with your target audience. Doing this is a fantastic way to make sure all of your leadership team’s thoughts and concerns are being heard and implemented throughout the entire process. Supporting the workshop with stakeholder interviews and on-site round table discussions will increase the likelihood of fast-tracking the process.

Make sure all of your ducks (and dogs) are in a row

An essential step to ensure the environmental branding project is running smoothly is to circle the wagons with all other partners in the process. This means early and often discussions with university operations managers, contractors, architects and other facilities personnel to ensure quality control and efficient implementation.

That’s a lot of stuff, we know. But if you include a creative agency that specializes in environmental branding (*cough* Flying Hippo *cough*) from the onset to guide you through this obstacle course, you will be “Best in Show” you lucky dog.

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