"We need to create a brand... from here on out we're putting 'Michigan Alpha' on the back of all of our T-shirts"
I think we can safely say he missed the boat on this one. Branding is about more than simply something you put on T-Shirts.
Entrepreneur.com defines branding as "The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products"
Think about that in terms of corporations you're familiar with. If you see a red background with white script letters - that's Coke. A mermaid in a green and white circle is Starbucks. A swoosh is Nike. These brands are consistant and work tirelessly to make sure individuals recognize their presence in a given environment.
Now the real challenge lies in how can your chapter create a brand, and use it to your advantage in recruitment. In my time at California State, Northridge I witnessed chapters exemplifying this perfectly and I'll use Sigma Alpha Epsilon as an example:
Take note of certain aspects of this: colors, symbols, themes, simplicity, cleanliness, and the lack of drug, alcohol and sex references. If you're lost on where to start look towards your international organization who probably has symbols, colors and tag-lines for you to use. Many campuses also have groups of graphic design students who are looking for opportunities to boost their portfolio (often times free of charge).
The next step is to use the brand in all outgoing messaging by the chapter which includes:
- Facebook Fan Page (Profile Picture and Cover Photo)
- Chapter Website
- Bulletin Boards
- Recruitment Packets
- T-Shirts/Apparel (for males and females)
- Table Skirt
Facebook Cover Photo
The key to any branding campaign is consistency. It got to the point where I could tell something was an SAE advertisement based on the colors alone. That should be your goal. A strong branding campaign can set a chapter apart, especially when competing with 10, 20 or 30+ other organizations on a campus.
Has anyone else seen examples of good (or bad) chapter branding campaigns?