Case study: Higher Ed Communications

Higher Ed CommunicationsCompany
Higher Ed Communications is the newly rebranded business of longtime professional communicator Sharon Aschaiek, who specializes in content strategizing and development for the post-secondary education sector.

Deliverables
Through my brand development consulting service, I developed the following for Sharon:

  • Brand platform consisting of: vision, mission, values, personality, target audience, differentiators, promise, name, name descriptor, and tagline.
  • Communications and marketing plan which included annual business and communications objectives and recommended tactics for each communications objective in a step-by-step action plan.

Opportunity & approach
Sharon had a well-established and successful freelance writing business when I met her. She was operating under the brand Cocoa Media, which was the original brand she created for herself when she embarked on this new venture. In the beginning, Sharon wrote about a wide variety of subjects, such as education, employment, lifestyle, automotive, technology, and travel for consumer and trade publications. As her business evolved, so did her specialty in developing content for universities, colleges, and higher education associations.

Through experience, Sharon already knew that having a focus was a very good competitive advantage for her business. My approach was to help Sharon define and create a new brand that would instantly communicate that her specialty is higher education. Through two in-person consulting sessions, I was able to help Sharon define her core brand identity. Because Sharon is a sole proprietor, it was important to create a brand that she found personally inspiring and was also aligned with the needs and expectations of her target audiences.

Results
Using the brand platform as her foundation, Sharon diligently worked through the communications and marketing plan and brought her new brand to life. Working with creative vendors Deana De Ciccio of Image Studio Creative and web design firm 12thirteen, she designed a visual identity and a website. She also updated her brand on all her social media platforms and launched a recommended new tactic: a weekly blog.

Sharon explained that the consulting process and creation of the brand platform, helped strengthen her resolve and increased her confidence in her expertise and her specialty. Having a well-defined and clear brand coupled with an attractive and professional visual identity and website has opened new doors for Sharon. The whole package has given Sharon a sort of “in-the-know” short-hand and ramped up her credibility within the sector. Since the launch of her new brand, Sharon has been invited to: co-host an episode of a U.S.-based higher education webinar; meet with a higher education research firm she had previously tried to meet with; and explored a potential marketing partnership with a national higher education marketing conference.

From the client
“Nathalie helped me with rebranding my business to better reflect my focus on communications for the higher education sector. She had all the qualities you would want from someone assisting with such an important process: she listened deeply to my business concerns and priorities, was adept at helping to distill my core strengths, and had considerable knowledge and insights on how to reshape and optimize my brand. She was also collaborative and punctual, and completed the process with me in a timely manner. She is the branding coach you want on your side.” – Sharon Aschaiek

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