Brand Chemistry™

Quick video description of our Brand Chemistry™ model: 

Strategic Institutional Positioning

In an increasingly competitive, global landscape for student recruitment, most colleges and universities desperately need to stake out a credible, compelling, and distinctive brand position, and find creative and memorable ways to communicate it to all stakeholders. Unfortunately, corporate branding processes tend to fail when applied in the collegial, decentralized culture of most academic institutions.

Building on decades of award-winning experience in brand strategy, comprehensive data on stakeholder perceptions of institutional positions, and dozens of successful rebranding projects for Canadian colleges and universities, Ken Steele has developed a data-driven conceptual model of Brand Chemistry™ which actually thrives in academic environments, gathering input from all corners of the institution and building consensus around a focused brand strategy. Higher education institutions can assemble a unique formula for their own distinctive brand, but they must start with elements from a finite table of possibilities. Brand analysis can measure the perceptions of key stakeholders (including students, applicants, faculty and alumni), to determine which brand elements are solid, and which are still aspirational “vapour.” Assessment of competitor positions can define those high-energy elements that have real potential as differentials.  Then a series of brand “fusion experiments” combine those elements in a variety of ways to ultimately arrive at a single brand formula to guide institutional strategic planning, brand creative, and marketing efforts for years to come.


“Ken Steele and Academica Group proved to be invaluable to GPRC as we refined and refreshed our brand.  Ken engaged all segments of our widely varied stakeholder group, and provided insightful recommendations for our consideration.  Ken Steele is the type of consultant who reveals, rather than creates, a suggested path based upon skillful research and interpretation.”

Don Gnatiuk, President & CEO, GPRC

Ken delivered a riveting presentation to a rapt audience using language that effectively bridged the stark realities of the marketing world and the more traditional perspectives of academia.

Robert Buchan, Vice-President External, University of the Fraser Valley

Ken’s unique perspective on the Canadian post-secondary sector was evident at every step in the Positioning Summit, market survey, and his comprehensive White Paper.

Dr. Dave Marshall, President, Mount Royal University


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