In 2000, a friend told me that in Miami, a college degree is useless unless it is a degree from UM, University of Miami. Since then, things have changed. FIU (Florida International University) gained a substantial portion of the market. Thanks to an effective marketing strategy that relied on integrating students to strengthen FIU’s brand, FIU turned itself into a vibrant, modern, and innovative brand. On its side, UM stayed traditional.
One of the best examples of FIU’s strategy can be appreciated on its Instagram page.
Here, we can see how @fiuinstagram reflects the identity of the young, technical savvy generation. Some of the photos are cartoons or images resembling videogames like Animal Crossing. The mascot, Roary, also plays an important role in the Brand Association Image. FIU started hiring professional dancers to wear Roary’s outfit. His body is fit. His movements are cool. Students feel that their mascot represents what they like: sports and dance; they proudly wear Roary‘s image in their t-shirts.
FIU understood that Consumer-Based Brand Equity is the value that resides in the minds and hearts of its students. Through its social media pages, FIU is reinforcing:
1.Brand Awareness: Recognition & Recall
3.Brand Perceived Quality
Additionally, to strengthen the Consumer-based brand equity, FIU started talking to its multicultural community in their languages. In this photo, FIU’s president, Mark Rosenberg, imitates those videos that students make viral. During the COVID-19 quarantine, he shows a famous Cuban slang: “No es facil! (It’s complicated). He included that expression because a large number of students are Cuban descents or immigrants. In this way, FIU obtained brand association and loyalty.
On the other hand, the University of Miami’s Instagram page @univmiami doesn’t reflect as much association with their students’ lifestyle.
Sebastian the Ibis, the UM’s mascot, a bird, is less attractive than Roary.
A brand lives in the customers’ perception & experience. FIU’s brand-building strategy ignited feelings that increased the brand’s perceived quality, developed association, and cultivated relationships when they allowed students to manage the college’s image. For all these reasons, FIU steadily created mental brand equity, which is generating recognition and long-term growth.
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