Every brand has a story: Insights from a marketing guru

Jan 20 2017, 1:18 am

Mary Charleson knows a thing or two about branding.

An international authority on marketing, as well as a columnist and author, Charleson’s work is regularly featured in the Huffington Post along with Business in Vancouver. She’s also been quoted in CBC, Toronto Star and BCTV, to name a few.

She also runs a successful consulting business, pens a blog series called Five-Minute Marketing, and brings her real-life experience into the classroom as an instructor with Capilano University’s School of Business.

We sat down with Charleson to get her thoughts on Capilano University’s new brand, and what makes a brand successful.

How would you sum up Capilano University’s new brand?

This new brand is unique, and its ability to resonate with so many different communities of people allows Capilano University to play on the same stage as some of the larger universities. With this brand, we are aspiring to be seen, and both the logo and the story behind it will help the university be regarded on the international stage as a real competitor. Now, instead of being one of the choices, Capilano can be a first choice – and I believe that’s the real strength of the new brand.

You claim that great brands have a shared story. How can Capilano’s brand help the university share its story?

I live by the idea that it’s not enough just to satisfy your customers anymore. Now you have to delight them. A satisfied customer has no real reason to complain, but there’s also no reason to get excited about your product. A delighted customer is someone who will actively go out and tell your story. The more people are excited to belong, the more they will have a reason to tell their friends about you. A great brand taps into that idea and gives people a reason to be delighted. The best thing you can do is make students, staff, faculty, and the community proud and give them a reason to tell the story.

What does the new brand mean for students?

Because the new brand is so new, there’s an opportunity for students to get involved right off the bat – whether it’s sharing content on social media channels or proudly wearing the new merchandise in the community. The students are your chief brand stewards, and that will go a long way in keeping up the momentum.

How do you bring your marketing and branding experience into your classroom?

Because we are a teaching university, the faculty not only brings the academic theory into the classroom, but we also come to the table with real-life experience. To me, that’s one of the single, most important things we offer our students. We also see ourselves as “coaches” in the School of Business, helping our students feel inspired, empowered, and ready. In my classroom, I bring in content from my Five-Minute Marketing blog and current affairs. I tell my students that they are my secret weapon, because I learn just as much from them as they do from me. It’s a shared learning experience. Yes, we have textbooks and work materials, but at the end of the day, the real value is the hands-on learning. That’s what students can expect.

If you were to give one final piece of advice about branding, what would that be?

I come back to the notion that great brands have great stories. It’s in our DNA to tell stories and share stories, so the more you can do to leverage your brand in sharing your own story, the more successful you will be.

Want to learn how Capilano University can help you create your own success story? Take the first step towards an exciting career at Capilano’s School of Business Info Night.

Capilano School of Business Info Night

When: Tuesday, January 24, 7 pm 
Where: Capilano University, Library building, room LB321, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver
Price: Free

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