Monday, April 4

Penn State

I've been going through the college selection process with my daughter who is a high school senior. It's been stressful to say the least, but we've remained pretty calm through the whole process I must say. Not easy with a teenager!

The process resulted in the selection of Penn State, in fact just yesterday we completed the final visit and then hit "accept" on the website. Funny how much of this is now done online.

As we were visiting the main campus over the weekend, I couldn't help but think like a marketer at a few points. Penn State is an incredible brand. No really, the retail merchandising is incredible. Hoodies, t-shirts, sweatpants, mugs, car stickers -- you name it. All a symbol of incredible pride in a school that means so much to people.

But the brand is more than a logo on some swag. It's an emotional connection to something that can't always be explained and probably can't be replicated.

For some, it's memories of days there. For others, it's aspiration for times to come. And for others, it's an incredible sports franchise the likes of which are legendary. Joe Paterno territory.

For us, it's just a match. Our needs and wants with what the school has to offer. On many levels, both rationally and emotionally. Isn't that what being a brand is all about?

For me and my daughter, the entire Penn State experience has been incredible. The smoothest of all the schools we looked at, and I would likely say the most consistent. The school knows what it is, and knows the types of kids that will succeed there. Sounds like a brand to me.

And the marketing throughout the process has been consistently Penn State as well. Clear communication step by step, and help when we need it. Impressive.

As my daughter looks to embark on her own college experience, I can't help but reflect on what were the most amazing four years of my life when I was in college. And I can't help but feel confident that we picked the right "brand" for her.

Best of luck to all the kids looking to start their college careers next Fall.

What's your experience? Jim.

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