A Best in Class Brand Building Example
Last month I was guest speaker at the TIAS Graduation Day.
When preparing my speech I suddenly realised that I am involved in building the TIAS brand for almost 19 years.
From the brand name, the brand strategy, the NEVER STOP ASKING concept up to and including all steps in the digital transformation, the evolution of the brand identity, the rebranding from Tias to TiasNimbas and back to TIAS, the development of the alumni strategy, new product innovations and much more.
It made me grateful and proud at the same time.
In my speech below I described TIAS’s journey from an unknown institute to a Brand to Love.
Good Afternoon, Dear Graduates, Dear Guests, Spouses, Kids, Parents, Grand-Parents,
Dear Dean and all staff of TIAS,
Thank you for having me on this beautiful day
First of all I want to give all my warmest congratulations
With this great achievement.
My name is Arjan Kapteijns
And as mentioned in the intro, I am a TIAS Alumnus, from some while ago
It is really an honour for me to address you on behalf of all TIAS Alumni
Today is a memorable day
Not only we celebrate all your individual graduations.
We also celebrate the birth of more than 100 new Brand Advocates.
And actually we can celebrate something more
Today we can also celebrate the 18the birthday of the TIAS Brand
Therefore I will share with you today
a short story about the evolution of our beloved TIAS brand.
I am able to do so, because I was so lucky to be around during most of these years
Not only as alumnus, but also as marketing advisor of various Deans and Marketing directors
It all started with an afternoon like this back in 1998
In that time I was Strategy and New Business director of an Advertising agency in Amsterdam
And after I graduated of my Master in Marketing
I went to the Dean of that time, Professor Philippe Naert
And told him I learnt a lot at TIAS
But that in my humble opinion,
TIAS could also learn something from me.
From that moment I became part of an exiting team
of heavy weight marketing professors
With the assignment to develop a new brand positioning and identity
You should know, In that time the official brand name was:
Tilburg Institute of Advanced Studies.
The logo, you can imagine, covered almost the whole letterhead.
We started the project by conducting a quick brand audit
The conclusion was
the Product Quality was great.
And the ambitions even bigger.
But internal culture was very introvert
the institute unknown and not really marketing oriented
The first decision that was made
was to introduce TIAS as the new brand name
And to forget where the abbreviation originally stood for
We also decided to ad a descriptor to the brand.
If you are a Business School, why not call yourself a business school
We also decided to position TIAS Business School
as a New Generation Business School.
A business school that offered the unique combination
of Frontiers of Knowledge and Actionability.
With an Innovative, Reliable and not to forget: a more Out Going and Extrovert Brand Personality.
Here you see a picture of the first corporate brochure of the TIAS brand
It introduces the new name, the new logo and
the new identity, with RED as a more extrovert primary colour
Most business schools in that time were very conservative
and used Blue, Black or Brown.
The brochure also introduced NEVER STOP ASKING
Never Stop Asking is more than a slogan
It is meant as an Organizing Idea that gives direction to all marketing activities
And it’s great to see; that also today it is still alive and kicking
NEVER STOP ASKING stands for the Art of Questioning
Every scientist knows:
If old answers don’t work anymore
We have to start looking for new questions
But NEVER STOP ASKING also stands for the service mentality of the people of TIAS
The mentality of Always Going the extra Mile.
I am sure you all recognise this.
TIAS itself did also not Stop
Actually. It started GROWING. Rapidly.
It developed itself into a real marketing organisation
And a strong brand in a digital world.
Here you see a picture of the first ever TIAS Business School website
And this was the second
And this the third
Here you also see the rebranding into TiasNimbas,
After the acquisition of Nimbas
You also see the rapid expansion from 1 to 6 locations
And TIAS still did not stop
It kept riding the waves of time
Some years ago, our Dean Professor Kees Koedijk felt
it was time to make a next step in the development of the brand
He saw a new discourse emerging
A discourse where people and organisations are eager to find new purposes
A discourse where economical success and societal progress should go hand in hand
A discourse where there is more focus on integrity, social responsibility and sustainable business models.
A discourse for Brands with a Purpose.
And TIAS found it’s purpose in empowering people and organisations towards this transition.
On this occasion the brand went back to the name TIAS and repositioned itself as TIAS. SCHOOL FOR BUSINESS AND SOCIETY.
This went together with of course a new logo, a new brand identity
and a new digital platform
And not to forget the new claim:
The Nr 1 Business School off the Netherlands.
When I heard this self assured claim on the radio
It really made me proud
Not only because I believe that it is true
But also because it indicates that finally TIAS has shed her introvert feathers
TIAS is the brand you all selected a while ago
And TIAS is the brand of which you get your Master Degree today.
I am sure it will give you all a very good feeling
That in the 18 years behind us,
TIAS has developed itself
from an unknown quality product
to a well respected brand, known for something good
into a brand that is Loved
because it stands for something,
something people really care about.
For me TIAS is a Love Brand
A Love Brand is a brand that is able to create loyalty beyond reason
My experience with TIAS is
that the brand is not only able to create loyalty
It also gives back loyalty
(For instance by keeping involving and inviting alumni like me)
You will all experience this in the future yourself.
It is an honour for me
To welcome all of you, as new Brand Advocates
As advocates, from a Brand to Love
I am convinced that as Alumni from
TIAS School for Business and Society
You all will make a ground-breaking contribution
to both commerce and society
While doing that just keep in mind the following:
Opportunities are all around for those who wonder with a curious eye
So please KEEP WONDERING and NEVER STOP ASKING