Most schools, whether colleges, universities or independent schools are, at this point, awash in market data—much of it vital and on point—some of it, well—not so much. But while good data, well interpreted, can offer support to the decision to move forward, it can’t manufacture an effective brand message.
That requires insight, interpretative skill, and creativity—the ability to understand an institution’s inner nature, and then tell the institution’s real story in an accessible and emboldened way. It requires the development of a strong narrative, and the willingness of the people of the institution to tell the story. We can help with this.
There are many very good schools, that are not, we might agree, great “brands.” If you’ve ever mused that your school is surely “the world’s best kept secret,” you know what we’re saying.
What separates the “well kept secret” from the “acknowledged leading brand” has very little to do with resources; it has rather to do with differing levels of confidence and conviction that a school has a compelling story to tell that could well change for the better the course of a given person’s life. Effective storytelling is a real responsibility, not only to your school, but to that given person.
Cognitive Marketing produces high impact brand communications in service to student recruitment, alumni engagement, and fundraising success. We work for educational institutions that recognize that their ability to tell their own powerful story effectively depends on having not only a clear and compelling foundational message, but an internal community of stakeholders committed to advancing and telling the same consistent and powerful story. Our Market Voicing approach is designed to ensure that the work we do not only responds to the market data, but is informed by creative insight. We engage all constituents of the schools we serve in deep dialogue, with the result that the work itself is not just recognizeable, but welcomed, and willingly put to use by the people it is meant to represent.
Through Market Voicing we discover an institution’s DNA—the essence of the school. Together with our clients, we build their brands around the stories that are uniquely theirs.
We developed our Market Voicing brand development process specifically to help our clients discover and use their most distinct, competitive, and differentiating institutional voices to meet challenges, unite community, and advance their relationships with all constituencies. The process is a highly qualitative exploration of your school’s brand through progressive conversations with members of every constituency of your community. Market Voicing is a disciplined, analytical, and yet ultimately creative process that helps form strong, emotional bonds between your school and its many communities.
Great brands are found in stories. At the heart of our work is the sifting of countless stories of the people of an institution. We carefully read the history and engage in conversations with key members of the community. We search for the stories that have the power to reveal the distinctive nature of the school and convince others of the school’s essential truth and value. These are the stories that will combine to form a coherent whole, an anthology of brand.
Great brands are great because they’re affirming. The brand must allow for all who are invested in the institution—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents—to find their own memories that affirm their satisfaction and pride.
Great brands are built on elegant, simple, and timeless ideas. They transcend the moment. Great brands of educational institutions are a conversation between the very first students granted a degree and the ones about to enroll.
We believe that the work of educators is fundamental and of vital importance to our society, and that worthy schools can only become better schools if they are able to attract, through effective communication and self-expression, the people and the resources necessary to assure their forward progress. Our commitment is to helping good schools become stronger and more capable of providing for the common good.
We seek to delight our clients with what we produce, not just meet a need. The “delight factor” is achieved by the quality of the creative work we produce, and the care with which we serve every account. We serve people first, and through them, the institutions they work for.
Because each of us is a consultant to the education marketplace in our own right, we each endeavor to develop our own personal area of specialized knowledge, and to freely share that knowledge to colleagues and clients alike. In so doing, we are able to present Cognitive Marketing as a multi-dimensional resource to educational institutions.
We are committed to delivering great solutions to our clients, and therefore cannot settle on the easy or predictable or merely satisfactory. Our goal is always to find the solution that will most surely stand the test of time, maintaining its own integrity and tensile strength. Therefore, we embrace constructive criticism and healthy critique, holding our own ideas not only to our own close scrutiny, but also to constructive peer review.
We are avid students of the industries of which we are a part—marketing communications and education. We are always seeking new information about trends, issues and communications solutions, and we assume the obligation to teach and to mentor those who work at our client schools in order to help them develop their own skills and confidence. We serve people first, and through them, the institutions they work for.
We each recognize that we play an important role in maintaining connections between our company, our partners, and the people of the industry we serve, whether or not a given connection is of immediate importance or relevance to the work we have in front of us. There is no such thing as an “ex-client” or “ex-friend” of the firm.
Peter is our Strategic Director. He developed Cognitive's Market Voicing process, and leads our brand identity engagements. A graduate of Gettysburg College (B.A. English) and Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications (M.S. Advertising), Peter's career has included account management work in the Advertising & Sales Promotion Operation of General Electric Company; design and management of an in-house marketing operation at the National Flood Insurance Program; and account supervision at three advertising agencies, including the Rochester, NY offices of BBDO (Omnicom Group) and Young & Rubicam. He's also an alumnus of The Harley School and the Preparatory Department at Eastman School of Music.
Josanne is our Creative Director. She oversees the development of all creative aspects of integrated marketing plans and identity systems, forming and leading teams of writers, designers, media planners, and Web development specialists tailored to the needs of individual clients. Josanne is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Buffalo (B.S. Design) and has served as adjunct faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to co-founding Cognitive Marketing in 1993, Josanne was Senior Art Director at a Rochester-based design firm. Josanne currently serves on the Advisory Board of Horizons at The Harley School, a summer learning and enrichment program for city school children, and is a volunteer with the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association.
Julie brings a background in market research to her work with our clients. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.A. English), Julie began her career in Washington, D.C., at OCM, a direct mail marketing firm with a substantial college and university client portfolio. Julie returned to her native western New York in 2003 to work at Harris Interactive, where she worked in service to that company's strategic decision to convert the entirety of its business from traditional direct mail and telephone research, to online. At Cognitive Marketing, Julie coordinates our survey research service, oversees client services, and personally manages specific client engagements.
Kristen is an experienced Account Manager, with broad experience in traditional marketing and media, as well as interactive, social media, and brand-experiential events management. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a B.S. in Communications Management. Kristen’s career has included account management positions of increasing responsibility at firms in both New York City and Rochester.
Catherine is a Communications and Brand Development Consultant. Her experience as the Director of Creative at Houghton College provides Catherine with an informed perspective on the importance of managing a school’s brand in order to meet institutional goals. Her diverse creative background spans several industries including healthcare, media, retail, and entertainment, within which she served as Senior Manager of Off-Air Creative for Viacom/MTV Networks and as a Creative Advertising Supervisor for Gannett. She is skilled at interpreting business and brand strategies, and understands marketing fundamentals including media plans, strategies, budgets, and schedules. Catherine is a graduate of the State University of Oswego (BFA Graphic Design) and Cazenovia College (AAS Advertising).
Brandon joined Cognitive Marketing the old fashioned way—by interning here during his senior year in college, and doing outstanding work. A 2011 Graphic Design honors graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations), Brandon brings wonderful talent, high energy, and generational perspective to his work as a graphic designer. His work already reflects years of vigorous exploration of the intersection of technology, communication, and the graphic arts. And, of course, Brandon willingly takes on the responsibility of keeping his elders in touch and up-to-date with what it takes to reach, inform, and compel his contemporaries!
Lisa is a veteran of the marketing communications business, having spent the first decade of her professional life in administrative and account service positions at two of Rochester’s largest advertising agencies. Lisa joined the Cognitive team in 2000, and is responsible for seeing to the smooth and efficient operation of our company.