College rebrand and new website for International House

We recently launched a new website for well-known UQ residential college, International House as part of a College rebrand project. It’s impactful, simple and focused in its’ brand positioning – the hallmarks of what we consider a successful website design and build to be.

But this accomplishment is much more than a new website. It answers critical prospect questions of:

  • Why Choose International House?
  • Why (and how) is International House different?
  • Why stay on Campus at UQ?
  • Why study at UQ Brisbane?

As well as Simon Sinek’s pivotal question for all organisations: Why does your organisation do what it does?

By clearly getting to the heart of these questions and demonstrating WHY International House, staying on campus and studying in Brisbane are the best choices, the website achieves some key business goals.

Let us take you on the International House Gain a Global Advantage journey, so you understand the process involved in developing a compelling brand position.

Key Website Goals

International House is a residential college located on-campus at the University of Queensland providing accommodation for students from within Australia and overseas – predominantly international – and has been doing this successfully for over 50 years.

The college was looking to build a new website, with a number of key goals:

  1. To be the first port of call for prospective applicants and their parents both from within Australia and overseas for information in International House
  2. To showcase its unique pagoda-style accommodation, images, floor layout and lush gardens
  3. To create a better understanding of why stay on campus – and why International House
  4. To ensure Australian students understood that they too are welcome to stay at International House
  5. To improve International House’s SEO ranking across some critical phrases. (This requires an ongoing investment in SEO but starts with the website build)

From the outset, the web brief was pretty clear, however there was a lack of agreement around the desired positioning for International House – what was its essence, what was its brand promise and what were the key points of differentiation?

Key Foundational Elements

We started the project by delving into research and conducted phone interviews with remote Queensland and overseas parents, key staff and board members. We also ran two focus groups – one with incoming students who had just experienced O Week and one with third year students. The purpose of the research was to:

  • Uncover why International House was chosen
  • What were the key features/benefits of the College from both parents and students points of view
  • What could be improved on in a future website build, and, ultimately,
  • What they thought differentiated International House from other residential colleges and accommodation experiences.
College Rebrand provides new opportunities.

Our strategy work led to the new tagline – Gain a global advantage – borne out of the definitive outcome that students get by living at International House. It is a position that no other College or accommodation provider in Queensland can claim. It is thus, unique and powerful. We believe a more modern logo would have enhanced this positioning.

The research provided insight into how to position the College but also uncovered some challenges for international students and their parents. With these, we were able to provide solutions and website recommendations to include:

  • a section specifically for parents
  • a section on selling Brisbane as a destination
  • a section on why stay on campus, and
  • a cost comparison checklist.

The website build was focused on calls to action, SEO, navigation usability, and responsive design. Importantly, it ensured that the home page was the portal to everything about International House that a prospective or current student would need to know.

Why create a unique brand position?

There are many reasons why it is advantageous to create a unique brand position.

  • It enhances trust – when people experience your brand and it is the same as your position it makes you believable and credible
  • It gives your target audience a relatability factor – or perhaps an aspiration factor – it’s something they desire
  • It provides a uniqueness to you – thereby differentiating you from your competitors and enabling the WHY YOU capability that you’re after
  • It gives you the platform to create a strong creative direction – images, video, copy and tone that can reflect you in a truthful way
  • It provides the ability for you to create brand stories and content.
Key steps to building a new website

If you’re looking to build a new website, these are the key steps you should consider:

  1. A clear brief on what you want the website to do and what other websites you like and why
  2. Create a site map – bear in mind the key target audience groups and what it is they are looking for (usually prospects, current users and community)
  3. Create a budget that you can work with – potentially scale this over time
  4. When selecting an agency – make sure you are comparing apples with apples – check the following:
  • Their portfolio – have they built websites you like – and what you like about them?
  • Home page originality – how do they approach calls to action?
  • Content management – can they create for you or edit/manage the content
  • SEO – do they have experience in this area – your website not only needs to be built, but found.
  • Key staff – who is going to be your contact – are they trustworthy?
  • Ease of internal maintenance, security and hosting
  • Fees that are itemised
  • How much do they understand your facility/industry and what ideas/suggestions do they have?
  • Importantly, do they have the expertise to uncover your unique brand position and identify issues and opportunities that even you may have overlooked?

Pull together any items which can help with your build:

  • Identity and brand guidelines
  • Images and video
  • Downloadable documents

Once you decide to build a new website we highly recommend research of your target audience/community so you can understand your current brand position and better understand the information requirements and decision making process of your target audience. This will ensure your new website carefully provides answers to their wants and needs.

Click here to see the rebranded College website we built for International House and check out their Why stay on Campus and Comparison Table pages.

Look Education specialises in websites, digital marketing and marketing collateral for education facilities. This includes school and College re-brands and branding campaigns. Talk to us today about how we can engage your community.