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Modernizing an education brand

A fresh, modern look. A brand to drive the business forward. Capturing the energy of your leadership in the industry. These are some of the goals of a rebranding project.

IFSE Institute recently underwent a successful rebrand, and we sat down with Christina Ashmore, Managing Director, and Fatema Nazarali, Director of Sales and Business Development, to uncover the best practices they implemented to take the IFSE Institute brand to the next level.

ext.: The new brand looks great. Can you tell us a bit about why you chose to rebrand IFSE Institute?

Christina Ashmore: Over the past few years, IFSE Institute has really come into its own in terms of the relationship with the brand of its parent company, The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (“IFIC”).

We had a challenge with name recognition despite exceptional loyalty among our clients and IFSE’s great reputation in the industry.

At a practical level, we needed to standardize our look and feel, given that the many small changes made throughout our history had led to inconsistencies.

“We had a challenge with name recognition despite exceptional loyalty among our clients and IFSE’s great reputation in the industry.”

ext.: Can you tell us about your rebranding process?

Fatema Nazarali: Given that we wanted to modernize the look and feel of IFSE Institute and bring the company into the future, we took a comprehensive approach and started from the ground up.

Our first step was to ask probing questions about what we wanted our brand to convey. This was long before we thought about the minutia of creating a nice, new website. We asked questions regarding how we wanted to be positioned in the industry as ourselves and among competitors.

All of our branding work needed to be in line with our strategic mission and play to the strength of the organization; namely, exceptional customer service and a high-value education.

And from here the agency started working with us on developing our key messaging framework.

“Our branding work needed to be in line with our strategic mission and play to the strength of the organization.”

ext.: Did you face any challenges along the way?

Christina: One of the biggest challenges early on was finding the time to get everyone involved. We knew we wanted to get everyone’s buy-in at all stages and show the team what we were trying to achieve. We regularly showed the team how the work was progressing and asked for their feedback on creative.

Getting the whole team involved was a great experience. They provided valuable insights as we developed the creative. We believe it helped the team to embrace the new brand.

“Getting the whole team involved was a great experience. They provided valuable insights as we developed the creative. We believe it helped the team to embrace the new brand.”

Cost is obviously a challenge. So, you need to lay out the strategy from beginning to end and request customized solutions when required. While measuring the return on investment for branding is difficult, it’s important to remember that revenue generation is not immediate and there are many intangible benefits to consider. It’s definitely worth the effort.

ext.: Why did you decide to work with an agency for the rebrand?

Fatema: We recognized that we needed marketing expertise to be able to execute a rebrand strategy. By working with an agency, we could stay focused on our day-to-day deliverables and strategic goals without needing to add headcount.

“We could stay focused on our day-to-day deliverables and strategic goals.”

Our agency ensured we asked the right questions up front, long before jumping into execution. They set up the branding strategy and helped identify where we wanted to be positioned and who we were targeting.

Given the uniqueness of the financial services industry, we needed to work with a team that had specialized knowledge. They knew our clients and business partners, and were able to tie everything together seamlessly and on point.

ext.: How has the new brand been received?

Christina: The new brand has been very well received. It’s elevated our professionalism and demonstrated to the industry that we’re taking the company to the next level.

“It’s elevated our professionalism and demonstrated to the industry that we’re taking the company to the next level.”

More than ever before, people are asking to keep our brochures in their office. The new brand has really strengthened client confidence and loyalty.

Fatema: Internally, too, there’s been a strong reception. The IFSE team takes great pride in the new brand and the company. The rebrand was a positive experience for everyone involved.

Visit ifse.ca to check out the new brand.

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