ETS: Graduating from Distant to Relevant, Globally

“We make tests. People hate tests. We’re not a likable brand.”

“Test-takers HAVE to take our tests they don’t choose to. We don’t need to ‘sell’ them on our tests.” This was the mindset when I joined ETS. How could we expect our audience to emotionally connect with the ETS brand if we ourselves couldn’t?

  • Assuring qualified teachers are in our schools.
  • Proving you have the ability to attend the college of your choice—regardless of social stature.
  • Knowing your programs are effective, and that your students are learning what you’re teaching.
  • Demonstrating you have the skills to apply for your dream job.

It’s not about making tests—its about connecting people and their skills with life-shaping opportunity.

These concepts are extremely personal—they’re our dreams for the future. Using this as inspiration, I had my team focus on emotional connections to create the award-winning work that transformed the ETS brand from distant to relevant. We helped change the perceptions of our audience and our organization.

ETS also made operational changes to be true to its brand promise:

  • Forming an Office of Quality to assure the highest standards were met in developing and delivering our tests.
  • Providing not only a score result, but actionable feedback to help guide personal development.
  • Enhancing user experience when registering for a test online.
  • Improving customer service when contacting the call center.

These efforts enabled ETS to deliver on its brand promise and mission through a relevant brand image—and a truer brand experience.