Why You Need a School Brand and How to Define One (for School Leaders)
We are accustomed to considering branding as something that McDonald’s or Madonna does. However, branding is not just for corporate institutions and celebrities. Branding is something even schools can and should invest in. When you think of looking for something on the internet, many people would call that “Googling” when, in fact, it’s “searching.” Like Google, many corporate organizations and celebrities have done a great job at mastering branding. Their branding is so exceptional that they have become synonymous with the service they offer.
Business success is impossible without developing a brand identity. Brand identity is a deliberate attempt at honing wide-spread perception about your business. What does the public say or think when your school comes to mind? A deliberate effort at cultivating your brand will ensure you influence a perception that is exceptional and conducive for business success.
There are some steps you can take to ensure that you have a worthy brand strategy for your PR efforts. You will need to outline and then execute your strategy. Here are steps you can take to make sure that branding strategy gets you the results you want.
1. Identify Your School’s Purpose
Consultations with your community are key in this step. A town hall kind of meeting could work well. Students, parents, and teachers are key among the stakeholders you need to engage in gathering insights. Note the most significant strengths and weaknesses that they present about the school. Ask them for their perception of the school’s vision and perceived values. Your brand should reflect these elements. By asking for feedback, you can learn if the perception you have already generated is in line with your stated vision, mission, and core values. Consulting these stakeholders is also great for fostering empathy and mutually satisfying outcomes.
2. Craft a Mission Statement
Analyze the feedback you obtained from your consultations. That feedback obtained will inform your output for this step. Refer to the feedback to design a mission statement that reflects what your school is offering. Clearly state your services for students, parents, and even teachers. Make sure you include your unique selling point for your school: whatever makes you stand out from any other schools. Your finished mission statement can now be publicized. Keep working on sensitizing and reminding stakeholders on what your mission is at events, special occasions, and wherever else you see fit. Before long, relevant stakeholders like students and teachers will even know it by heart.
3. Show It to the World
In your efforts to publicize your new mission statement, make sure it is not only said but available for people to see and appreciate where ever possible and appropriate. Incorporate your school colors and tagline. Do not only show your mission on the physical premise of your school. Have your mission available on the school’s official social media pages, official letterheads, buses, and where ever else you normally brand. Use this to ensure your school is distinguishable from any other school.
4. Direct Your Narrative
With all the work already applied, ensure you keep your community engaged. Ensure you have fresh and relevant things to share with them on your website and social media. Focus on broadcasting your special offers, scholarships, achievements, and most impressive programs. Make sure your website conveys an impression that inspires people to enroll their learners and attracts teachers that identify with your values. Incorporate user-driven content by enlisting students to create videos that share their positive experiences at your school weekly, if possible. Always ensure to leave website visitors and your social media audience wanting continued engagement whilst engaging as often as can make a positive impact.
5. Flaunt What You’ve Got
You have put a lot of work into building a school that you are proud of. You have invested in your learners, teachers, and infrastructure. Do not be shy: flaunt it! Flaunt your efforts, exhibit your talents, and what makes you exceptional as a school. Engage with the local community and even beyond. Support the community where possible: it speaks volumes. When you have special events, ensure you invite members of the local community. You will be building relationships and solidifying them. Your efforts to foster connection will add value. What’s more, it will show pride in your school and its brand.
What do you think? Are you prepared to create a branding strategy for your school?