As a marketer, especially a school marketer, you probably find yourself acting as a brand guardian – someone who is charged with ensuring that the school stays true to itself and its brand.
This often means fielding questions from executive staff about the correct use of branding, logos, even the voice and language you use.
Your school brand goes beyond the logo or crest on the students’ uniforms. It is the set of values that differentiate you and your educational offerings from competitors. It involves the high-quality interactions that you have with stakeholders and, furthermore, the actions that you have put in place to delight them across all your marketing channels.
If marketing is all about making promises, then branding is about keeping them.
President of New Business Strategies Christine Crandell recognises that a brand promise is critical in order to win your customer’s business. Her message is to try to exceed the stakeholders’ expectations. It is also a warning that your brand will quickly suffer if you over promise and under-deliver.
So, is your school keeping its brand promise? Here are three important steps to ensure that your school is keeping its brand promise:
Step one: Determine the ideal parent persona for your school. What collateral and interactions do they most enjoy? Also, theorise about what ‘turns them off,’ what don’t they like about school interactions. Do the same thing with your ideal student personas.
Step two: Is your messaging consistent across all your communication channels. You may need to invest time and resources into developing a style guide for your school’s marketing team. Be sure to update it regularly whenever you come across new ways to reinforce your brand. The way you communicate should emphasise the key attributes of your school to your school community. Your brand should evoke trust, quality, identity and breed loyalty with parents.
Step three: Incorporate your community history in your school branding. People want information about your school, because they want to believe in what you are offering. Providing details such as key staff profiles, foundations of the school, and the early founders and philosophy are ways to create more value through being transparent. Consumers today want to know more and more about who they are doing business with instead of solely seeking out product information.
Your brand is your reputation. It is your commitment to keep true to the standards and expectations that have been set. Your brand should also include all the things that you do, that make you an individual and enable you to stand out. Some call this ‘strategic positioning’ – but simply put, it is the act of your school keeping its brand promise.