Branding, so frequently used to good effect in advertising and marketing campaigns, is now essential when it comes to ‘selling’ your school, its services and desired image. You may have baulked at using advertising techniques and strategies to promote your school, but now you find that if your school is to be successful, you need to adopt new marketing strategies.
School branding – conformity and diversity
At first sight the juxtaposition of the terms ‘conformity and diversity’ may seem contradictory. Obviously ‘conformity’ implies that something is not unique. On the other hand, ‘diversity’ clearly means that differences exist between things which may be seen as similar.
When considering your school’s brand, you need to know that it is unique and definitely not the same as that of rival schools. Prospective parents need to be able to identify your school, so it must stand apart from the competition.
The school logo
Your school’s brand needs to be used consistently and that doesn’t simply mean ensuring your school’s logo is on all its materials. Your message and the image you wish to portray must adhere to your advertising or marketing guidelines; there should be no deviation from them. This is how effective branding is achieved.
Ultimately, your target group should be able to identify your school’s promotions, advertisements and other literature without the appearance of the logo on the materials, although, of course, the logo is extremely important. For example, think about that apple with a bite taken out of it; immediately on seeing the image, you recognise it as the Apple logo. You need to come up with your school’s easily recognisable logo.
You and your staff will need to do thorough research so that you don’t use a logo that is already in use. It would be very detrimental to your school’s image if you were found guilty of plagiarism.
It may be necessary to appoint someone to oversee conformity in your school’s literature. For example, do you have specific guidelines for comments on school reports, essays and other student work? You may need to spend time having meetings to ensure everyone understands the importance of conformity.
Make sure that your school’s social media posts follow the guidelines to the letter. Appoint a teacher or other responsible member of staff to monitor such posts and any comments relating to them. Don’t allow unmonitored comments to be posted on the site.
Make sure that parents, as well as your students, understand the importance of having a distinctive brand. Both parents and students should be proud of their school and its achievements. Advertise successes on your website and praise effort and achievement.
Involve the whole school community in your endeavours to create a successful brand. When everyone works together to achieve a common goal, success is virtually guaranteed.
Involving the wider community
If you need to do some fundraising, you should actively promote your school. Students and teachers should be active in this community, doing what they can to help the vulnerable groups in society, participating in local events and generally maintaining a high, positive profile in the world outside the school gates.
The more active your staff and students are in the local area, the easier it should be to build a positive brand and identity for your school.