How to develop a cohesive school brand
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There are several steps to take in order to start to build a cohesive culture and brand within your school community. By following these steps, it will make it much easier to create and sustain a consistent brand and develop a strong culture in the public’s eye.
Here are a few tips:
- Identify the key stakeholders within the school community. First start with the key influencers within the staff and parents of the school. Ask them to become an internal branding team and get them to become part of the research process. This team should comprise staff at different levels
– some teaching, some non teaching – parents from different Year groups and locations plus representatives from the PTA. Ideally it should also include some students of different age
- Work out what it is that sets apart your school from your competitors. What aspect of educating children is unique to your school and what can you realistically promise to deliver? This promise should be consistent with your strategic plan and reflect the vision and values of your school. It should be a short statement that encapsulates your ideal proposition to your public.
- Identify the key stakeholders within the local community external to the school and ask them similar questions. What is the current external perception of the school? What are the positive aspects of the school and what are the negative aspects of the school? How and why are other schools in the locality perceived as a better option than your school?
- If the answers from the external stakeholder responses align with the ideal promise that you have already formulated with your staff, students and parents, then you are lucky! This promise should then form the basis of your school brand. If the results from the external stakeholder responses do not align with the ideal proposition, you should then identify the gaps that exist between the ideal proposition and the perceived deficiencies, and work on ways to bridge the gaps by developing an alternative promise or value proposition to your public.
- Once you have formulated your school’s value proposition, decide on some simple key messages and then reinforce these in your school community through consistent communications. This will help build trust both with your internal and external stakeholders.
- Develop close relationships with online and newspaper journalists within your local region and within your state to build awareness of your school.
- Make sure that your school Principal lives and breathes the school’s brand. Ideally your Principal needs to become highly visible as this makes it easier for your stakeholders to engage with the Principal (and therefore the school). It also helps them to feel as if they are valued and involved. For example, a video from the Principal on your school website would be a good starting point.
- If you don’t have the in-house design or marketing resources to effectively deliver consistent messaging and communication, engage an outside firm who are experienced in schools marketing.