Schools may offer the same subjects and follow a similar curriculum, but no two schools are the same. There are, however, two common goals all school share: to provide students with the best education possible and to communicate what sets their school apart. Here are five simple tips to follow to differentiate your school and communicate what makes you unique:
- Tell a story
Every school has a history. Whether you are a new school or have been operating for decades, embedded in your history is an interesting tale. Survey your staff to get an idea of what people find most interesting, then use this to tell prospective parents a bit about yourself in a personable way. Who founded the school and why? What is special about your location? Perhaps you have a 50 year old tree on the grounds, planted by the school’s first kindergarten class? Find the aspects of your school that convey the ‘heart’ of your community. Prospective parents are interested in the atmosphere within your school's buildings. Condense your story and include it in the ‘About …’ section of your website and publications – and communicate it consistently.
- Redefine the learning experience
Has your school implemented teaching methods or created learning environments that transcend the norm? Chances are, your school is doing something differently. Perhaps you have abandoned the days of rows of desks and have changing, dynamic learning areas, or you might even hold certain classes outdoors. You may offer a pathway stream for senior students pursuing extra-curricular activities as a career. Identify your unique vantage points and market them as an example of the way you are redefining the learning experience.
- Communicate your area of expertise
Are you a performing arts school? Do you offer a specialised academic program? Has your debating team won the national tournament for the last three years running? Every school has an area they do well in. Convey your school’s expertise through achievements and specialities. In plainer terms, show what you do best and why you can do it better. Use this as a theme for your branding and publications. Conveying your unique strengths will engage prospective parents and improve the recall of your school.
- Be consistent with design and aesthetics
It’s vital to keep all of your branding consistent. Take the right measures to have a logo designed that truly reflects the values and ethos of your school. This can often include a motto/tagline to aid visual imagery. If your existing logo has been in place for many years, assess whether it reflects the changes and progress your school has made. Research your competitors’ branding. Will your school logo get lost in the crowd or stand out from the pack? Often, a few small tweaks to refresh the design can be highly beneficial. The next step is to then ensure you market your logo across all communication materials so that your current school community and prospective parents recognise it and associate it with your school. It should of course feature heavily on your website along with all stationery. This includes letterheads, email signatures, newsletter templates and all promotional materials such as print advertisements, prospectus packs, brochures and any other printed material.
- Analyse your competitors – then fill in the gaps
If your goal is to set yourself apart from other schools, you need to find a way to offer your prospective parents a different experience, with their needs being the driving force. What’s one thing many parents have in common? They’re busy and often time-poor. Use this to your advantage. Perhaps you could offer a virtual tour of your school’s grounds on your website. With publications such as prospectus packs or enrolment information booklets, include bright, captivating imagery that showcase your school’s spirit as opposed to dense copy-based documents. Above all, ensure you are accessible and there to answer all queries from prospective parents, whether this be by phone, email or in person. It’s useful to analyse what your competitors are doing and identify weak points or things that are missing from their publications and branding. This will help reinforce your own ideas, providing a clearer picture of what you don’t want to convey.
Here are some resources you may find useful:
- How to articulate your school’s point of difference
- Consistency is key to your school's brand integrity
- More blogs on messaging which might be of interest to you
- To learn more about communicating your school's message effectively, download our free ebook:
Speak to an expert:
- If you would like to discuss your school's communication - book a free call now
This blog was written by Melinda Webster
As Account Manager at imageseven, Melinda is committed to the unique journey of every client to bring their ideas, hopes and value to fruition. Originally from Sydney, her newest passion is exploring the beauty of the West Coast.