All my life I’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover. This English idiom is a metaphorical phrase which means "you shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone". But I do. And I’m not alone. The reality is most people do judge a book by its cover.
The impressions we make, as individuals and organisations, are powerful statements that shape how we are perceived by others. Everything we say and do says something about who we are. In other words, everything your school says and does, every newsletter, email and note home from the teacher, your website and prospectus, all make a brand impression about your school.
First impressions largely form how your school is perceived, therefore it is important to get your branding right as this is often the first experience of your school that your customers will have. Consistent branding helps your customers answer questions such as "Can I believe in this institution? Can I trust them? Will they deliver what they promise?”
Your brand is the vehicle to answer these questions and reinforce ‘why’ you do what you do, not only ‘what’ you do. It promotes your school values and ethos and how your approach sets you apart.
But the role your brand plays doesn’t stop there. Once parents have stepped over the enrolment threshold, they enter into a long-term relationship with your school. It’s in these years that follow that your customers expect you to deliver on the brand promise your school made in the courting pre-enrolment stage.
Careful brand management helps build strong relationships with your key stakeholders – your ‘word of mouth’ ambassadors. Through communications that are consistent in message and visual identity, their trust in your school grows.
Defining, establishing and managing your brand is about making everything your school says and does work for you. You can make every correspondence and communication send a message about what your school is about and what it stands for, in an albeit subtle but consistent fashion.
What does your newsletter say about your school?
Going from the polished school tour and glossy prospectus in the pre enrolment days, to sub standard newsletters and take home note communications (endowed with a range of different fonts and clip art, absent of your school’s brand), doesn’t reflect professionalism or the unified ‘whole school’ front your school is hoping for.
Effective consistent and on brand communications build strong relationships. They say “we are professional” by promoting a consistent image, which in turn evokes trust.
imageseven’s Brand Discovery and Definition Program (BDD) is a 12 week school-specific program designed to develop the core brand elements – key messages, value proposition and a refined and standardised visual identity – required for establishing brand discipline and/or a rebrand. Contact us to learn more or download our free ebook “How brand discovery and definition can help build your school”.
This blog was written by Celina Farrell