Is Marketing Your School District a Thing? Part 1: Branding
It is important for schools and districts to remember that in our ever-evolving world, they now need to compete for students, administrative and teaching talents, and community perception. Like other competitive organizations, schools need to set themselves apart from other schools in the country.
They need to be efficient, get good results, attract teachers with good team culture, gear up students for a successful today and tomorrow… and the list goes on. But how can they share the accomplishments and amazing culture with the people who should be seeing it? The answer is branding!
Beyond the business world, branding is just as important in the education field, because your school or district has a story to tell. In this post, I’ll explain what branding is, what makes effective branding, and its importance for schools and districts.
But first, let’s start with a very quick review of what branding is and what it is not.
What branding is not
It’s not a quick promotional effort
It’s not a limited campaign or an event
It’s not a logo, a mascot or a set of colors
It’s not a Twitter and/or Facebook account
What branding is
Branding is the opportunity to tell the story of your school or district to the community and constituencies you serve. “It’s the tangible and intangible presentation of who you are.” (Building your school brand) The tangible part of it is obvious: what you do and how people see it. The intangible part is a little trickier to define; it is what people feel about what you say and do! So branding is not simply about identifying something or recognizing it visually, it’s also about connecting to people’s feelings.
What can branding do for you?
You must be wondering, “What would this bring to me or my school or district? Why do I have to care about branding?”
Actually, branding is a very important component of your connection to your community, parents, students, and future students. Here are just some of the things you can accomplish with effective branding:
Create a strong, appealing identity for your school or district
Promote your district’s story, mission, and the amazing work that takes place in your schools
Establish a positive image
Provide timely information to your community
Attract more qualified candidates, with the desired mindset, to work at your district and schools
What does effective school branding look like?
Effective branding helps you connect with families and your community in a fun and exciting way. It is also a symbol that instills trust and confidence. Being recognizable, it creates professionalism in all communications, but that’s not all. Effective branding also:
Expresses what your school stands for and presents value to the community
Articulates to stakeholders what to expect from your school or district. This promise not only builds precious support but also invaluable relationships
Keeps you focused on your mission, vision, and values related to your work, to ensure the success of all students
Build relationships with key stakeholders by reaching your community at an emotional level. There is no better way to do this than consistently sharing ways that you are making a positive difference in the life of kids (and teachers) each day
Educators work extremely hard, and the results of your work need to be shared. Schools need to move beyond typical mascots, static websites, and predictable taglines to showcase a school's unique assets. Times have changed, and paradigms too. Rather than being seen as an extravagance, marketing is now a way for schools and districts to engage citizens and ensure they feel heard. Storytelling is a core part of how we can showcase our institution’s personality, work and, results. Check out part 2 to learn more about storytelling.