Branding is not just for corporations; most people at some point will make that important decision about which school to choose. Make sure your school’s strengths and vision portray a positive first impression to prospective parents and the community through a positive and cohesive brand.
How To Create a Brand
A brand is the ideal way to communicate what makes your school distinctive compared to other schools. It should portray a clear and positive message about your school’s strengths, aspirations, ethos and vision through a cohesive campaign of signs, logo, literature and website. However this must be underpinned by a solid understanding of what differentiates your school from other schools. Careful research prior to developing your brand could mean the difference between a successful branding campaign or an ineffective waste of your time and resources. Use your parents and the local community as your most important resource in terms of information gathering, through meetings, questionnaires and informal drop-ins to discover how they perceive your school and how they see it evolving.
Communicating Your Brand
Once you have a sound understanding of your school’s identity and how you wish to be perceived, it is time to start communicating this to the community. You could have the best brand ideas in the world, but unless people know about your brand it will be useless.
Your brand should showcase your strengths, aspirations, vision and ethos and this should be summed up into an easily recognisable logo and colours for your school that promote your strong and consistent identity. However a logo and school schools can only go so far in promoting your brand. The most important aspect you are promoting is the message behind the logo, not the logo itself, and this should be through school signage, literature and the internet.
An essential part of communicating your brand is through signs for schools. School signage includes directional signs for school to make it easy to find for visitors and prospective parents. However a wider application of signs for schools will increase the visibility of your school’s brand and promote further interest in the wider community. For instance, information point signs and wall displays are an effective way of communicating your school’s brand at open mornings and educational conferences or in your school foyer. Alternatively, digital school signage creates an exciting and interactive way of communicating with parents in a form that can frequently be updated to share school news, events, photos and films that will support your brand identity.
An important consideration when branding a school is communicating this brand to the wider community. Signs for schools are an excellent technique and this can be expanded to a greater audience through vehicle livery. Livery not only brightens up a vehicle, but by using school colours and motifs it also shows a consistency throughout the school. The old school minibus can easily be brightened with magnetic wrap signs that will advertise your school and its brand to a wide audience of prospective parents.
A website is often a parent’s first encounter with a school and to make this a positive experience, a good website should be interactive, interesting and informing. Ensure your site is clearly set out and easy to navigate so that prospective parents are not put off by a confusing website. This again is a good opportunity to communicate your brand, through text and photos that consistently repeat the positive message you wish to portray.
Once you have your school’s brand, it is imperative that this is communicated effectively to the community. Through careful brand positioning, you will create the maximum interest in your school and your logo and message will become better known and understood. Your prospective and website are excellent places to display your brand ethos however this is only effective for parents who already know of your school and have searched for it on the internet or requested a prospective. In order to create new interest in your signs for schools are an excellent way to communicate to a wider audience. This could be through signs directing people to the school, information and display signs at educational conferences or livery for school vehicles.
A strong brand identity is no longer a corporate term. Head teachers are increasingly realising the benefits in creating an identity for their school that makes them instantly recognisable in the local community and beyond. Through a brand identity, schools are able to communicate effectively with parents and prospective parents about what makes them really distinctive compared to other local schools. A good brand will not create good teaching but it will let the local community know about your good teaching. In an increasingly competitive age where parents use literature, internet and brands to make informed life decisions, schools are surely one of the most important decision most parents will make. Therefore a good brand identity is critical to a school’s success.
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Ross Davies is an avid blogger over at News N Views and enjoys writing on a variety of topics including education, recruitment, and branding for schools and colleges.