Creating a school brand vital in a competitive, digital age
- Brand consultant and author Trish Rubin writes for District Administration that school administrators must upgrade their leadership brand by crafting an authentic image to effectively define themselves to the world through marketing and social media.
- A school brand can help create feelings of loyalty and belonging among students and their families while allowing the school or district to present themselves to the community in the best possible light.
- Effective school branding unifies and connects social media, websites and other promotional materials and information produced by the school and allows the school to tell the story of the schools and their students.
In the past, when public schools were the only game in town, school branding mainly existed in high school sports programs where school logos, uniforms and mascots helped define a school at home and on the road. However, with the expansion of school choice options, traditional public schools are competing against charter schools, private schools and even the home school community. Marketing a school becomes even more necessary in an age where educational dollars follow the student and can mean the difference between schools offering vibrant expanded programs or barely surviving on the basics.
Schools do not have the luxury of expensive marketing campaigns in most cases, and most are looking for simple ways to brand and market their schools. One solution to this problem could be to recruit high school students within the district to compete with one another in the presentation of branding ideas. Even if they do not produce the final product, they are more likely to hit upon an idea that connects with the community while having the chance to use their skills in a real-world setting.
Branding in education offers special challenges and students need to be at the heart of it all. Business branding often focuses on the product produced by the company. In the case of education, the product that is produced is student success in a variety of arenas ranging from academics to sports to artistic endeavors to civic projects. Unfortunately, school marketing campaigns often focus on how great the adults in the system are or how many awards the communications department has won. While public knowledge of the qualifications of staff members can be a comfort, students should be focus of all that they do. Using school branding to tell the stories of how students are learning and thriving in the school environment is the most effective strategy of them all.
- District Administration Branding 101 for leaders in education