Effective school promotion must focus on each school's unique story
- Trish Rubin, former educator, current marketing consultant, and author of "BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships and Empower Learning," discusses school branding techniques in this District Administration article.
- Branding is an empowering trend for educators that allows them to tell the story of their school both online and offline, Rubin says.
- However, the key to powerful school branding is to communicate remarkable aspects of the school that causes it to be associated with positive ideas in the minds of community members and builds loyalty to the school in students, teachers, and parents.
In the past, school districts could budget resources and plan construction projects on the basis of population figures alone. However, with more than a million students in the U.S. now attending charter schools, the competition has become stiff. Add to that the number of private schools, religious schools, and the growing trend toward home schooling, and public schools find themselves in a position where they must market themselves to the community. As the MacKinac Center for Public Policy noted in 1999, “in an era of expanded educational freedom, families must now be treated as customers with choices and not as captive audiences.” Private schools market themselves and public schools must do so as well, if they are to compete in the educational marketplace.
All this competition means that schools now must compete not only for students, but also for the dollars that follow them. In a 2015 article in Forbes magazine entitled “Why Public Schools Are Finally Getting Savvy About Marketing,” author Dorie Clark notes: “As a result, a new trend has emerged: public schools are finally embracing modern marketing strategies. The realization of its importance often begins with superintendents, who are on the front lines of fighting for school budgets and liaising with skeptical community members.”
Schools need to promote the positive aspects of their schools by connecting with the media and by using their own communication networks and social media platforms to connect with the community and create a brand that stands out in the minds of the “customers” schools serve. As Jennifer Haney-Crowe, vice president of marketing for Forecast5 Analytics states in “Five steps to creating your school’s brand in 2018,” “A brand is more than just a logo or tagline. It is also about feeling and the perception your organization creates in the consumer’s mind when they see your name and logo. Specifically, a brand reinforces and reminds students and the community of immediate and future goals, builds connections and perceptions with the students and the school community and creates a sense of ownership and community for the campus. A brand is your identity: the values, culture and personality that distinguish your school from any other.”
- District Administration Brewing a remarkable school brand