Branding is often associated with businesses. But, while branding is an effective construct in the commercial sector, its benefits are not limited to the world of business.
As the education market becomes more and more competitive, schools are always looking for ways to get ahead. Having a strong and clear brand identity can make your school stand out from others in the area. So, how do you develop a school brand identity that gives you a competitive advantage?
Step 1 — Identify What Makes Your School Unique
Every school is different. They all have unique environments, atmospheres, values, and ethoses. While this may be obvious to you, it is not always clear to external audiences. Your brand is a great way to communicate the identity of your school to:
- Potential Parents
- Existing Parents
- Potential Employees
- The Local Community
The first step to refining your branding is to identify exactly what makes your school unique. The result of this assessment should become the foundation of your school brand identity going forward.
Step 2 — Analyse Your Current Brand
Whether it’s the colour of your uniforms or the tone of voice in your communications, your school will already have a brand identity. Before making changes, it is crucial to first ask: what does our brand currently say about our school?
This exercise gives you an insight into how others perceive your school through its branding. It is also an opportunity to assess how branding can express your school identity and analyse subtle elements that speak volumes.
If you conclude that your brand identity does not accurately represent your school, changes are required.
Step 3 — Plan Your New School Brand
The best school branding requires a lot of planning, research, and analysis. Luckily, if you’ve followed this guide and followed the two steps above, you’ve covered a lot of the legwork already.
As well as conducting internal analyses, it is important to gather the views of others. Speak to those in your school community to gauge their opinion of your current brand and ask how they currently perceive your school. All of the information you gather should be used to determine exactly how you want to refine your school branding.
To ensure the changes made to your new school brand identity have the desired impact, create a school branding strategy. In this strategy, you should document and outline:
- The results of your research.
- The assessment of your current brand.
- How you want your school to be seen.
- Your new school branding ideas.
- A list of the changes you are making.
- Rationale behind each change and what is represents.
Once completed, the school branding strategy becomes the point of reference for the changes you make and any questions you receive about the new branding.
Step 4 — Communicate Your New School Branding
With the changes implemented and everyone understanding and embracing the new brand, it’s time to spread the word. If your branding changes are subtle, it is possible for them to go unnoticed. Even if you have performed a full rebrand, people may not understand the message immediately. That is why communicating your new school brand identity is essential.
In your school’s unique tone of voice, communicate the changes you have made and why they have been enacted. It is important to reach all the audiences we mentioned in step 1. To do this, you must utilise all available channels of communication.
Start with a letter to parents outlining how the brand has changed and reaffirming exactly what your school is about. Follow this up with a blog post on your school website that provides the same message but to a wider audience. Then, use your social media accounts to drip feed details of your new brand to your online audience and drive traffic to the blog post.
By covering a cross-section of channels, you can better transmit your message to the audiences that matter.
The Positive Effects of Successful School Branding
If your new school branding has been successful, you can expect to experience a number of positive effects. They include:
- Improvements in the reputation and public perception of your school.
- Highly skilled candidates applying for your vacancies.
- Increased admissions due to parents wanting their children to attend your school.
- Existing staff feeling like part of a family.
- Students buying into the school’s vision, values, and ethos.
- Businesses actively engaging with your school.
- The local community being proud to live near your school.
Want to Discuss Your Brand?
A new and improved brand can have a massive impact on the reputation and success of a school. However, for these changes to occur, the brand itself must be perfected.
The Eduprise team are vastly experienced in assessing and refining school brands, as well as producing communications that ensure the brand changes are impactful.
If you would like us to refine your school’s brand, we’d love to help, so contact us today.