23 Aug Opinion: Why your school’s brand is important
Being strong advocates of the power of branding, we champion the view that all schools should consider themselves as brands.
If your school has an identity, a set of norms, a culture and a heartbeat that is unique, then these are the very basic characteristics of a brand. However, once the notion of your school being a brand has been universally accepted by your stakeholders, then the need to take positive action to address and develop your brand becomes even more compelling.
In our experience, we have encouraged schools to focus on the issues, challenges and problems they face when attempting to engage their communities in order to build true collaboration between themselves and their communities.
This is where external advice and expertise can be invaluable if schools wish to navigate through this successfully.
An important consideration for all school principals and executives is understanding the potential applicability of relatively new technologies, such as social media, to address their communication challenges and its place within their overall communications plan.
However, in this is ever changing world, this can be challenging but getting this right can make all the difference.
The first step to developing a strong successful brand is to clearly identify, recognise and document your schools image. The following steps could help you in getting started on this process for your school:
Identifying your school’s brand
- What is at the heart of your school’s mission? Principals should first establish their school’s unique identity and values.
- Who is your audience? By understanding the demographic of your school community you can ensure your messaging is more effective.
- Involve the representatives of your executive, community and student body in any decision-making about your school’s image
- Don’t be afraid to seek external advice. Very few schools can fix their communications problems on their own.
At Principal we view each school as a unique brand. We help schools identify their uniqueness through our consultancy methodology. After consultation with the schools and all associated stakeholders, we develop and implement solutions that are unique to the school.
If required, we will also operate and manage these solutions in life on behalf of the school. What’s more the effectiveness of this is all completely accountable and measurable for the school. What we have found is that this model of collaborative working with schools leads to a natural symbiotic and mutually beneficial partnership with an ever growing number of schools.
Kris Hudswell, principal of Blackwell Public School, located in Sydney, told The Educator that her school had worked with Principal Creative Communications (PCC) for a number of years.
“Our initial discussions were around improving our communication and promoting our school, as well as how to provide our information to our school community” she said.
“Some of the factors we considered in this process were our school’s population, community and how best to address the needs of our school”.
Kris Hudswell added that, Principal helped her revamp the school’s logo, messaging and promotional materials which helped the school represent its benefits more directly to prospective parents.
“We also looked at the bigger picture of how to move the school into a digital age, which is becoming increasingly important given that so many parents are going online to look at what schools are offering”.
Mrs Hudswell said: “that raising the school’s profile can help ensure new parents are fully aware of what the school can offer”.
“We look at ourselves as the face of public education and work hard to tell parents exactly what we provide to our students both in and out of the classroom”, she said.
Roberto Omozusi is director of Principal Creative Communications (Principal), a communications and brand consultancy. Its mission is to help school principals create and execute a communications and/or marketing plan for their school. It has worked with over 90 schools so far.