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There’s no doubt about it, independent education is a ‘premium product’. Think of any premium product where a customer is paying thousands of pounds for a product or service – Rolex, Mercedes or Swarovski for example. The words that spring to mind might include prestige, quality, excellence, heritage and luxury.

So, why then do some schools still insist on utilising their teachers’ precious time to create homespun-looking event programmes, coffee morning invitations or summer fete posters? Worse still, why do they always use Word to create said items and unfailingly choose Comic Sans for the font?

Cost will play a big part in this. Along with a large dose of not thinking about every aspect of their school offering as a premium product.

Ask yourself this. Which of the below flyers reflects an organisation that is a leading independent girls prep school?  

(School names have been removed)

BPS activate old BPS activate new

THEN ask yourself: are YOUR school’s marketing communications reflecting your school as a premium brand?

Before you answer this, let’s firstly consider what a brand is. Is it just a logo? No, it’s so much more than this. A logo (or crest, or school name) is simply a visual snapshot of what your school stands for. Whereas, your actual brand is what someone feels, sees and experiences when they interact with your school on any level; it is the image behind what your school believes in and strives to accomplish. It takes time and effort for your school brand to represent something powerful. Sadly, it takes very little to undermine it.

Your branding is simply a shortcut for the mind to everything that your school stands for

So, back to that question. Are your marketing communications reflecting your school as a premium brand? Also, are your marketing communications reflecting the personality and values of your school? Furthermore, is your brand consistent across everything your school does? If you’re hesitating at answering any of the above, you may need some external support in helping you to get these things in order. Why not treat yourself to a brief audit of your school communications to check if your school branding is at the top of its game?

Every touchpoint matters

  • Website – Look at the PDF attachments (e.g., policy documents, curriculum booklets, admissions forms, parent areas). If documents are popping up in different formats, differing fonts or featuring old versions of the school crest, then it’s essential to correct this and make everything consistent.
  • Newsletters as we’ve acknowledged, some schools adore Comic Sans! But is it appropriate for the school newsletter and parent communications to be in this simplistic typeface? Instead, invest in a suite of templates that represent your school as it deserves to be. Getting this ‘look and feel’ right is incredibly important in building your school’s profile and positioning it appropriately. It also offers many benefits, illustrated by our Wheel of Benefits (below).
  • Posters, flyers, notices – Your school crest, name and/or logo is important. Have one clean, up-to-date version of it available to those who need access to it in school. Create clear guidelines for its use, including size, position, colour (and consider having a black and white version for cost-saving in print). Operate a zero-tolerance policy on items that deviate from the guidelines!
  • Design & print quality – school budgets are tight, but for special events, Open Mornings and important marketing communications to prospective and current families, it is well worth having quality printed items that stand out from the crowd. Have such items professionally designed and printed – everyone really WILL notice the difference.

We’re here to help. At Stickman, we love clean, fresh branding that is memorable, and represents the essence of a school. We help schools to make the most of their premium brand across marketing and communication, research and marketing strategy.

The Stickman Wheel of Benefits: what great marketing & communications can do for your school

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If YOUR school would like insight-led, sector-specialist support, or if you’d like to know more about any aspect of our services, simply get in touch.

Karen

School Marketing & Research Consultant and Chief Cheerleader, The Stickman Consultancy

 

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