Your school's brand is its calling card to the outside world: it's how you're identified and remembered. When somebody sees your logo or your school colors, it immediately evokes an emotion in them, whether that's admiration, indifference or something else depends on your reputation and how you have marketed yourself.
With so many schools offering top-notch education, your brand is your chance to differentiate your school from the crowd. You have to ask yourself how you want your school to be perceived, and then translate that into your school's branding.
It is your most identifiable feature and the first thing a parent will recognize — and that's why it is so important to get it right.
Your Brand Creates an Identity
For those unfamiliar with your school, branding helps you create a personality that aligns with your core purpose, helping those unaccustomed with your school to build trust in it. After all, parents will most likely choose a school that reflects their values and can cater to their children's needs. But without an effective brand in place, it's very difficult for these parents to connect with the school on the necessary level to sway them into admission.
Your Brand is Your First Impression
You only have one chance to make a strong first impression on your prospective families, so you need to make sure you're representing your school in a way that conveys your values and prestige. Consistency is of paramount importance for this. Once you establish a logo and motto, it should appear across all your school's materials, both digital and print. This means that all of your promotional material that you send out in your recruitment drive, such as prospectus' and brochures should convey the same message as that of your website. This consistency helps to convey a strong school brand, one that looks and feels established, and one that is much easier to trust.
Your Brand Can Build Trust
In any business, customers trust strong brands, and the education sector is no different. Schools with a well-known reputation for excellence in education are inherently trusted by parents and students. That's not to say that if you're not especially well-known as a school that you're in trouble, it simply goes to show the importance of establishing your brand.
As you can probably imagine, a strong brand is going to help with your recruitment drive, especially if your school's brand is stronger than your competition, as you will be able to steal market share. On the other hand, if your school does not have a strong brand affiliation that people can associate with, you risk a detrimental effect on your establishment; namely a bad reputation or no reputation at all.
Good Branding Sells Your School
Apart from the obvious benefits of greater exposure and increased admissions, your branding helps to develop the uniqueness of your school offering. This surrounds your USP (Unique Selling Point) — also known as your value proposition.
The way to differentiate your brand from other schools is to incorporate your uniqueness into it; whether that is your history, your grounds, your academic prowess or anything else, building your brand around its key attributes will help to sell your school to parents looking for those particular features.
Analyze what your school does best, consider what your target parent demographic wants in their school, and combine the two in your branding; your styling, tonality and outbound communications should all be consistent.
At the end of the day, a brand is important because it is your identifiable feature, the way that everyone recognizes your school. It helps cement relationships with parents who know of you, as they tend to trust more established brands. It helps your recruitment drive as it differentiates your school from others, and it helps to increase your school's exposure as parents and pupils are able to assign a particular image and color scheme to your institution.
Before you begin any of your school marketing, make sure your branding is in place and solidified as it serves as the backbone for what you say, how you say it, and what it looks like.