What are parents and community members saying about your school? Branding is so much more than your logo, your website and your mission statement. Think BIGGER! What is your school’s story? What makes your school special? That special sauce is your brand. Check out the following five innovageous ideas that can help you authentically and intentionally build your school’s brand.
1. Define What Makes Your School Different
The first step is to figure out what is special about your school. What is something that your school offers that can’t be found in other places? Is it your career-integration strategies? Your service-learning instruction methodology? Your robust after school program offerings? The diversity of your staff and student body? If you’re not sure - ask! Survey students, parents and staff about why they chose to be a part of your school community, and what they love best about it.
2. Lean Into Your School Mission & Values
Remember that actions speak louder than words. Having a mission statement and core values up on your website doesn’t mean anything if these concepts are not living and breathing when you walk through the hallways or are present in the classrooms and schoolyard. Your actions and practices should be so aligned with these values that they could be guessed or assumed by a stranger who is visiting your campus for the first time with no previous knowledge about your school. They should be seen and felt through the school pledge, in the uniforms (if applicable), in school decor, and the way that students and staff interact with each other.
3. Be Student-Focused
Student success is something that all educators want to celebrate. What qualitative and quantitative metrics already exist to represent your school’s areas of pride? Think beyond test scores. How many high quality community partnerships does your school have? What is your student and staff retention rate? What awards, recognition and/or opportunities are your students receiving? Sharing these successes through your regular newsletters, on social media, on your website, and during campus visits, not only spreads positivity and makes everyone feel good, but it also helps tell the story about what type of student attends your school and what opportunities are possible.
4. Be Intentional & Consistent
The integration of this tip might be more obvious when it comes to school colors, fonts, shapes, etc., but you need to take it beyond these things. Make sure that there is a clean and consistent newsletter layout and a regular social media posting schedule. Be sure the notebooks you're purchasing for new students have your school pledge inside. Think about word choice and how community members are speaking about your school. Not just how you are representing the school on your website, social media, school newsletters and recruitment materials, but also at parent teacher conferences and when students are on field trips in the greater community.
5. Tell Your Story
Elevate the voices of your community. Make sure that you are hearing from parents, students and staff directly and sharing from their perspective directly. Record video interviews with your key stakeholders. Use direct quotes to share their experience. Engage school alumni to come back and share how their experience at your school impacted their future. This storytelling is what connects members of your community and helps folks relate to and internalize others’ experiences.
Leveraging the power of storytelling to share what is special about your school can make all the difference in building your brand, and bringing in the students, families, faculty and staff that are the best fit for your school. If you need help telling your story or if you’re not sure where to start, Innovageous is here to help! Reach out to us at email@example.com.