This week’s EduTech School Marketing Masterclass, run by American school marketing academic, author and high school teacher Dr Arnaud Prevot, highlighted the need for schools to capture and share their school’s ‘stories’.
Dr Prevot reiterated that all marketing should be authentic communication, and a never-ending process of making the school experience better for everyone involved, even after people have left.
All marketers know the 7Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning, & People. But in the school arena they can be categorised as: Program offerings, Promotional materials, Tuition & fees, Geographical location, Positioning, Buildings, Families & Staff.
And for marketing purposes, the most important aspects to be communicated to your audience in each of these categories are your school’s ‘Points of Difference’.
How your school is different from all the others is why parents choose to send their kids to you.
But, how do you communicate these Points of Difference?
Dr Pervot shared research on which platforms and avenues of communication were most effective, but essentially it is a combination of most of them that got results. So, the channels of message delivery were not that important, what did prove to be very important was, the message – the stories.
What stories can your school share, to demonstrate your points of difference? It is best to show, rather than tell.
This is an opportunity to be proactive with the narrative, rather than reactive to bad press. You can craft the image of your school in the minds of your audience and they can see themselves as participants in your school’s story.
Whether you are a religious school, a sporty or arty school, or a high-achieving academic school, share the personal stories of your school’s activities, wins, loses and perspectives, to develop your school’s personality in your audience’s minds eye.
For example, an academic school in Melbourne started a Robotics club in an effort to give the ‘nerds’ a place to go during lunch & after school to avoid the bullies. What started off as a safe-haven for a few kids turned into many successful teams, including old-boys, winning robotics competitions locally & nationally. This is a multitude of stories, important on so many levels, for so many stakeholders. It demonstrates a school proactive in their strategies to address an insidious trend in bullying. The teachers dedicate extra time to stimulate new interests in their current and past students. Friendships and bonds were strengthened and a sharing of knowledge between young and old was encouraged. Whether you are a parent, teacher, student, faculty, alumni, or the general public, you could paint yourself into this picture and imagine wanting to be a part of that school’s story.
Sharing your school’s stories with your students, their families, and the community is powerful authentic communication on your school’s personality, culture, and points of difference. This will keep your school commercially viable, and competitive when seeking the best staff. Not to mention resilient, when things go wrong.
By Carey Furze
Bookformis an online resource for schools to collect and share their stories into print & digital books, for education, culture development and fund-raising.