Are You Marketing with Branding Clichés?

Each year our two school age children receive a number of admissions solicitations from private schools. My husband attended an independent school, and both of us work at a private school. As a result, our family is “low hanging fruit,” so to speak, for independent school marketing efforts. Our Middle Schooler received one such letter a few weeks ago. The piece ended with,

“ … some other fun activities that we have are band, chorus, orchestra, and math club. We think [our school] is the best place!” 

Without missing a beat, my son commented, “But Mom, we have band, chorus, orchestra, and math club at my school. Why would I change?” It was an Aha moment — out of the mouths of babes.

The independent school market is crowded, and the ability to distinguish your school from the pack is crucial. Clichés abound, and today’s discerning kids are not fooled. What sets your school apart?

As an experiment, I perused forty different independent school websites. The words, phrases, or ideas listed below appeared on the home pages of at least five, if not more, of those I visited.

Potential (Maximize, Optimize, Embrace)
Foster (Independence, Leadership, Growth)
Success (Achieve, Inspire, Deliver)
Individualized or One-on-one (Program or Approach)
Empowering
Diverse Learners
Transforming Lives or Changing Lives
Academically Rigorous Curriculum
Community
Innovative
Progressive

Does your school use unique and captivating brand messages, or are you just repeating the same messages as everyone else?