It seems that when brand messaging is new and fresh, private school communications are teeming with the stuff — garnering buzz and excitement with internal and external audiences. “How great is this? It’s working! It’s working!”
Most private schools build on this energy and take the brand to greater heights year after year, and their enrollment, retention, fundraising, hiring, and more are all the better for it.
But for some, a year after launch, the brand messaging is all but absent in the school’s voice, both verbal and written.
Did the school…
A. lose momentum,
B. lose their way,
C. lack a brand steward,
D. lack leadership support,
E. lack motivation,
F. lack resources,
E. any or all of the above?
The answer is “E.”
Commit for the Long Haul
Depending on the answer(s) to “What Happened?,” it means the school wasn’t prepared for or didn’t commit to brand messaging for the long-term. This is disheartening, but, more importantly, it’s a waste of time and money for the entire school community to invest in brand development only to have it disappear after one or two years of implementation.
How It Happens
It’s easy for private schools to lose their way without a strong brand steward. It’s likely a strong brand steward will lose momentum without leadership support. Leadership will lose drive without powerful motivation, belief in private school marketing, and an investment in resources to assure success.
New Directors Gone Rogue
There’s another reason private schools become brand-message drop-outs. On occasion, a school hires a new Director of Marketing Communications who goes rogue and sets out branding the school on his/her own. If the school has a strong brand in place that is effective, new hires should take a year to learn the community before making changes. After that, it’s appropriate for the Director of Marketing Communications to assess the existing brand, look for places to improve it, and, perhaps, make the case for re-branding. Making a career mark is less important than protecting the school’s hard-earned brand.
Don’t Drop Out
Don’t become a brand message drop-out. Steward your brand for the long haul to give it time to get a foothold and work its magic.
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Master Electrician, InspirED School Marketers
Master Electrician isn’t just a fun title for me. It’s how I feel about sparking school marketers to do their best work, connecting them to one another, and helping to make their jobs easier. In 1991, I founded Turnaround Marketing Communications, a branding and marketing firm that serves independent schools exclusively. After working with close to 100 schools, I realized that school marketers needed a marketing and communications community to call their own — a place where they can find brilliant ideas and brain food to take their school marketing to the next level and feel supported in their jobs. InspirED School Marketers was born in 2014 to fill that void and with the help of my fabulous Best Boy, Rob, we are on a quest to make InspirED a resource you can't live without.