How Curriculum and Culture = Brand Experience [Podcast]


Peter Gow

One of the things I love about being involved with independent schools is seeing a constant influx of new talent, both in school administration and faculty. I also love being able to “rub elbows” with people who have spent their lives in independent schools. The latter certainly describes Peter Gow. Peter not only was born into a family of educators, he grew up on a boarding school campus, The Gow School in South Wales, NY, a school founded by his grandfather.

In his 40 years of working at independent schools Peter has accumulated knowledge and experience about a wide range of issues, and it’s his ability to connect these diverse subjects like curriculum, marketing, branding, admissions, school culture and classroom teaching that makes listening to him so fascinating.

Peter Gow is a founding board member of the Independent Curriculum Group. He has been a teacher, administrator, and college counselor and is an established writer, presenter, and consultant on education and school topics. Peter writes about issues ranging from innovation in curriculum and assessment, to professional development to school culture, management, and marketing. His books on education include An Admirable Faculty (NAIS, 2005), The Intentional Teacher (Avocus, 2009) and What Is A School? (Publish Green, 2011). (Find these and more of Peter's work on Amazon.)

Peter speaks to school leaders at national conference and to faculties in school workshops, as well as advises schools seeking to develop and implement optimal practices in curriculum and professional development. He has also played a bit in the sandbox of branding and messaging as an occasional adviser to professionals in the field and as co-author, with Carol Cheney, of the NAIS Messaging and Branding: A How To Guide (2010).


Peter Quoted

"Curriculum + Culture = The Brand Experience for Students and Families  — as well as for faculty and everyone else at the school."

"I don’t know of a single school that made the decision to start creating their own advanced level courses that has gone back to offering courses with the advanced placement designation."

"Don’t drop something called marketing and branding on teachers from above. The trick is to bring teachers in on the process, whether it’s in focus groups or ongoing conversations through to implementation."

"It takes 2-3 years to bring out the best in a kid, but we won't wait that long for marketing."

Marketing does not just serve the enrollment office or the development office, it has to serve the whole school — and the whole school has to serve that office.

"A branding or marketing initiative that doesn’t include teacher voices is probably going to get a few things wrong. It’s going to “guild the lily or two,” it’s going to miss a point or two, sometimes you’re going to end up putting lipstick on a pig. Teachers see this and feel it—they don’t want to be made into liars and they don’t want lies told about their school."

"The more a process goes forward with faculty voices in the conversation the more likely it is that what gets presented is authentic."

"Marketing does not just serve the enrollment office or the development office, it has to serve the whole school — and the whole school has to serve that office."

What you’ll learn

  • How curriculum and brand are interrelated.
  • Are school curriculum really innovative, and how best to talk about innovation in curriculum. (Hint: A makerspace doesn't make your school innovative.)
  • The difference between innovation and technology.
  • How the inclusion or retiring of AP courses affects a school’s brand.
  • How do AP courses fit or not fit into curriculums in 2017.
  • 5 questions to answer if your school is considering retiring AP courses.
  • Why the academic and marketing offices need to communicate with one another.
  • How the squirrel phenomenon and ROI weaken brands over time.
  • How to get faculty to become part of a branding process at your school.
  • Why branding is a long-term process and expecting a return on the investment in a short time timeframe is a mistake.


If you like this podcast, please sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss the next one!

Related Podcasts