Branding, Marketing & Communication in Education Sector

Embrace or get left behind!/ Miss out and be left out!
Marketing and branding of educational institutes should reflect their ability to change people’s lives and the world, says ANUSHKA YADAV

We tend to believe that branding, marketing and communication are important factors in any field until we put them in the education context. While branding can be dated back to 1100 BC, school branding is a relatively new concept that surfaced in the early 1800s. Today, parents and children are the customers while other schools stand as competitors in the business-like market. Gone are the days when parents had a handful of schools to select from; today, they want their kids to go to schools that have the best of everything. But how do they get to know that they are getting the absolute best of education? This is where an institution’s strong brand identity comes in. To become the best, schools need to develop and market their brand which makes them stand out in the race of vying for students and, in some cases, funding.

Effective communication

It is time that we, as educational institutions, ask relevant questions… Do we have a strong and recognisable brand? Does our institution have a reputation that generates a positive emotional response? While considering such questions, it is imperative that we evaluate the value and unique selling propositions of the institution as well as what negates and drives the customer.

However, the key to branding and marketing of educational institutions lies in remembering that education is a powerful tool. Your brand communicates to and with your audience. They deserve to know the vision behind your institution reflecting through the brand identity. It promises what the student experience will be like.

Here comes the question, whether major institutions with a deeply-ingrained brand need marketing. Of course, they do. Just like the infrastructure of any school needs renovation, their brands need renovation and touch up with the changing times.

Today, school branding is about finding the institution’s unique competitive advantage. However, many schools struggle as they develop their own communications department that often ends up delivering messy messages. Effective message delivering requires the entire faculty along with leadership to commit as one voice to the brand promise. Proper branding, marketing and communication help students to decide whether the school is a potential match to their requirements. Without branding, the same institutions tend to suffer and get lost amongst typically similar schools.

Making a difference

In a world where information is readily available on just a click, parents and students tend to search for the best institutes on the internet. Being the birth-right of every child, parents should know which school to choose for quality education.

The world wide web and social media have been major marketing development of the last decade. From adding SEO content on your website to showcasing your campus and available facilities through social media platforms, everything makes a difference! It is the perfect way to blossom an open persona and present your school as a place that is open to criticism, scrutiny, transparency and easy communication. Nonetheless, schools often tend to fall in the trap of branding through mere websites, brochures and even tours. However, brand development is a key ingredient that is often missing. Brand development is possible only when branding missteps are avoided, and how do you cross these hurdles? Showcase your brand in education magazines and work on your brand development through advertising companies such as Mad About Ed, which would help you achieve the right student demographics by creating a brand that stands out in a crowded market.

Key branding elements

Talking about key ingredients, you might want to know the key elements to school branding…

First and foremost, school branding is nothing without the school name which may include the full or partial or even an acronym that the school is or wants to be popularly known as., as seen in this image, it helps to have a visual representation of the school that identifies the school brand through a mascot or logo. Schools may even choose to have an interlocking logo with two or more letter interlocking to form an alternative logo or identity. An important element that has been given much importance in recent years includes a trademarked logo with movement. Another important part of this element also includes the school colours that an institution might choose as a form of recognition.
Thirdly, a school’s vision is best represented through a careful selection of words in its motto, catchphrase or tagline. The branding slogan is typically used to create a memorable phrase that summarises the school’s and its pupil’s character; something that unites them. As seen in the image above, The Emmbrook School’s motto Learning Together: Succeeding Together helps in establishing its brand identity, history and character. Foremost, branding should focus on principles, practices, and pedagogy along with these key elements rather than making false promises or focusing on material additions. Have you made an impact on children and nurtured several young minds? Talk about that! Have you been in the field for many years? Talk about this achievement. Do you respect your teachers and pay them for their hard work? Focus on that.

Branding and marketing benefits

Amidst a plethora of benefits of branding and marketing in the education sector, here are a few major ones:
  • It reflects and increases school and student pride.
  • It builds brand trust and loyalty.
  • It unifies school sports and clubs to a single identifiable logo or mascot.
  • It validates the school’s mission and core values; further, establishing the school’s history.
  • It provides the school with discernible identification and recognition.
  • It aligns with the school’s internal culture and external reputation.
  • It establishes authenticity and helps in creating an emotional connect.

It is an established fact that education is big business in today’s world; if schools expect parents and students to spend big bucks on tuition, it is a necessity for them to have a strong, appealing and worthy brand with effective marketing through bona fide communication. Keep your customer (parents and children) happy and invest in the right materials for a holistic learning and educational experience.

Thus, the key to marketing and branding educational institutes is to target and showcase everything you do; education is a powerful tool that has the ability to change people’s lives and the world, and your marketing should reflect that with crystal clarity.

Blog post filed by the Editorial Team of Scoonews - India's Most Preferred Education Platform

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