Great marketing has to be underpinned by strategic branding
I’ve never built a house but I know that without solid foundations I’d be on a hiding to nothing. Beautiful craftsmanship and an unlimited budget won’t save me – all my hard work will come crashing down without something solid to build on.
Marketing a school is no different. You can work hard, run beautiful campaigns and have the flashiest website on the block, but the heights you can reach will always be compromised without the foundations of a clear, strategic brand to underpin your efforts.
So how will strategic branding help you market your school more effectively and, frankly, make your job easier?
First, let’s be clear about what we mean by branding – it’s not just an aesthetic overhaul; it’s a deep, strategic examination of who you are as an organisation and why people should care. The aesthetic is how you express this to the world.
In a brand development exercise the branding agency will dig deep to discover what makes your school truly special and different. Your heritage and ambitions will be discussed, your audience and what they care about most examined, and the competitive landscape explored – all to find where you sit and what unique space you can own.
Branding experts use this knowledge to find a way to strategically and creatively connect with people on a deep, emotive level. They’ll discover what really makes you different and how to express this.
Once established, these foundations guide all of your marketing activities and ensure that everything you do pulls in the same direction. Picture your website, prospectuses, events, blogs and campaigns as the bricks, windows, doors, tiles and wardrobes that sit atop of your rock solid brand foundations.
When you come to set the brief for that next campaign you won’t be scratching your head about what to focus on. And you’ll be able to say no to random requests from (well-meaning) colleagues because they don’t align with the brand strategy. The scattergun approach of the past will be gone, with a clearly defined brand guiding your activities.
The money and time you invest into marketing efforts will go further and higher. You’ll hit fewer dead ends and gleam a greater sense of satisfaction that every project you work on is contributing to the bigger picture and making a difference.
I don’t know who coined the term ‘brand building’ but it was a stroke of genius. I can’t think of a better metaphor for what we as marketeers and creatives do, but we mustn’t forget that all good buildings need strong foundations.
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