‘Inspiring excellence and nurturing the individual’ – sound like your school? In our survey of the 500 largest independent schools in the UK, these words featured as some of the most (over)used.
You may say this is inevitable. There is, after all, a great deal of similarity in the ‘product’ independent schools are marketing. So it’s only to be expected that some words are used prolifically across the industry’s marketing, right?
Not really. One of our fundamental roles as marketeers is to position our offering in the market place for competitive advantage. Reverting to generic, overused messaging that does not differentiate us from other schools is a failure to find a unique perspective for your brand.
That’s not to say you should say something that isn’t true of course. Having an authentic brand is more important than ever – people can sense if something isn’t right.
I’m sure your school really does value the individual and does an excellent job of nurturing pupils. But what does that actually mean for your pupils? What twist does your school put on individuality that others don’t? And how can you say it in an original and interesting way that reflects your school’s unique personality?
As is so often the case in marketing, it all goes back to understanding your brand. If you have properly defined your purpose and explored how to best communicate and articulate it, then you should already have a toolbox of words that will clearly differentiate you from your key competitors. A good brand is as verbally engaging and exciting as it is visually.
Finding the right words isn’t easy, which is probably why so many schools sound alike. Creating a unique and captivating way to communicate what you’re about takes insight, creativity and – sometimes – bravery.
Here’s hoping more school headlines will themselves be ‘inspiring’, ‘excellent’, and ‘individual’ in the future.
The chart below shows the top 10 most used words in school marketing. We looked at the primary message on the homepage of each the of biggest 500 independent school in the UK, whether that be a headline or strap line.
52% of schools don’t have a primary message, and instead greet you with a generic phrase like ‘welcome to our school’. We’ve classed these schools as not saying anything.
- Educate / Education / Educating
- Inspire / Inspiring
- Excellent / Excellence
- Achieve / Achievement
- Learn / Learning
- Nurture / Nurtured
52% of schools say nothing at all