As school districts become more focused on using digital technology to engage and communicate with parents, they have also begun to embrace the idea of creating a “brand” for their organizations. Many districts, for example, are using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to help them tell their story and build their brand.
Traditionally, branding has been an important process in the world of business. When you think of Walmart, for example, what do you think of? Low prices, constantly reinforced through the company’s “Always Low Prices” slogan. When you think of McDonalds, you think of cheap burgers, fries and shakes and the Golden Arches.
These are prime examples of the power of branding. A strong brand image helps a business or organization maintain some level of control over the way people perceive it.
How branding benefits schools, districts
In Wisconsin and across the country, public schools and districts find themselves competing for students and families with both public and private schools. Through effective branding, they can take control of their image and improve the way families view them.
School and district administrators know all the great things that are happening in their schools, so it’s important to be able to make those things a cornerstone the district’s brand. Here are a few tips:
- Know the message you want to communicate: Every school district has certain strengths and values. These should be key components of your district’s brand. If you have not already identified your district’s strengths and values, you should take some time to brainstorm and clearly define them. Your brand will be built on the things that make your district special.
- Have a unified message: Every teacher, faculty member and student in your district should be aware of your overarching message of your district—and have some buy-in to that message. Having a unified front will allow you to stay on message and continue telling your district’s story in positive ways.
- Create a brand unique to your district: If your message is too general, it will be ineffective, as it could get lost in the shuffle of what other districts are putting out there. Figure out what separates your district from its neighbors, and focus on those differentiating factors as you create your brand.
- Spread your message: Provide timely information with all the tools you are using to communicate with district parents and community members. These tools include social media, your website, blog posts and e-newsletters. Districts that are most successful with their branding efforts have adopted digital technologies to more effectively communicate with their stakeholders.
Developing a strong brand for your district should be a priority, as it will improve perceptions of your district and increase buy-in on a district-wide level. To learn more about how good branding and communications can increase engagement with stakeholders, reach out to the Donovan Group.