Taking Control of the Message: The ABCs of Branding Your School

7,892 views
7,771 views

Published on

You probably appreciate the value of strengthening your school’s brand, but it may be difficult to know where to start. In addition to defining some of the key concepts of branding, this presentation will include a process for articulating your school’s brand and for aligning your messages to support your admissions and fundraising goals. It will include case studies of recent branding and messaging projects for schools and other not-for-profit organizations, including our work with AISNE defining a brand for the category “independent schools.”

Published in: Education, Business
0 Comments
20 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
7,892
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
4
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
78
Comments
0
Likes
20
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • The brand map is a tool or guide to help clarify your brand.
  • parents in this segment are less likely to agree that “ Independent school teachers excel in challenging students and helping them enjoy learning.” and “An independent school education is a worthwhile investment in my child’s future.” .
  • parents in this segment are less likely to agree that “ Independent school teachers excel in challenging students and helping them enjoy learning.” and “An independent school education is a worthwhile investment in my child’s future.” .
  • It’s about engagement
  • Taking Control of the Message: The ABCs of Branding Your School

    1. 1. Taking Control of the Message:  The ABCs of Branding Your School
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Corey McPherson Nash </li></ul><ul><li>What is a Brand? </li></ul><ul><li>Why Invest in Branding Now? </li></ul><ul><li>From Brand to Message </li></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Corey McPherson Nash
    4. 4. <ul><li>Corey McPherson Nash </li></ul><ul><li>THOUGHTFUL BRANDING AND DESIGN </li></ul><ul><li>We help organizations create distinctive, compelling brands through communications and design </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare </li></ul><ul><li>Culture and entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging business </li></ul>
    5. 5. Who We Are – Representative Clients
    6. 6. Who We Are – Representative Schools
    7. 7. What is a Brand?
    8. 8. What is a Brand? <ul><li>“ Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” </li></ul><ul><li>– Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, Amazon </li></ul>
    9. 9. What is a Brand? <ul><li>Your brand is NOT your logo. </li></ul><ul><li>(Although your logo is an important component of your brand expression.) </li></ul>
    10. 10. What is a Brand? <ul><li>Your brand IS your reputation. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s what people think when they hear your name. </li></ul>
    11. 11. What is a Brand? <ul><li>Branding is the activity of intentionally shaping the perceptions of your audiences to advance your organization. </li></ul>
    12. 12. What is a Brand? <ul><li>“ Intentionally shaping” does not mean “lying.” </li></ul><ul><li>It does mean taking charge of the messages that you can control. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Why Invest in Branding Now?
    14. 14. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>Enrollment challenges: </li></ul><ul><li>After decades of growth, school-age populations in the Northeast are projected to decline. Independent school populations decreased 1% between 1993 and 2006 and are expected to decline an additional 2% between 2006 and 2018. </li></ul><ul><li>–  “ Projections of Education Statistics to 2018,” Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics </li></ul>
    15. 15. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>Fundraising challenges: </li></ul><ul><li>Due to recent economic conditions, philanthropic donations are projected to decline 9% in 2009, compared with a 6.5% increase in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>– The Chronicle of Philanthropy , October 26, 2009 </li></ul>
    16. 16. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>In this environment, you need to make the strongest possible case for your school. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>That means: knowing what your audiences think, knowing what you want them to think, and then developing a system of behaviors and communications to close that gap. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>If you don’t manage your brand, your audience will. </li></ul><ul><li>That may work out if you are really good – and really lucky. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>If you do manage your brand, you will build brand equity. </li></ul><ul><li>Brand equity is the value of your brand as a brand; i.e. over and above all the experiences you deliver to your audiences. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Why Invest in Branding Now? <ul><li>If you do manage your brand, you will build brand equity. </li></ul><ul><li>Brand equity = consistent delivery + consistent communications + time </li></ul>
    21. 21. Criteria for a Great Brand RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE DIFFERENTIATED Why should I care? How are you different or better? Is the value worth the cost?
    22. 22. From Brand to Message
    23. 23. From Brand to Message <ul><li>Promise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What you say you will do for your audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Position </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What differentiates you from your peers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How you deliver your services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Permission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What your brand should and should not do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Permanence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The essential attributes of your brand </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. From Brand to Message <ul><li>Value Proposition = Features + Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Features = offering, list of services </li></ul><ul><li>Functional Benefits = What does it do for me? </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional Benefits = How does it make me feel? </li></ul><ul><li>Self-expressive Benefits = What does it say about me? </li></ul>
    25. 25. From Brand to Message <ul><li>Messaging is the language you use to express your brand. </li></ul><ul><li>Your brand attributes should inform your messages to each audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Your internal audience – staff, faculty, trustees – may be your most important audience. </li></ul>
    26. 26. From Brand to Message: Message Architecture A promise is the pledge companies make to their customers about what they will experience when they do business with you. A position of a brand is the benefit that sets your brand apart; it is what you want to exist in the minds of consumers (e.g., Volvo = safe). This position provides a competitive advantage. A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. The more specific your value proposition is, the better. FIRST EXTERNAL SECOND EXTERNAL INTERNAL PROMISE POSITION VALUE PROPOSITION PRIMARY MESSAGES
    27. 27. Process
    28. 28. Brand Strategy Strategic Plan <ul><li>Vision & Mission </li></ul><ul><li>Goals & Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Market Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Business Model </li></ul>Brand Strategy <ul><li>Brand Perception </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Promise </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Position </li></ul><ul><li>Value Proposition </li></ul><ul><li>Messaging Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Personas </li></ul>Execution <ul><li>Visual Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Online Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Print Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Community Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Spaces </li></ul>
    29. 29. The CMN Process
    30. 30. Immerse <ul><ul><li>Planning and Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The plan should inform the research and the research should inform the plan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can never do enough research – but a little research is better than no research. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research is a way to see your organization from the perspective of your audience. </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. Case Studies
    32. 32. Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
    33. 33. Our History with BB&N <ul><li>Corey History with BB&N: </li></ul><ul><li>1998–2008: Design of print and online communications for admissions, campaign fundraising, parent communications, social media </li></ul><ul><li>2008-2009: Comprehensive rebranding of the school with new messaging, identity, print and Internet communications grounded in research </li></ul>
    34. 34. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Communications Issues: </li></ul><ul><li>No consensus on the attributes that differentiate BB&N from peer schools </li></ul><ul><li>No coordinated effort to assure that everyone is speaking about BB&N in the same way </li></ul><ul><li>External perception that BB&N is narrowly academic and rigorous at every level </li></ul><ul><li>The value of three separate campuses and the common culture that ties them together </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear on how to talk about athletics at BB&N </li></ul><ul><li>Disconnect between admissions communications and alumni/ae communications </li></ul><ul><li>Inherent challenge of communicating about pre-K through 12 </li></ul>
    35. 35. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Process: </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews with BB&N audiences: staff, faculty, students, parents and alumni/ae </li></ul><ul><li>Develop user personas of parents and alumni/ae </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a brand strategy and message architecture that aligns with the goals of the school and is relevant, distinctive and sustainable. </li></ul><ul><li>Create visual and written communications that deliver the message in an appropriate form. </li></ul>
    36. 36. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>What we learned: </li></ul><ul><li>While the Upper School is very academically challenging, the Lower and Middle Schools are “developmentally appropriate” </li></ul><ul><li>The location of the schools on three separate campuses helps to reinforce the distinctive approach of each school </li></ul><ul><li>BB&N does a great job of recruiting – and supporting – a diverse group of families </li></ul><ul><li>For students, the location near Harvard Square is a huge plus </li></ul>
    37. 37. Message Architecture The pledge you make to those you serve about what they will experience by choosing your organization. The benefit that sets your brand apart. It is what you want to exist in the minds of those you serve. It is your competitive advantage. A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results one receives by taking advantage of your offer. FIRST EXTERNAL SECOND EXTERNAL INTERNAL PROMISE POSITION VALUE PROPOSITION PRIMARY MESSAGES
    38. 38. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Brand Promise </li></ul><ul><li>BB&N engages boys and girls in grades pre-K through 12 in a rich, invigorating, and developmentally appropriate educational experience of the highest quality, opening their minds to new possibilities while providing outstanding preparation for the next steps in their lives. </li></ul>
    39. 39. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Brand Position </li></ul><ul><li>Located near Harvard Square in Cambridge, BB&N is a coeducational day school for grades pre-K through 12 that engages students in an intense, vibrant, and multifaceted education. Bright, curious students from a broad range of backgrounds and with a broad range of interests learn from gifted faculty and from each other as they embrace the challenges of a premier educational experience. </li></ul>
    40. 40. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Value Proposition </li></ul><ul><li>In BB&N’s close-knit school community and motivating learning environment, students develop the intellectual skills and qualities of character that enable them to reach their fullest potential as learners and as people. </li></ul>
    41. 41. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Messages for: </li></ul><ul><li>Prospective Lower School Parents </li></ul><ul><li>Prospective Middle School Parents </li></ul><ul><li>Prospective Upper School Parents </li></ul><ul><li>Prospective Upper School Students </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni/ae </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty and Staff </li></ul><ul><li>Role of Athletics at BB&N </li></ul>
    42. 42. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Primary Message to Prospective Middle School Parents </li></ul><ul><li>At BB&N students flourish during this crucial time of transition. The school taps their natural spontaneity, curiosity, and creativity through a rich and varied range of experiences inside and outside the classroom. They develop trust for teachers and other adult role models who care about them and know how to bring out their best. Students build a firm foundation for success in the Upper School and beyond. </li></ul>
    43. 43. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Primary Message about the Role of Athletics at BB&N </li></ul><ul><li>Interscholastic athletics at BB&N – like all BB&N programs – embody the core values of the school. Athletic competition enables students to practice integrity, to achieve personal growth, to assume responsibility, to learn the lessons taught by victory and defeat, and to give their very best efforts while working together as members of a team toward a shared goal. </li></ul>
    44. 44. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>The Big Idea: </li></ul><ul><li>BB&N = “Messy vitality” </li></ul>
    45. 45. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Capture the energy and vitality of learning at BB&N </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a louder voice and more aggressive tone than in the past </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use bold documentary-style photography to show engaged interaction – teachers and students, students and students –to show that learning is a contact sport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use typography and language to communicate a smart and spirited confidence about ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture the Cambridge intellectual vibe – and not just through pictures of the surroundings </li></ul></ul>
    46. 46. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Communicate the compassionate and supportive nature of BB&N, but in ways that don’t compromise the high standards of performance. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The imagery and language for the Lower School convey a warm and supportive environment without being cloyingly sweet. (Not every child needs to be smiling.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show small groups of kids studying together or socializing in each of the campuses or at Harvard Square. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show the diversity of the student population in all settings. </li></ul></ul>
    47. 47. BB&N Integrated Communications <ul><li>Leverage what is unique about BB&N. Avoid making it look like just another New England prep school. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Showcase its distinctive characteristics , such as the Cambridge location and “urban vibe,” the three campuses, and the the traditions, such as Bivouac, the Senior Tiles, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Celebrate difference in people, ideas, interests – allow the school’s eclectic, creative, at-times quirky nature to show through. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address the issue of character-building subtly. (“We don’t teach character, we model it.”) rather than explicitly. (“At XYZ School we build strong character in all our students.”) </li></ul></ul>
    48. 48. BB&N Integrated Communications
    49. 49. BB&N Integrated Communications
    50. 50. BB&N Integrated Communications
    51. 51. BB&N Integrated Communications
    52. 52. BB&N Integrated Communications
    53. 53. BB&N Integrated Communications
    54. 54. Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
    55. 55. AISNE Messaging and Web Communications <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>2007–2008 Maguire Associates conducted research for AISNE on perceptions of independent schools by families in New England </li></ul><ul><li>2009 AISNE developed a plan to serve AISNE members by using the AISNE Web site as a resource for communicating the value of independent schools and for connecting families with the right schools for their children </li></ul>
    56. 56. AISNE Branding and Messaging <ul><li>Communications Issues: </li></ul><ul><li>The branding and messaging challenge is not primarily AISNE. AISNE is not relevant to the larger audience of families seeking independent schools for their children. </li></ul><ul><li>The branding and messaging challenge is the category: Independent (Private) Schools. </li></ul>
    57. 57. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>Two most important findings: </li></ul><ul><li>Independent schools are viewed as offering the highest quality educational experience among all the options – public, parochial and independent. </li></ul><ul><li>The largest barrier for families in considering independent schools is the high cost. </li></ul>
    58. 58. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>Other important findings: </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to being expensive, the biggest perceived negatives are: </li></ul><ul><li>Not as “diverse” as public schools </li></ul><ul><li>Poor options for transportation (distance from home) </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough religious education (compared to parochial schools) </li></ul>
    59. 59. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>What this means for branding Independent Schools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent schools are expensive because high quality education (small classes, skilled teachers, personal attention, etc.) is expensive. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students at independent schools come from many different backgrounds. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial assistance can make the cost manageable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The value of independent school education is worth the financial stretch. </li></ul></ul>
    60. 60. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>Audience Segments: </li></ul><ul><li>Cluster analysis identifies five different segments among the survey respondents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Choir </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willing to Stretch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fence Sitters with Means </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do Not Recognize Value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feel Priced Out </li></ul></ul>
    61. 61. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>What it means to Independent Schools: </li></ul><ul><li>According to the research, the attitudes of the Fence Sitters with Means cluster aligns (though at a slightly lower level) with The Choir and Willing to Stretch except for perceiving cost as a barrier. </li></ul><ul><li>Since cost is the largest barrier to consideration for all clusters, and since The Choir and Willing to Stretch are groups who feel most strongly that the value justifies the cost, the greatest short-term opportunity for conversion is among the Fence Sitters with Means. </li></ul>
    62. 62. Summary of Research Findings on Independent Schools <ul><li>What it means to Independent Schools: </li></ul><ul><li>Converting Feel Priced Out and Do Not Recognize the Value into independent school families would require a massive and costly marketing effort. On price, you are competing with FREE. (Or even worse, I already paid for it!) </li></ul><ul><li>The fact is that most independent schools do rely on most families paying full tuition and fees, so on cost, the gap between perception and reality is narrow. </li></ul><ul><li>The best long-term strategy will be to continue to communicate the high quality and the high ROI for the independent school student and their families. </li></ul>
    63. 63. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Brand Challenge No. 1: </li></ul><ul><li>Cost. How do independent schools compete with “free”? (Or worse, “My property taxes already paid for this.”) </li></ul>
    64. 64. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Brand Challenge No. 2: </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism. How do independent schools counter the out-of-date perception that independent schools are only for the wealthy? </li></ul>
    65. 65. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Brand Challenge No. 3: </li></ul><ul><li>Homogeneity. How do independent schools communicate the wide spectrum of choice among schools? </li></ul>
    66. 66. Brand Map
    67. 67. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Core: </li></ul><ul><li>Privately funded </li></ul><ul><li>Board governed </li></ul><ul><li>Academically challenging </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on individual student </li></ul><ul><li>Safe </li></ul>
    68. 68. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools Personality:
    69. 69. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Features: </li></ul><ul><li>Diverse approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Low student/faculty ratio </li></ul><ul><li>Family involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Physically safe </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility in academic approach </li></ul>
    70. 70. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Functional Benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare students academically for the next level </li></ul><ul><li>Safe environment for trying new things </li></ul><ul><li>Address individual students’ learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a strong community outside the family </li></ul><ul><li>Offer more opportunities for leadership and activities outside of the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Offer more choices </li></ul>
    71. 71. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Emotional Benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>Safe, supportive environment for students to be themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence to try new things </li></ul><ul><li>Strong relationships with adults as well as fellow students </li></ul><ul><li>Part of a community </li></ul><ul><li>More informed about what your child is learning in school </li></ul>
    72. 72. Branding Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Self-expressive Benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>We are doing the right thing by our child </li></ul><ul><li>We are making a smart investment </li></ul><ul><li>We are aligned with a community of people who share our commitment to good education </li></ul><ul><li>We are offering our children the best opportunity to have a successful and fulfilling life </li></ul>
    73. 73. Message Architecture A promise is the pledge organizations make to their audiences about what they will experience when they engage with you. A position of a brand is the benefit that sets your brand apart; it is what you want to exist in the minds of your audiences (e.g., Volvo = safe). This position provides a competitive advantage. A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results your audiences receive from using your products or services. FIRST EXTERNAL SECOND EXTERNAL INTERNAL PROMISE POSITION VALUE PROPOSITION PRIMARY MESSAGES
    74. 74. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Brand Promise: </li></ul><ul><li>Independent schools provide each child the experiences and opportunities for growth and life-long relationships that are the foundation for a rich and meaningful life. </li></ul>
    75. 75. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Brand Position: </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Schools = </li></ul><ul><li>More choices for your family, more opportunities for your child </li></ul>
    76. 76. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Value Proposition: </li></ul><ul><li>With the belief in the value of a great education, independent schools offer a choice of options that align with your principles and suit the particular intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of your family – and your child. </li></ul>
    77. 77. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Primary Message to Fence Sitter with Means: </li></ul><ul><li>The education of your child is one of your most important responsibilities, and New England provides many options for you to explore. Independent schools in New England provide opportunities for your child to discover their interests and nurture their talents in a safe, supportive and challenging environment. With their small class sizes, dedicated teachers and focus on building good character and developing the qualities of leadership in a safe, supportive community, independent schools attract families of all backgrounds who believe that education is key to a successful and rewarding life. </li></ul>
    78. 78. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Primary Message to Willing to Stretch: </li></ul><ul><li>You understand the many benefits that an independent school education can offer to families – small class sizes, passionate teachers and a focus on on building good character and developing the qualities of leadership. And in New England there is a wide choice of schools that provide outstanding opportunities for your child to discover their interests and nurture their talents in a safe, supportive and challenging environment and to succeed on the next level. </li></ul>
    79. 79. Messaging Recommendations: Independent Schools <ul><li>Primary Message to Ninth Grade Student: </li></ul><ul><li>In New England, you can find an independent school that would be a great fit for you. You would find students from all backgrounds, great teachers that would engage you both inside and outside of the classroom, and more opportunities to pursue your interests in a place where kids like you are encouraged and supported. Explore the options, and ask your family if they might consider an independent school. </li></ul>
    80. 80. Summary
    81. 81. Summary <ul><li>Brand is a verb. It’s an activity, not an object. </li></ul><ul><li>What you do is more important than what you say. But what you say should be carefully considered, strategic and consistent. </li></ul><ul><li>Your brand is what your audiences say it is. But you should try to lead the discussion. </li></ul><ul><li>Adapt your messages for each audience, but be true to your core. </li></ul>
    82. 82. t Discussion
    83. 83. <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.corey.com </li></ul><ul><li>http://twitter.com/cmntweets </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.facebook.com/coreymcphersonnash </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/26011447@N03/ </li></ul>

    ×