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  1. 1. “ Let the Students Teach Us: Academy Recruitment” Marketing Max Elsman “ Nonprofit Marketing Consulting Since 1984” NAF Conference
  2. 2. Using “Brand Management” to Grow an Academy <ul><li>Understand your existing “brand” </li></ul><ul><li>Realize that brand identities are not rational </li></ul><ul><li>Master the tools of “brand management” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Position” your Academy’s brand so that it is more desirable than its competitors to your target audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Market your brand to gain enrollments and support. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What “Behavioral Economists” Know “ By the time we comprehend and digest information, it is not necessarily a true reflection of reality. Instead it is our representation of reality, and this is the input we base our decisions on.” -- Dan Ariely (from the book “Predictably Irrational”
  4. 4. “Brand” = “Perceived Identity” <ul><li>Humans innately “name” everything and give it an “identity.” </li></ul><ul><li>No identity = “unknown” (scary/lethal) </li></ul><ul><li>Identities are formed quickly on the flimsiest of evidence. Tough to change. </li></ul><ul><li>Those around us are most influential in shaping an identity. </li></ul><ul><li>In marketing, the shaping of a coherent identity is known as “branding.” </li></ul><ul><li>Our goal: Become the most desired “brand” among educational options. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Academy “Brand Identity” <ul><li>Totality of perceptions and you efforts to control and create them =Your Academy’s “brand identity” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Identity” exists in the minds of students and parents. Your goal is to control it. </li></ul><ul><li>Research what students and parents know and think about your Academy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Mistaking a “hospitality” Academy for one focusing on hospital and medical careers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on perceived “value” and “price” of enrollment </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why Marketers are Suspect
  7. 7. Increase Value; Reduce Price <ul><li>“ Value”: The perceived benefits of Academy enrollment. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Price”: The perceived drawbacks of Academy enrollment. </li></ul><ul><li>When perceived value exceeds perceived price, students will enroll. </li></ul><ul><li>This simple formula also works to gain funders and supporters. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Marketing Is More Than Sales <ul><li>“ Product” – The quality, features and services of your Academy make up its perceived “value.” The higher, the better. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Price” – Includes financial and “time and trouble” costs of enrolling and participating. The lower the better. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Place” – Focuses on “getting the product to the customer.” Academy location, neighborhood, ease of access, hours operation are all important. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Promotion” – The mix of personal selling, advertising, public relations and sales promotions that give the “biggest bang for the buck.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Academies Must Compete <ul><li>Students and parents will choose only one school. There is no prize for second place. </li></ul><ul><li>Students have other options: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The regular school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magnet/charter schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other special schools and programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The street </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Critical to identify competitors and create a superior brand. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Marketing Every Day, Every Way <ul><li>Your “brand identity” is shaped daily. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In every class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In every event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By every teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By every student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By the appearance of your building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By what others are saying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By what your competitors are doing </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Recruitment in a Nutshell <ul><li>Identify Academy’s two main target audiences (students most in need and most likely to enroll, plus their parents/guardians) </li></ul><ul><li>Research Academy’s “brand identity” among target audience (Awareness, perceived benefits and drawbacks) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify one benefit that most powerfully stimulates desire and action (“Unique Selling Proposition”) </li></ul><ul><li>Create a promotional campaign around the USP </li></ul><ul><li>Choose media that communicate your message most efficiently and effectively. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Two Separate Efforts <ul><li>Enrollment decision will be influenced by students’ friends, teachers, and parents/guardians. </li></ul><ul><li>“Value” and “Price” are perceived very differently by teens and adults. </li></ul><ul><li>At minimum, create two recruitment strategies: one for students, one for parents and guardians. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Your Brand Identity Now? <ul><li>A fun school that isn’t boring. </li></ul><ul><li>A haven for social misfits and slackers. </li></ul><ul><li>A “vocational” school for the non-college bound </li></ul><ul><li>The school that can best help you get a good job </li></ul><ul><li>The school for “Brainiacs” who are already college-bound </li></ul><ul><li>The “White” or “Latino” or “Black” school </li></ul><ul><li>The “poor kids” school </li></ul><ul><li>The tight-knit “family style” school </li></ul><ul><li>Unaware of the Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Is your current brand identity your desired brand identity? </li></ul>
  14. 14. USP Is Your Brand Identity Build entire recruitment effort around your own “Unique Selling Proposition.” It’s how you communicate your Brand Identity. <ul><li>Start with a sentence: “Our Academy offers a warm, supportive, family like environment to teach a uniquely stimulating Travel and Tourism curriculum directly leading to higher education and steady, well-paying jobs” </li></ul><ul><li>Distill into a slogan: “Join our Family and See the World.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Distill Your Ideal Brand ID <ul><li>Ask: Which one aspect of perceived value is most likely to prompt students and parents to pursue Academy enrollment? </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Your students often say an Academy is like “family.” </li></ul><ul><li>Selling Proposition to students might be: “Join the Academy where you’ll always belong and where we’ll succeed together.” </li></ul><ul><li>Your goal: A unique identity that’s true, powerfully attractive and that no one else can claim. </li></ul>
  16. 16. “AIDA” in Action <ul><li>Attention: “The ABC Academy: Where Paid Internships Today Pay Off Even Bigger Tomorrow” </li></ul><ul><li>Interest: (More about USP, plus additional benefits) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid internships with local businesses make it easier to get into college and get good jobs later. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interesting curriculum focused on exciting world of Travel and Tourism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Like a family: Supportive; connected, loving; sharing; accepting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers who really motivate and really care </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. “AIDA in Action” (Part 2) <ul><li>Desire: (It works for others; it will work for you) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Testimonials from successful Academy students, past and present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical proof that the Academy enhances chances for success (Use NAF or local figures) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Action: Tell prospective enrollees exactly what to do and when to do it. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Manage Your Brand <ul><li>Name of your Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance of the building </li></ul><ul><li>The “vibe” of your campus </li></ul><ul><li>Dress codes </li></ul><ul><li>Distinctive logo and slogan </li></ul><ul><li>Distinctive school color </li></ul><ul><li>Unique events or activities </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently communicate your successes </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate the press </li></ul>
  19. 19. Recruitment Media Options <ul><li>“ Repetition” is the key. Begin weeks in advance. </li></ul><ul><li>Target students and parents separately </li></ul><ul><li>Strive for multi-media approach (written, oral, electronic) </li></ul><ul><li>Personalize as much as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Put students and staff with a “sparkle” on the front lines. EMPHASIZE TESTIMONIALS! </li></ul>
  20. 20. Media Options <ul><li>School enrollment events </li></ul><ul><li>Brochures </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Posters </li></ul><ul><li>Phone calls by students or teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Personal invitations by teachers (letter or oral) </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment contests among current students </li></ul>