Thursday, February 18, 2010

Student Achievement: Learn to be The Luxury Brand

Branding in higher education and private education is a high priority topic and always connected to developing business. In this challenged economy, revenue is still spent within these institutions in the pursuit of students and their education dollar. A public school may seek brand building for different reasons, but the features of the branding model used so successfully in these organizations can help public schools attract good students to the community and develop their achievement. Learning some of the strategies that have worked over time for successful brands in higher ed and in the private school communities can inform the new vision for brand-ed school success. It’s not fiscally possible or even organizationally imperative to develop marketing and PR centers in a K-12 organization to create value for a brand.

The higher eds and private schools have done themselves proud in developing a message that can be marketed for sale to students and their families. They have honed a pitch that has value for informing schools about branding. First, they have dug deep and developed a BRAND that authentically, powerfully and simply reflects the offering of the institution, and they’ve developed a brand promise that defines what the brand will do for the audience. They’ve thought about what differentiates them from others. They’ve given time to presenting their brand personality, how they deliver their service that is the story of success across many channels of communiation. They’ve leveraged the personality into an emotional connection with the audience. These organizations have worked on messaging over time so that the permanence of value is set in stone, though the brand may shift to accommodate changing times, the promise is solid as a rock.

Brand value simply lies the word Trust, which is already part of conversation about school reform. Trust is in marketing lingo a “Free-mium” and schools don’t have to spend to develop that.

If public schools take on branding as an initiative it will not be simply to attract dollars, although that can be a by-product of developing trust that makes for successful branding. Schools can look at a Brand-ed initiative and create a new way to talk the talk about pursuing student achievement, and that’s the real currency in public schools, and it is tied to dollars.

If communities examine the common approaches of the established educational institutions perceived as having successful brands, if leaders think about how successful educational organizations can inform the discussion of a public school brand movement, we can see the benefits of building a public school brand outweigh resistance.

Like it or not, effective branding is with us already in our schools, but in disparate and sometimes ungoverned ways. Take control through a platform of Trust and the develop the branding opportunities this powerful concept holds to improved student performance. Align existing and innovative culture, your plan for achievement and the development of revenue under a brand-ed umbrella. This has worked for years in colleges and private schools and can be adapted to your little red school house of 2010. And when you do so, you’ll be in the driver’s seat as a leader of a trusting community…and you’ll be driving a luxury education brand

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