Wednesday, 23 January 2013

WELCOME! Branding Our School


What do you think about when you see some of the logos above? 

More importantly: What do people think about when they see your school logo?

When I was asked I immediately thought about asking parent and students how they see our 'brand'. After some reflection I began to realize that it starts with the school. This led to the following questions:
  • What do you want parents and students to think about our school?
  • What do we do to make our brand one that is attractive to parents in our school community?
  • Have you had the discussion with your staff about how we want our school to be see in the community?
Since this week is the official Kindergarten Registration week, I have been thinking a lot about how new parents see our school. Last week we had a work shop at the school board to talk about our school brand and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. Not just students.

There are so many ways to create positive and powerful brand for your school each and everyday:
  1. The website and social media tell a lot about the school. Keep them updated!
  2. When someone comes in to the front office, are they greeted? Is it welcoming? How parents feel when they come into the front office plays a huge role in whether or not they want to send their kids to your school.
  3. Answering the phone - Can they hear a smile on the end of the line or does it sound like they have interrupted something? 
  4. How fast are you at returning phone calls and emails to parents?
  5. What do your newsletters look like? Do they come out on time and at the start of each month?
  6. What kind of progressive discipline policy does the school have?
  7. As an administrator, are you visible to your school community?

What matters most is "Who are you?"

If you have a positive brand for your school in your community the benefits are enormous. There is a connection with parents and they will be inspired knowing that you are making your school the most welcoming place you can. Those connections you made, they will go out and spread the word.

My goal this "Kindergarten Season" is to make a personal connection with every parent that comes into our school to register their child or to inquire about our school. I personally meet and talk with each one and invite them to contact me if they have any questions whatsoever. 

Is anyone else working extra hard to make connections with their community and to build relationships? I'd be interested in collaborating and brainstorming ideas.


4 comments:

  1. I just love this post of yours, as making connections with parents and the community is something that I'm passionate about. I update multiple blogs at least once a week, update a class website once a week, send out three to four emails to parents each week, and call all of my parents once a week. I think it's important to provide multiple ways to communicate with parents, and to let parents choose the way that works best for them. Some parents write me notes in the agenda if they have questions, others call me, and others email me. I try to get back to all parents right away, so that they know that no matter how they contact me, that I want to spend the time working and communicating with them.

    Aaron Puley (@bloggucation) is the parent and student engagement consultant for our Board, and he's helped me see the importance of looking at communication from an equity perspective. I guess that another item I'd add to the list is how do we get ALL parents' voices heard in the school? I think this should be considered when it comes to branding.

    Thanks for your great list of considerations! This is something I will refer back to often.
    Aviva
    www.weinspirefutures.com

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  2. Thanks for the comment Aviva! It is a challenge to connect with all of our parent but we have to try! Glad to hear you are trying so many things. I am working on another post that speaks to the different things we are trying here. I will certainly check out Aaron as I am always looking for new ideas. Thanks!

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  3. Hi Tim,

    That's a great blog. The thing that I'm finding with school branding is that there is very little information online for school administrators in terms of helpful information about what is 'school branding.' There is some on social media and inbound marketing etc but little in terms of how to develop a 'look' and 'feel' that is authentic and is emotionally engaging the school community and all stakeholders - staff, students, families and businesses. The closest is looking at small business branding models and sifting through what is relevant to schools.

    In the past this has been seen more as an after thought or a necessary evil - same as having to use accountants for our taxes :). Now principals (particularly in elementary schools - we call them Primary schools where I come from)are seeing how this plays a major impact, not only in marketing, but also in teaching children when it comes to character education - personalized learning tools that are specific to a schools particular approach. This, I believe is at the core of Elementary school branding because, at the end of the day, it's about the children.

    Good luck on your journey.

    Craig Burton

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  4. Thanks for the comment Craig! I appreciate it. Our School Board has really taken to the whole branding thing and made sure that they, and we, are conscious of it. It is more and more important to make sure that our schools are seen as key pillars of the community and places that all parents want to send their kids. Further, our schools have to be places that are current and relevant learning places. Exciting times!!

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