The Campus Suite Academy recently conducted a webinar on the 5 Essential Steps to Building Your School Brand (see webinar video here), but we did not have time to answer all the questions live. Below are the questions attendees asked during the free webinar.
School branding is a topic that is getting a great deal of attention these days from not only the private and charter schools entrenched in competition for students, but also for school districts in a struggle to increase or maintain enrollment in a school choice or open enrollment environment.
You can also read about branding solutions for schools in this article. Please let me know if you have questions of your own about branding for schools, and if you are interested in getting budget pricing for branding services for your school or district, click here.
Q: How do you get teachers to agree to a branding style guide?
Even the best school brand can be compromised if the execution of it falls short. Teacher websites, for example, can be all over the place, as teachers want to make their class websites as unique as their classrooms. Many teachers take liberties with school branding standards and go rogue with their teacher pages (aka classroom website.) These cases present problems and can water down your school brand.
The great communicator Aristotle is credited with the saying, “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” As the communications lead at your school or in your district, it’s important to make it crystal clear in your training the importance of staying within the bounds of your branding style guide. Your training should start with the ‘big picture’ of how the school brand plays into the bigger communications objectives you are trying to achieve.
This holds true for training not just your teachers, but any school staff who might have an occasion to use your school brand. Some CMS (website hosting software) solutions provide teacher page templates that make it virtually impossible for anyone to misapply or alter branding guidelines.
Q: You mentioned a school branding survey to help get our school rebranding process started. Where can I find that?
Building and reshaping your school brand starts with understanding how your stakeholders think and feel about your school or district. Use this School Branding Survey Template found here.
This template makes it easy for you to gather the insights and perspectives from select staff, parents and others, and start building a powerful and engaging brand that reflects what makes your school great.
Q: So, should we involve a graphic designer from the get-go?
No, it’s not necessary to start your school branding project with a designer involved. If you do have one from the get-go, don’t ask for any designs until you follow these steps to building your school brand. It’s like trying to ice a cake before it’s baked. You might get lucky with some tasty icing, but if the cake is bad, nobody’s going to eat it.
You definitely want one involved, but it can be quite counter to a great finished product if you jump in with a designer operating without proper input and guidance. There is quite a bit of due diligence required first that includes auditing, messaging and other factors that make for a strategically based brand. A designer, whether he or she is in-house or outsourced, is a critical part of your branding team. But you need to build a strong foundation before jumping into the design stage.
Q: How much should we expect to pay for a new brand for our school?
The cost for school branding can vary depending on who you’re using to do the work. Some branding firms can be a little pricey for school districts. Some website providers, for example, offer school branding services because your school website is instrumental in your overall brand. There are often cost efficiencies associated when branding is packaged into a bigger project.
Whoever your branding partner ism make sure the scope of the work you’re requesting is crystal clear. Branding is more than just a new logo. (If it’s just a logo you’re after, don’t call it a branding project. And if you’re introducing a new district without a broader look at your brand, I’d advise against that.) Ask for concepts – multiple ones. Ask for a process of pushback and revisions. How many logos are involved? Is a branding style guide complete with numerous examples and executions included? Hard to pull a number, but $1K is probably a good number to start a branding budget.
If you have any questions about school branding, let me know. And if you missed the 5 Essential Steps to Building Your School Brand live webinar, you can view a free video of it on demand here.
Blog article: 5 Essential Steps to Building Your School Brand
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.