Marketing to and about culture is an enormous topic that can fill volumes. In this post, the bottom line is that to have a successful private, post-secondary school, you need to demonstrate authority AND be the coolest school in town.
Students wanting to attend your school isn’t enough – you want them to brag to other students that they are attending your school. You want to create a sense of school pride just like Texas High Schools have about their football teams.
A student ID should be shown like a badge of honor. It should make them feel as though they are part of the hip crowd.
At first that might sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s an important aspect of your overall school marketing plan: What makes your school cool?
How to make, maintain, and market your school’s culture
When marketing education, highlighting your school’s culture is extremely important because the prospective student will become a part it. As such, your institution needs to demonstrate two things:
- The school respects and embraces who they are now, and;
- The school staff, instructors, and graduates reflect who they want to be in the future.
Demonstrating those two things requires work; primarily a lot of market research to know who your target market is. You need to know what they like and why; heck, time spent curious about how they’d decorate their home can even help you.
When a prospective student walks in the door and into the lobby of your school, they need to feel a touch of home, a dash of intimidation, and a flood of possibilities. Often times just having the right collection of photographs, books, and magazines can create that triad. The person working at the front desk also needs to be stellar as a welcomer: know who they are, welcome them and genuinely be interested in how they are, then make them fill out a form that’s has a few questions that might be a tiny bit intimidating so they know your school means business. That questionnaire should have questions about what thye know know, what they want to learn, and what they’d like to be. That gives whomever is giving the tour some insight so they know what sort of questions to ask and which selling points to highlight.
Some aspects of school culture grow organically based on the student body, but the faculty and administration determine most of the direction overall culture of the education environment. They can be fun, but the teacher / student lines must never be crossed. Your teachers represent 80% of the school’s authority, and as such they need to behave like it.
When I consult on campuses, one of the topics we discuss is always the “vibe of the school”: how does it feel, how are the students interacting with one another, do they hand around after class or leave immediately? How do they interact with admin staff vs. instructor staff? We even get down to how the colors of the walls, furniture and classroom design can impact the impression that the school. All of these things are important factors because they help influence how students behave. Beautiful and clean campuses result in students respecting their school more, and therefore they inherently respect it more.
Every little thing counts, but at the top are the two points mentioned in the beginning: embrace who they are, and show them you can help them become what they want to be.