Don’t we all love a toolbox - whether it’s for stationery, mechanical, DIY, crafts…….? But what about a creative toolbox?
Schools have a raft of opportunities at their disposal linked to raising profiles, increasing pupil numbers, internal communications… either/or all! So, spending your promotional budget in the right way, on the right materials and at the right time is crucial in maximising your outlay (financial and effort).
What are the tools at a school’s disposal? The list is pretty lengthy and there are others that you will want to add but here’s a starter for ten: prospectus (pupil and staff), flyer, banner, website, poster, postcard, direct mail campaigns, school signage, advertising (open events and job adverts), editorial (via press releases), advertorial, blogs, social media, pay per click, video/movies, newsletters and magazines.
But where to start?
Stop first! Reset, revitalise and renew.
We dare you not to follow the crowd and do what you (and other schools) have been doing for decades. Same old prospectus, photography where students are now 10 years older, a limp flyer or an advert that has been regurgitated ad nauseam.
Who, what, why?
Before you think about the ‘what’ (ie. the tool), think about your school’s vision, mission and unique selling points. From this fundamental piece of work will come your key marketing messages that captures the life and breath of your school, along with the pupil experience, and complement this compelling crafted content with high quality professional photography.
The magic is now finding the right marketing channels – and you will have seen that, from our advice to date, we have as yet not produced anything tangible. Don’t panic! Some of these ‘channels’ are free and you will want to maximise these not only because they don’t cost anything but also because this may lead to others networking on your school’s behalf. Think laterally – banners outside your gates but also outside other partner organisations’ gates; newsletters – your schools and also other ‘feeder’ schools’ newsletters; advertising – always ask for free editorial space; social media – Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp and Instagram (these are the top 4) and particularly pertinent for schools, Twitter and Linkedin and there are many more, and they’re all free!). Our partner schools have been creative and used a huge number of channels that have not cost them a penny but maximised their exposure.
So, you still haven’t spent anything but you need to now decide the purpose of producing any piece of marketing collateral. If you are wanting to increase pupil numbers then you will be thinking about advertising your open evening. The main tools in your toolbox are the school prospectus and the website – make sure these two key pieces are interactive, informative and up-to-date (there is no excuse!). Your website should be relevant for current and prospective parents. Your prospectus should not repeat the information on your website – how about showcasing the pupil experience at different key stages? Do you have videography embedded in a digital prospectus?
Box of tricks
Think about themes and campaigns. See everything you do in terms of promoting your school as a continuum and throughout the academic year. This will ensure that you are always profile raising and that your targeted stakeholders want to find out more… or know what’s next. Whatever is in your (tool)box of tricks, and as you construct your school’s creative toolbox, remember to capture and hold the attention of your target groups and engage them with a call to action!
Take part in in our free online creative workshop on Tuesday 6th July by booking your place here.
For those that want to view our creative case studies and work with our partner schools, click here.
If you would like further ideas and a bucket load of free advice, download our Creative White Paper: Inside the world of school branding here.