Why Should I Attend the Brand Identity Masterclass?
I should be doing something!
Blue Apple Education’s talented Mark Davis provides advice and opportunity aplenty in his regular Masterclass on School Brand Identity. The classes are aimed at staff in state schools and multi-academy trusts, who could be anyone from governor to Gary – there’s always a Gary – who feels they should be doing something.
The Masterclasses are for you if you want to know what the ‘something’ is in ‘I should be doing something’. Your school has carefully selected you to hold responsibility for branding and marketing – surely – and yet you feel a tad uncertain about some aspects? For those who want to better understand the process; who want to improve their school branding; who want to prove effective; who want more alliteration – we give you Mark’s Masterclass.
There are digital and design experts amongst the school staff, those who are undaunted by assessing their school’s marketing strategy, fixing the holes in it, and working towards brand recognition and results-driven communication. These are people who have stopped reading by now, so they won’t get in the way at the Masterclass when you come along. However, there will certainly be those who have taken one or two tentative steps already. It doesn’t matter that participants are at different stages because the class includes a review of what you and your school are doing right now. It provides a constructive voice addressing your specific concerns and challenges, wherever you are on that journey.
The workshops take you through three key steps you need to provide a platform for effective marketing. They give tips and hints relevant to all, but understand that you will want to know specifically what measures your school can take to achieve consistency of communications, to accurately reflect its values, and to maintain a robust brand identity. Most educators-with-a-marketing-bent understand the importance of external appeal but not all are familiar with the importance of engaging everyone through the school from teacher to Tracy. This is especially so for schools that are, perhaps newly, part of a multi-academy trust; people need to know what is remarkable about this trust, not just any trust. MATs offer increased capacity and centralised backroom services; however, the way to a school’s heart is through transparent branding, that is, branding that is both appealing and recognisable. This branding identity works almost imperceptibly with consistent, responsive and meaningful communications.
The growth of multi-academy trusts increases competition, not a reference to Tracy’s triumph at sports day or any of Gary’s many glories – it’s about the fact that as MATs have multiplied and expanded, pupil numbers have reduced. Since 2012 there has been a 12% drop in birth rates in the UK – even more so in some areas such as Milton Keynes where Gary lives. Even with the increased capacity for school promotions and communications that MATs often possess, everyone needs to work harder to stay the same or get ahead of the game. To be sure to attract and maintain engagement a school website, for example, must build a relationship by interaction at several points on the user journey. This means that once someone visits a website – a parent looking for a school, let’s say – then the website must hold their attention long enough for them to take the next step – click on a link, download a form or seek out more information.
Awareness of that user journey and the key moments in it gives you powerful information. A website should reflect closely the school or MAT’s ethos, with distinctive branding that links to values. This is about being open from the beginning; getting a website that rings bells and wins awards is all very well but is it about your school or a designer’s skills?
Mark’s masterclasses have supported head teachers, deputy heads, school business managers, trust CEOs and financial directors to gain confidence in marketing and communications for the schools and MATs they represent. Many of them are as worried about money as they are about competing in the marketplace. Dreams of roadside hoardings or prime TV advertisements can drag anyone down if it seems they are essential to results. But they are not. Getting the right school website is the same price as getting the wrong one. Mark covers how to work with a designer to ensure the website is comfortably placed within a complete and active strategy. Participants in the workshop leave with a clear and achievable roadmap that isn’t demoralising but provides a stable platform for starting effective marketing and brand identity and making sure that the way that you’re talking about your school is going to get results.
There are lots of voices throwing out ideas for marketing and it can be bewildering to hear what other schools did, what your school should be doing, as well as how much time and money it could cost. Blue Apple Education helps you to focus on manageable priorities, building your confidence and the confidence of your school or trust. Once you recognise an issue, you can act to rectify it, then you can show that it’s resolved, and everyone can move forward with conviction.
Blue Apple Education’s Brand Identity Masterclasses supporting school marketing and communications happen every month. They are held online for one and a half hours and are bookable on Eventbrite. Although they are interactive so that you can make the most of the experience as it is relevant to you, they are eminently suitable for those wanting to meet incognito or without getting their hair done first – feel free to turn off the video and change your name to Gary. However you do it, you’ll be doing something.