7 Ways To Improve Your Independent School Brand Experience

By |Published On: Tuesday, April 30, 2024|6 min read|

We frequently receive enquiries about strategies to enhance a school brand experience. The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution – each school we work with is distinct in its own way. However, there are several general strategies which tend to be referenced when we evaluate an independent school brand experience.

We’ve curated a list of seven effective strategies to elevate your independent school’s brand experience…

1. Understand Your Independent School Brand

This may sound obvious, but before you start anything new, you must have a grounded understanding of how things currently stand. It’s really easy to get caught up in ‘your own bubble’, and lose connection with the real-world brand experience that your customers are interested in. You don’t want to be building a marketing or content plan that’s based on out of date data or incorrect insights.

A great place to start uncovering the perception of your brand is to better understand what your independent school’s USPs (Unique Selling Points) are. Once you’ve uncovered what you perceive your brand’s selling points to be, it’s important to understand whether or not your target audiences are experiencing these USPs as well. For example, if one of your independent schools’ unique selling points is that you have acres of lush green space on-site, you would want your prospective parents to be aware of this before they arrive onsite for the first time. A brand audit is a fantastic way to uncover this quickly and efficiently, providing you with all the insight at your fingertips.

2. Leverage Your School’s Brand Identity

Consumers naturally personify the brands that they interact with, and this behaviour is one which marketers can leverage to great effect. For example, if you want your school brand to make a good first impression, apply the exact same behaviour that you yourself might practise - look your best, appear interested, and communicate confidently and effectively.

Parents will be looking for a school which appears capable. They will want a school that has already thought of everything beforehand - so why not use your communications to embody this? If you make it clear that your communications are professional, and have been given a great deal of attention and care, your prospective customers will assume that you apply the same behaviour towards their children.

A consistently applied brand identity can help guide customers through your desired brand experience, sort of like visual way-finding. This doesn't have to be complicated - it could be that you use one of your brand colours dominantly across all communications - even down to the colour of the envelope that a child may receive their acceptance offer in.

3. Go to Where Your Audiences Are

As a sweeping generalisation, people tend to be lazy, and don’t like going too far out of their comfort zone - especially when it comes to engagement with a new and unfamiliar brand. 

Think about where best to interact with your user. Have you ever considered advertising on Pinterest, rather than in traditional print newspaper adverts? 

For ease of use, when asking prospective customers to sign up to anything, try to make use of the existing functionality within each given platform. For example, if you are running an advertising campaign across META/Instagram, try to make use of the pre-filled inbuilt contact form, rather than asking them to follow an external link. The aim is to cause as least bother as possible, and maximum ease and comfort.

4. Ensure Communications Alignment

Nobody likes to be disappointed. But everybody likes to be pleasantly surprised. To create a positive brand experience, you want brand communications, brand perceptions, and brand realities to be as closely aligned as possible. 

Whilst we’d expect a certain degree of sugar coating, you ideally want your school’s messaging to be as authentic and honest as possible. Don’t overpromise, and then under deliver. For example, if you are only using photography of your newest buildings, yet the majority of your first year spaces are . 

Similarly, if your marketing material references a wealth of co-curricular opportunities, yet your actual provision is quite limited, you’re bound to create a disappointing experience for your prospective customer.

5. Enhance Your Physical Brand Spaces

The way in which you communicate with your audiences isn’t purely limited to traditional marketing material such as flyers and brochures. For your customer, you want to consider every touchpoint of their user journey - especially when they visit your school in person.

Consider everything - from the interior design of reception through to the beverages and snacks that you serve on open days and parent’s evenings. Think about what values and traits you want to communicate - is it warm and openness, or perhaps prestige and quality? Think about how you apply the aesthetic of your brand into physical spaces - textures of fabrics, lighting tones and styles, even smells! Make use of all the senses to create an all encompassing brand experience.

Some schools choose to brand entire spaces within their school, as a means of combining way-finding and brand promotion. These can be incredibly effective, as they provide a professional ‘gloss’ yet aren’t overly corporate.

6. Deliver Exceptional Brand Customer Communication

One effective method to truly captivate your prospective customers is to delight them with thoughtful and personalised communication. This involves tailoring your content to be specific to the individual, ensuring it resonates with their unique needs and interests. It’s crucial to adopt a friendly approach in your interactions, being prompt and regular with your communications. 

Using the correct tone of voice is also key, as it can significantly influence how your message is received and perceived. By focusing on these aspects, you can enhance your brand’s customer communication and leave a lasting impression.

7. Measure and Improve Your School Brand Experience

As you go through the process of improving your customer brand experience, it’s important to track and monitor performance, so that you can get an accurate sense of whether your initiatives are having an impact.

It may seem obvious, but the best way to measure customer satisfaction is to ask the customer! You can do this in a variety of different ways, such as online surveys or physical feedback forms. The important thing to remember is to conduct them regularly and consistently, so that you can compare progress year-on-year. 

Be mindful of the optics of asking for feedback from your customer - you want to ensure that your customers perceive that your school is responsive to feedback, and that their views are heard.

Conclusion

Overall, the objective goal is to get to a place where you’re able to develop empathy with your audience base. By understanding what their pain points are, you can smooth the customer journey and create a pleasurable school brand experience which enhances conversion and customer loyalty.

If you’d like to hear more detail about any of the ideas in this piece, or scope out opportunities for Quantock to help you improve your brand experience, please do get in touch via our website enquiry form here.

Share this story

Related Posts.

  • Marketing for Private Schools: Strategies to Build Emotion

    May 15, 2024

  • Dairy Marketing: A Fresh Approach to a Mature Brand

    April 3, 2024

  • Disrupt Or Die: How To Get Started With Disruptive Marketing

    April 3, 2024