How well are you communicating your school’s marketing to your current parents and staff?

All schools spend the majority of their marketing time focusing outwards – to prospective families to boost enrolment numbers.

Many overlook their most important stakeholders: current parents and staff. They deserve to know what you’re doing from a marketing perspective – after all, they are your biggest brand champions. It’s their word of mouth that will largely influence whether you live or die.

We’re currently working with a great P-12 school whose Principal is a breath of fresh air. She walks the talk and is making a difference in this school every day. It’s important to her to be transparent about her marketing delivery and to communicate effectively and upfront with her key stakeholders. To her it’s about bringing them on the journey with her and getting their buy-in upfront.

Read a (slightly amended) version of what she recently sent out to her staff community and parents.

“We are proud of the reputation of our College and take its marketing and positioning very seriously.

In the coming months, you will see a change in direction in the marketing of our College. We have been working on this for some time and I am tremendously excited about the future opportunities this new direction will bring. I wanted to take the time to explain to you the journey to date and share with you all some key aspects of what we will be unveiling.

Marketing is something all schools invest in, in order to attain maximum enrolment and funding for facilities, staff and programs. How we distinguish ourselves from other schools gives us a competitive edge and as a ‘state’ school we are not resting on our laurels, always aiming to be the best in our field.

Recently, we have engaged education marketing consultants to help us consolidate and implement our new marketing. They have also helped us understand the perceptions of (name withheld) College, both of our parents and the wider community (business owners, stakeholders and parents whose children attend other schools). We have gathered clear insights into what people love about our College and where we could improve. One of the key insights is that the wider community do not understand the changes we have made within our College in recent years and also the successes we have to date and the unique aspects of our College. We need to be clearer in our communication of “who we are” and “what we offer”.

As part of this process, we have also undertaken a brand strategy to help us determine a positioning for our College that we can promise to deliver upon. Our foundation motto was and remains “motto withheld” This has been our tagline for the last two years. These descriptors help define the next steps of educational innovation at XX College. Our new positioning will be ‘tagline withheld’, something we can claim based on our innovative curriculum, diverse staff and students from across the globe, and with our current progress towards being an (status withheld) this year.

With this new positioning comes a new look and feel to our marketing. We are presently undertaking a photo shoot and will launch a new prospectus, website and communication campaign over the coming months. This external marketing will encompass social media and other channels and will provide our community with a clear understanding of who our College is and of what we can all be proud.”

So, there you have it…effective, transparent communication within a school to your internal audiences.

Key points about marketing to current parents and staff

Bringing your staff and parents on a journey is all about parents and staff understanding WHY you are investing in marketing and why you are positioning your school as you are.

It’s about making them feel included, about respecting and acknowledging that they have a role to play in promoting your school, and empowering them to do so the right way.

This means that when your schools is discussed those who are your unofficial brand champions are on message, and feel confident and positive talking about your (their) school and brand.

Telling your key stakeholders what you are doing is also about being professional (mirroring what happens in the corporate world) and about being progressive and responsible.

You are letting other important stakeholders know – like your board, like the Department of Education, or your sector’s hierarchy, like prospective parents – that you care deeply about your school, it’s position in the market and brand reputation.

That says a lot about you and your school!