Our Kids
Glen Herbert - Editor

James Shi
Lecturer, Our Kids Media

June, 2022

Last month, we talked about how families research their options through “extended problem-solving,” where they’ll consume information from multiple sources across multiple sessions before reaching their final decision. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

Today, we’ll learn another important piece of the puzzle:

KEY #3

What is your “brand”? Think of it as real estate you own in the minds of families. It’s built out of the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs they have about your school.

Families create a picture of you through their research. They check that you’re credible. They compare you to other schools. They see how you stack up against their own criteria, self-concept, and values. When a family enrols in your school, they do so because of this mental picture. They do so because of your brand.

Choosing a school is riskier than most purchases. So families invest a lot of effort in developing a rich sense of your brand. In fact, families need this to enrol. It’s the only way they feel comfortable doing so. Indeed, one of the main functions of a brand is to reduce risk for consumers. (“Where there is no risk, there is no room for brand,” says leading brand expert, J.N. Kapferer). So this makes brand especially important for independent schools. Schools that create a strong brand impression will thrive.

The job of the school marketer, then, is to manage the brand education process. This requires that you think of a family’s path to enrolment not only as a series of behavioural milestones, but a set of cognitive ones. Families don’t choose you because they jump through the hoops you give them—e.g., because they visit your website or school. They choose you because the picture they develop of your brand is rich enough, vivid enough, and thorough enough. Until then, they remain prospective families.

To learn more about school marketing,

Read the ROI Book

In other news ...

Our Kids membership registration for 2022-23 closes on July 15, 2022. Be found when families are discovering you for the first time, validating their preliminary decisions, or sharing your school’s profile with others on OurKids.net—Canada’s premier school-search platform.

Bonus: become a member today and enjoy two free months of membership until September 1, 2022.

Learn more about the membership

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