How do we want our students to define themselves? Is it by their looks, facebook accounts, choice of music or brand of clothes they wear? Or do we want more for them? This emotive video by Girls Preparatory School doesn’t take a long time to say a lot. In 74 seconds this video reveals something of the school facilities and opportunities but most importantly their philosophy. It speaks to a particular type of student and parent so helps define their target audience.
Some schools still only treat their website as a marketing tool for prospective parents. More schools are now utilising their websites as a vital and timely tool for reassuring current parents and providing regular information.
“Nurturing reading whilst embracing technology.” That is the tagline for Chelsea Preparatory School in Durban South Africa this year. The tagline appears on their website, in newsletters but also in their email footer. A graphic of five students holding books and tablets is a visual demonstration reinforcing their key message. One of their newsletters urges, whilst talking about their tablet program, “Please don’t ever forget the power of reading. We will be encouraging the children to read for enjoyment this year and hope our parents will join us in this venture.”
Module Three of the Diploma in School Marketing requires students to conduct a self appraisal of their customer service skills. I found this recent response refreshingly honest.
“I am not a great listener. I often finish sentences before a speaker. I listen primarily for facts rather than emotions. When I am upset I may give a negative attitude on the phone and in person. I dislike criticism, am defensive to customer complaints and do not like change!”
Video is a powerful tool for school marketing. Prospective parents expect the Principal, Registrar and teachers to say good things about their school. They are paid to. That’s why parent and student testimonies are so much more powerful. Central Coast Grammar School have created a series of six videos under the title ‘Student Voices.’ Each video introduces a different student. The variety of ages and gender help give prospective parents, and students, a greater chance of identifying with themselves.
Many schools hide the identity of their Registrar or Enrolments Manager behind generic ‘enrolment’ email addresses on their website. In contrast Central Coast Grammar School helps prospective parents by introducing their Registrar Sarah Barker with:
This week we received an email from Central Coast Grammar School as part of their 30th birthday celebrations. It had a simple message and a link to a 41 second video.
The brief message read “A huge thank you to our present and past community of students, parents, teachers and partners for our three decades of incredible success. 30 years of achievements, 30 years of growth, 30 years of gratitude”They acknowledge that the video was created by a past student Tom Caska.
YouTube is a wonderful tool for school marketers. The service has its issues but also continues to evolve with features. A video by the University of Tampa Florida helps prepare prospective new for what to expect when they come for a tour. It includes;
A tip from Greg Pendlebury of Think-write Consulting is a good reminder for school marketers who are often working with documents written by educators.
Jean Christie from Emmanuel College in Warrnambool Victoria recognises the need to help new students, and parents, to be able to identify and know more about staff. She makes a booklet with photos of and biographies of teachers and gives it to all new, and Year 7 families, starting at the College.
This promotional video for Maranatha Christian School combines an introduction and welcome from the Principal before students perform a lip sync of a popular song. It is an interesting combination. Lip syncing school videos are popular, easily shareable and can show lots of students and facilities. However they rarely say much about the school culture or beliefs so this is an attempt to mix the two elements.
When I was at school six to eight students would be crammed into a teacher's large 4WD, dropped off at a lake with school canoes and picked up 90 minutes later. As a group of adventurous teenagers we had a great unsupervised time including exploring creeks and drainage tunnels.
Most schools conduct tours or hold Open Days during daylight hours. However it means some interested parents are not available. I recently attended a very popular Parent Information Night at a local school with around 250 other prospective parents and children.
GOLD Award 2015
St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School www.stpaulsags.vic.edu.au
SILVER Award 2015
Beechboro Christian School www.beechborocs.wa.edu.au
HIGHLY COMMENDED Award 2015
Mundaring Christian College www.mundaringcc.wa.edu.au
FRESH & INNOVATIVE Award 2015
Download the Judges Report to understand better the criteria and comments.
School Marketing Awards 2015 REPORT (641 KB)
Each year Centre for Marketing Schools evaluates the effectiveness of prospectuses from a variety of schools. The role of the school prospectus is continually being questioned. These schools have chosen to continue to use printed prospectuses as part of their promotion to parents. Download the Judges Report to understand better the criteria and comments.GOLD Award 2015
School Marketing Awards 2015 REPORT (641 KB)
This year our judges gave a significantly higher score to the winning video. As a result we have introduced a Diamond Award. Download the Judges Report to understand better the criteria and comments.DIAMOND Award 2015
MOST LOVED AND SHAREABLE VIDEO Award 2015St Catherine’s Waverley, NSW
School Marketing Awards 2015 REPORT (641 KB)
Your school’s reputation is a fragile thing. Don’t take a good one for granted. Allegations of breaches in child protection, even historical ones, can bring your school’s name into the media for all the wrong reasons. One school, which as far as I am aware, do not have any allegations against them, took a proactive stance through an open letter to their school community. I have removed references to the school but believe it could be used as a good model for others.
An Open Letter to the [School Name] Community from the Head, [Name] regarding allegations of child sexual abuse - Historical MattersWith the increased level of public awareness and concern arising from past breaches of trust in child protection matters, it is natural for people to reflect on experiences in their lives, particularly during their time in school. The Council of [School Name] encourages any member of the [School Name] community who may have matters of concern from their time at [School Name] to make contact with us. To assist with this process, the School has established a Confidential Help Line [1800 Number].
However, if you would prefer to write to us, please use the following email address concerns@[Schoolwebsite]. This confidential email address is managed by our Senior Counsellor, [Name].
If any member of the [School Name] community wishes to discuss any matter personally with me or someone from the School, please do not hesitate to contact the School. Please be assured that all matters raised with the School will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, compassion and respect. Our prayerful support is offered to every generation that makes up our community of [School Name].
When considering promotional videos for your school the expense of a professional quality production can seem daunting for many school budgets. A good video can be used for years. Since 26 January 2012 the John Paul College 'Spirit Video' has received over 100,000 views on YouTube.
Have you re-read your school advertisements from five, ten or fifteen years ago? Are they still true? Would your current parents who responded to them think so? A recent article reported that “The Armidale School (TAS) would admit female students next year for the first time in its 123-year history.” The decision was considered divisive among parents. “One mother calling it a "disgrace". "It's not about tradition it is about what was sold to us," she said.
I like to watch popular videos about education on YouTube to better understand the many messages our parents are exposed to, or bombarded with. I call it research. Many videos are easy to agree with yet do need to be challenged. I find many solutions offered are simply based on alternative worldviews and belief systems. All education starts with a belief system. Replacing one belief system with another may satisfy one group and alienate others.This video encourages us to consider the real purpose of education for children and adults. Do we agree that ‘Working’ and ‘Sustaining good relationships” are really what we should be aiming for? The following words and phrases - “should”, “ideal”, “utopia”, “what they actually need to learn” all reveal a belief system about education.
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