Think about the time when you go out shopping. Do you just randomly pick up items from the shelf and throw them into your shopping cart? Well, no. Apart from checking the prices, we check the quality of the product, the reviews about the product, the trustworthiness of the company, etc and then make up our minds whether to actually buy. To think of it, the entire process is quite time consuming, involving hours of research, and honestly, no one really has the time. What actually triggers our purchase is the brand name. We do not question a product if it belongs to a reputed brand. We trust the brand and hence, we believe it to be a good product.
The concept of ‘branding’ is far beyond just the brand name. It is the true identity of a company – who they are, what they do, their reputation, the quality of their products and various other things. According to Forbes, “The main benefit of branding tools, and reason to employ them. According to Circle Research, 77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth. As educators, we can therefore take the cue from branding and marketing campaigns of successful businesses and create a positive perception of our education institutions as well. These days, parents are less prone to follow the traditional concepts of a formal parent-teacher meeting or having a conversation over the phone. Parents these days judge a school by the efforts the school has made to create an image through a variety of digital communication means. The use of social media— Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn et all—has dramatically helped in improving our relationships with parents and has provided them with real-time communication on upcoming events and various other issues. The branding strategy of Satluj Group of Schools through social media and other media with effective content, has really reaped positive results for us and has put the institution at the top of the ladder. As per Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote brand awareness. Branding and marketing, therefore, can be an effective way to put schools on the map. is to boost profits.” A whopping 89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation, as per Content Marketing Institution. Therefore, it is safe to say that brand marketing is very important to all businesses, from those selling toys, breakfast cereals, developing new technologies, to corporate companies and educational institutions.
According to Pam Moore, CEO and founder of Marketing Nutz, on an average 5 to 7 brand impressions are necessary before anyone even remembers a brand. The school’s brand is like a calling card. It is how the school is identified and remembered. A research by Harvard Business Review found that, 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. When someone sees your school picture or the logo or the school colours, it evokes a certain emotion in them. It can be of admiration, indifference or anything else depending on the reputation of the school and how well it has been marketed. With so many stellar institutions out there, the school’s brand is the only chance to prove its exclusivity. So, as educators, we need to ask ourselves how we want to be perceived and then translate that into the school branding.
When it comes to communicating and connecting with customers, in this case, prospective parents, branding and marketing plays a very significant role in whether they select a particular institution for their child They refer to the school’s achievements, top results, infrastructure, etc. to gauge the quality of the school. All this will make a difference only if the school has been perceived uniquely and positively in all the above grounds. This is something that only good marketing and branding can help with.
Branding has become necessary for schools just because of its sheer number. A decade or so ago, parents had to select from only a handful of schools. Hence, selection was easy. Now, with an increase in income, parents are willing to spend more on the education of their child. As a result, more educational institutions are cropping up. India has somewhere around 1.5 to 2 million schools. With each school having their own loyal fans and them in turn posting numerous reviews and comments, parents are getting more confused as ever. The best way to get noticed is to communicate your uniqueness to the parents.
According to an EY-FICCI report on the education sector in India, the K-12 school system in India is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.5 million schools and 250 million+ students enrolled. India’s education market is worth $133 billion with $ 56 billion in private spend, out of which $ 40 billion is in K-12 Education, as per Kaizen Education (KE), 2014. The private spending in the K-12 sector is growing at a CAGR of 12%. It is therefore safe to say that, as the industry is growing by leaps and bounds, the education sector is becoming more competitive market day by day.
The brand helps in creating the first impression of the school. It gives it a sense of consistency that prospective parents look for. It builds trust. According to research by Lucidpress, the average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%. Good branding can therefore, be integral in marketing a school. Apart from the huge exposure and the increased admission rate, the branding helps to develop the uniqueness of the school. It can be the school’s legacy, infrastructure, curriculum, faculty or academic prowess. Building the school’s brand around these features will help sell the school to parents looking for these special attributes.
At the end of the day, a brand is important because it is an identifiable characteristic of the school, the way that everyone recognizes the school. It helps cement relationships with parents who know of the school, as they tend to trust more established brands. The brand helps to differentiate it from other schools. It helps to increase the school's exposure as parents and pupils are able to assign a particular image and colour scheme to the institution. According to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), 2016-2025 is being defined as the period of educational boom in India. With the increasing urban population, the demand for good school is only set to grow. To ensure a stable expansion, strategic brand-building shall be key to the success of any school.
- With inputs from Ms. Sayoni Bhattarcharjee, Satluj Innovation Team
Reekrit Serai is Director & Dean, Satluj Group of Schools, Haryana & Punjab
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