“You can't stop the future, You can't rewind the past, The only way to learn the secret...is to press play.”? Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
You may have often heard that change is the only constant. However, it is this change that we resist the most. Change is resisted because of the uncertainty that it brings with it; however, it is only wise to move ahead with the times.
Rebranding is more like transformation and every brand over time needs to work on transformation. As times change our thinking process also needs to change, as we need to match the world around us. For example, at one point in time digital devices were not allowed in school. However today we use these digital devices to create an enhanced learning experience.
Big corporate houses like Tata, Godrej, Reliance, PepsiCo to name a few rebrand their products often to keep ahead of the times and to keep communicating with their audiences.
Education as an industry has also evolved over time, decades back education was all about rote learning, and then we moved to having computer labs to learn basics of coding, Microsoft Office etc. Today technology has taken over and we use tabs to enhance the experience of learning and the future is going to be all about personalised learning.
So, the answer is every school needs to rebrand itself often. They need to relook at what is happening around them in the education space. Every founder had a certain idea when they started the school. They had a purpose and a way to go about achieving that purpose. It is important for the management to keep evaluating whether what they stand for still holds true or whether they need to relook their vision and mission statements. As the brand evolves, it is crucial to keep communicating to the ever-evolving stakeholders to maintain the right brand perception at all times.
NEED FOR REBRANDING
1 To create a new brand positioning in the minds of all stakeholders it is important to keep inventing and repositioning ourselves in the mind of the stakeholder. To keep ahead of time and competition, continuous communication is crucial.
2 Crystallise a powerful story that truly defines who you are, what you stand for, and how you are unique. Powerful emotional stories are what leave a lasting impact on the minds of people. Over time, stories evolve and their narration changes too. For eg. ‘Mahabharat’ shown on DD and ‘Mahabharat’ that aired on Star TV were way different in terms of narration, storytelling etc. Also, in a school we regularly have new stories of student achievements to share. Sharing these stories will always fetch you a high recall value.
3 Leverage your strengths and legacy credentials. A brand that has been around for long has over time built a legacy and holds credibility. Also, when you are working on rebranding you are leveraging on your strengths and making changes accordingly. It makes sense to continuously communicate about your strengths to build a high brand perception.
4 It makes it easier to communicate your unique story that aligns with the parent’s perception. A complete rehaul of the brand is a tool to highlight and share our unique stories. Stories which otherwise would be lost in history.
5 Evolving expectations from education are placing new kind of requirement set from schools. Education today is becoming more and more learner centric. The rote method of learning no longer holds true and the future of education is moving towards personalised learning. So, it is important to communicate the same to parents. It is also important to make the required changes in the system to be able to facilitate personalised learning.
When you do decide to rebrand, you need to first do a brand audit. Look at the current SWOT analysis, the need to rebrand, the trends of the industry 10 years from now to incorporate rebranding.
Rebranding is of two kinds—intrinsic and superficial. In an intrinsic process the product or service is completely overhauled while in a superficial one the brand changes their identity. What does your school actually need to change when they are looking at rebranding themselves? Here are seven elements you need to consider:
1 Key messaging (change in vision and mission statement)
2 School culture
3 Style guide
5 Website/ digital
1 The first step to rebranding is introspection: who are you, what do you stand for, what you want to be known for, what aspect you are looking to rebrand. Basically, you need to define what your brand story currently is and what is it that you want it to be. Once that is defined you can go ahead with step 2.
2 The second step to the rebranding process is to conduct a research. There are various stakeholders in a school some of them being parents, students, teachers, government agencies and more. It is essential to understand what each of them perceives of the brand currently, what their expectations from the brand are and what is the employees’ perception.
3 Communicate with all stakeholders. Communicate with the people concerned right from the beginning. Let them know that you are rebranding. Share essential information like the timeline, budget, changes in the competitive landscape, key objectives for rebranding etc.
4 Plan to execute the rebranding process effectively. It makes perfect sense to roll out the communication of rebranding correctly. Some of the ways of doing that is to have launch parties for announcing the rebranding, external and internal PR campaigns.
5 Make sure you create a brand guideline. Once a brand has gone through the rebranding process, it is important that all parties and stakeholders involved use the same logos, same messaging, colour palettes and other important aspects correctly. Maintaining a standard communication is crucial to build the desired brand perception.
6 Make sure you document the full process. Rebranding is a long-drawn process and to create the right perception it is important to document the same. Lack of documentation may lead to loss of important information, which eventually will make the whole process a futile one.
We recently looked at rebranding our schools and preschools and what I share here is my experience of going through this process. We crafted a branding note for all our stakeholders sharing the purpose of rebranding, created new digital friendly logos, rebranded our stationery, revamped all our branding and creatives etc.
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