Origin Stories and Your School’s Brand

Posted on May 19, 2017 in Blog, Insights

Brand strategy is based on a school’s existing strengths as well as an aspirational vision. Your brand needs to convey a clear and authoritative point of view about your education and the results it delivers. Your brand also looks back to the founding of the school and the pride that has built up over time that propels it forward.

Throughout their marketing messages, the most influential and effective school heads anchor their vision in the founding of the school. Why? Often the founding head(s) did something that was against the grain and norms of the day. The origin story is justification for visionary establishment of distinctive programs and creating a learning environment that is bold, notable and truly differentiating.

Girls schools are doing a particularly good job of getting across the linkage between their origins and their contemporary raison d’être. Take a look at what H.O.S. Elizabeth English says on Archer School’s website.

Founded by three bold and visionary women, The Archer School for Girls was always intended to be an innovative school, a place where every programmatic decision is based on the current research about how girls learn, develop, and thrive. As a contemporary girls’ school, Archer’s mission is to educate the future female leaders of this country in an environment that is at once ambitious and joyful.

“The strength of Archer’s message is that it is undeniably and unabashedly pro-girl in all ways, shapes, and forms,” says Brad Rathgeber, head of school and CEO of One Schoolhouse.

Your origin story is essential to the brand because it communicates to prospective parents: This is the school you’ve been looking for. To back this claim, part of the brand story must also be that the founder’s “better way” proved to be true. In fact, it was so successful that families flocked to it and the school grew.

At the NCGS annual conference in June, I will be co-presenting Sugar and Spice to Glass Ceiling Smasher: The Revolution in Marketing Education for Girls.

Come sit in and learn how to convey your school’s unique story by looking back as you also look forward. Not for girls only.

Photo credit: Laurel School archives