WHAT IS A BRAND?
Despite popular misconceptions, a brand is much more than a logo or a slogan; it is a powerful tool that can help you stand out from the educational marketplace and create a lasting impression in the minds of your stakeholders.
In simple terms, a brand is how you present yourself to the world. It communicates the vision, values and ethos of your multi-academy trust (MAT). With creative and compelling messaging, a strong brand can help you engage your audience and establish relationships based on a sense of belonging, loyalty and trust.
WHY IS BRANDING IMPORTANT FOR MULTI-ACADEMY TRUSTS?
More than ever before, schools and academies are beginning to realise the potential of branding and the many benefits it can bring. By effectively showcasing the strengths of your trust, a strong brand can help you to connect with prospective pupils and parents, whilst also supporting recruitment of the best talent.
Following the government’s Case For a Fully Trust-Led System, branding has never been more important for MATs. In line with the government’s vision, many trusts are looking to expand to a minimum of 10 schools or more. As competition increases, an effective branding strategy is essential to help you attract more schools to join your trust.
5 STEPS TO BUILD A STRONG BRAND
MATs can earn both respect and recognition by consistently delivering on brand promises and maintaining a strong brand presence. This will help you to establish your MAT as a trusted educational institution, drawing in more schools to become a part of your trust and laying the foundations for sustainable growth.
Consider how you can take the following steps to build a strong brand for your trust:
- What sets you apart?
Think about your unique selling proposition, whether it is your faith-inspired ethos, strategic governance, emphasis on professional development, culturally-rich curriculum offer and leader in evidence-based practice or your staff wellbeing support. What makes your trust one of a kind?
These qualities will form the foundation of your brand identity, helping your trust stand out from the crowd and attracting like-minded partners to join your community, as well as potential pupils and parents.
- Know your audience
Remember that you can’t please everyone. Instead, take the time to identify your target audience, whether that is prospective schools or the local communities you serve. Consider how you can tailor your brand identity to capture their attention.
With a greater understanding of your target audience, you can speak directly to their needs and develop meaningful connections. This will help you to establish your MAT as the preferred choice for stakeholders, gaining a competitive edge in the market and setting you up for lasting success.
- Consistency is key
Your brand should be consistent across all touchpoints, including your website, social media, and marketing materials. This will help you create a strong brand presence that resonates with your audience.
Start by establishing a clear brand strategy and guidelines, including your logo, colour scheme, font, messaging and visual elements. Ensure that everyone involved in creating content and promoting your trust is familiar with the style guide. Inconsistency can lead to confusion and potentially damage your credibility.
- Share your story
Storytelling is an increasingly popular marketing technique that allows you to communicate the mission, values and history of your brand in a compelling and relatable way. This allows you to humanise your MAT and connect with people on an emotional level.
Weave together a narrative that showcases the transformative experiences, opportunities, and positive difference your trust makes to the lives of your pupils. Consider all the ways you can share your story through newsletters, blogs, case studies, quotes and social media posts. Don’t forget to include photos and videos to really bring your story to life!
- Showcase your people
Put your people in the spotlight and celebrate their stories, experiences and achievements. This will help your brand create a personal connection with its audience, giving them a glimpse of daily life in your trust and showing them a community they want to be a part of.
This is also a great way to get pupils, parents, staff and other stakeholders involved in the branding process. Listening to their feedback can help to inspire a truly authentic brand identity, whilst bringing the community together under a shared sense of pride and purpose.
A well-defined brand can enhance your MAT’s reputation, credibility and overall standing in the education landscape. By following these five steps, we hope that your trust establishes a brand that truly reflects your values and resonates with your community.
For further support, get in touch with our Marketing team to receive expert advice and guidance. With many years’ experience in the industry, we can help you create a branding strategy that is made to last and grow alongside your MAT.
To learn more about our services, please get in touch.