Monday, 2 December 2013

Managing reputation - rather than "brand"

The language of markets sometimes does not go down so well in education. I read Karl Rivers' article on Managing Your School's Online Brand with interest and he asked how schools manage this. I replied on the Ed Tech Google+ Community and thought it worth repeating here.

Firstly, why do it: No organisation can succeed without a clear communications strategy. And ensuring that it is carried out.
This is not just about selling or marketing, it is about telling your story - because if you do not, others will.
Each person's reality is in fact a conglomeration of bits of many stories, often heard and passed into memory without any error checking mechanism. With social media (if not just e-mail), stories can take a life of their own and become the reality for many. The inaccurate and distorted story will then be the reality for your client/parent/community member.
It is necessary to listen too. Not just because you might have to act to ensure the correct version is communicated, but you can also learn and then be able to improve what you do.

Second point - about the concept of "brand".
This grates with many educators. We resist the idea that schools are a brand as if we were peddling a commodity.
So we have just used other terms such as "reputation". Now, this matters and it is worth conserving. Also our positioning, our special attributes, our identity and our image.
This is a Google presentation which builds up these points starting from the school's philosophy and objectives, how this is perceived by our stakeholders, and how the four factors of Reputation, Positioning, Identity and Image are considered. Finally, it is not just about a good communications strategy but a good quality assurance process - beyond the age of spin to actual substance.

1 comment:

George Hobson said...

It seems school "branding" is all the rage. Here is an article in Education Week, but I do not think that they get it - we need to speak the language of schools not the business world.