It seems that when brand messaging is new and fresh, independent school communications are teeming with the stuff — garnering buzz and excitement with internal and external audiences. Most independent schools build on this energy and take the brand to greater heights year after year. But for some, a year after launch, the brand messaging is hard to find. What happened?

Did the school…

A. lose momentum,

B. lose their way,

C. lack a brand steward,

D. lack leadership support,

E. lack motivation,

F. any of the above?

The answer is “F.” Depending on the answer(s), it means the school wasn’t prepared for or didn’t commit to brand messaging for the long-term. This is disheartening, but, more importantly, it is an expensive waste of time for the entire school community.

These answers are interwoven. It’s easy to lose your momentum and way without a strong brand steward. It’s likely a strong brand steward will lose momentum without leadership support. Leadership will lose momentum without powerful motivation.

There’s another reason independent schools become brand-message drop-outs. On occasion, a school hires a new Director of Marketing Communications who goes rogue and sets out branding the school on his/her own. If the school has a strong brand in place that is effective, new hires should take a year to learn the community before making changes. After that, it’s appropriate for the Director of Marketing Communications to assess the existing brand, look for places to improve it, and, perhaps, make the case for re-branding. Making a mark is less important than protecting the school’s hard-earned brand.     

Don’t become a brand message drop-out. Raise your baby brand into an honor-roll student.

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