Your school’s core values differentiate your offering. Or do they?
While most schools have a set of values (somewhere…?), these are often hidden. They become noticeable as you become immersed in the day to day school life. But a prospective customer may not discern these core values during the critical early stages of choosing a school.
With so many schools offering similar features, the values of a school can help to illustrate the ‘why’ this school is different to others – Those emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and lifestyle benefits which are only truly understood when the family signs on and becomes a part of the school experience.
I have had a bit of fun going through examples from various school social media marketing groups, locally and internationally, to pull together a handy list on how to use your school’s core values in your marketing.
1. Conduct a survey of parents attending your Open Day event
Ask them what they value about the school, collect these words and create an infographic for a thank you email or on social media to summarise and reinforce the positive school experience. Then follow up with content about these values, how they tie in with the school ethos, building on the Open Day event.
I found an excellent example of this on the website of Charleston School in Aberdeen, UK. See https://charleston.aberdeen.sch.uk/?p=3340
2. Run a social media values campaign
Post weekly or monthly on one core value at a time, using a branded template in strategic posts. Include an image of a pupil/ staff member/ group/ class putting that value into practice or simply an image to convey the ethos.
Here’s a great example from the Facebook page of St Andrews Episcopal School in New Orleans, LA, USA where the core value of Honesty is being celebrated in a well-presented branded post.
3. Use video to bring the values alive
Create a series of videos on your core values or virtues. Capture the children’s understanding of these values in practice at their school or staff members’ first experience of the values being lived by their pupils.
Pinecrest Academy in Georgia, USA posted a cute video on their Facebook page showing the virtue of ‘orderliness’ as explained by a child. See: https://www.facebook.com/pinecrestacademy/
4. Display branded values banners
Develop branded posters, banners, flags to display the school’s core values. Include phrases and images to bring them alive.
The Cambridge School in San Diego, CA, USA shared their values banners in the courtyard on their Instagram page very effectively.
5. Initiate classroom values projects
Including the academic staff in a core values exercise can really embed the values in the classroom and get children and their parents thinking and talking about what makes the school unique. It also provides excellent content for marketing through fun drawings, drama creations and multimedia.
These are just a few ideas to use in a way that suits your school. Remember that core values can be refreshed over time as the school develops, and this may be an opportunity to plan such an exercise. Generic words such as integrity and honesty are powerful, but they can be expressed in a way that is specific and relevant to your school, with a little creative engagement.
It’s time to take those values out of the policy manual or depths of your website and dust them off!
I'm Keryn House
I enjoy creating marketing anecdotes and visuals related to my horse as there is a lot to be learned from animals, and this provides a unique context to my writing. My horse Slick (aka Sports Express) has been with me for many years and is a source of inspiration and relaxation for my strategic mind. He lives on a friend’s farm in KZN and I see him twice a week.
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