As colleges and universities across the country compete for a shrinking number of students, it’s critical for schools to position and market themselves effectively—creating an “education brand” that resonates with potential students.
What’s an education brand? It’s defining what makes a school unique: its culture, its community, its strengths—and communicating that uniqueness in a compelling and engaging way. It’s similar to employer branding, in which companies capture and articulate their culture to attract candidates who will be a good fit, and who are likely to stay. In our knowledge-based economy, the right person in the right role can have an outsized impact on the bottom line, and so finding and appealing to those individuals is key.
Why does attracting the “right” students matter? Many reasons, including fulfilling the mission of educating students and preparing them for a brighter future. But there’s much more to it than that. Funding, once founded on enrollment, is shifting, and outcomes are now the metrics that matter. Attracting students who are a good fit for the institution supports successful outcomes, and helps those schools rise in the ranks and secure the future of the school as well as for the students it educates.
Does education branding mean only marketing to the best of the best, the top tier students with the highest test scores and most impressive extracurriculars? Not at all.
There are many different types of schools for a reason. It’s not necessarily about attracting the BEST students. It’s about attracting the best students for your institution—where talents and interests converge and align with programs, culture, support systems, and everything else that makes a college or university unique—and uniquely right.
Clark State Community College in Ohio is a great example of successful education branding. Starting with detailed research into the different types of students and their specific needs, we were able to develop a comprehensive 360-degree view of what made a good fit for the college from the perspective of guidance counselors, community and business leaders, college faculty and staff, and with the students themselves. This laid the foundation for an engaging and effective positioning strategy and a comprehensive enrollment campaign based on that positioning.
Clark State’s education brand launched this past summer, but it’s already having an impact: the college reports enrollment numbers are up—one of only three schools in Ohio with increased enrollment. Not only is this great news for Clark State, but for the students and the communities it serves. And that’s a metric that matters.
Are you struggling to define your education brand, grow enrollment, and drive successful outcomes for your students? Talk to us, and find out how we can help build a brighter future for your school, and for your students.