Latest eNewsletter

Issue 690 - 28-may-2017

What is your role in school marketing?

“Your job as a marketer is to leave the brand in at least as good a shape as when you inherited it. And if the right choice is to maintain the status quo, then job done.” This is a good quote to re-read. 

Each of us are responsible to play a part in a season in the life of our school. We are part of the story. I find this sobering. The quote is from > Naughty Client School: marketing ethics and what not to do.

Understanding the role of ethics in school marketing is important. I believe there is no point teaching ethics to students if the adults are not practicing it. Do students and parents read our school advertisements and marketing materials and respond with “Yes! That’s true.” Or do they say “that’s not my experience” or worse?

The article also says…  “Marketing used to be the department that did the colouring in. Now we’re drawing the lines that everyone else colours in. And we all know why. The balance of power has shifted. Once brands were powerful and customers were grateful. Now customers are powerful and brands are grateful. So CEOs are desperately looking for help with truly understanding customers. And it’s what we’ve always done as marketers. It’s meant the marketing department finally has a prime seat at the boardroom table.”

Issue 691 - 4-jun-2017

School photos – to photoshop or not?

Taking school photos is big business. In Australia purchasing individual, and class photos, is still an expected part of school life for most students. This surprises me when we these students are probably the most photographed generation ever. 
After several decades using large school photography companies this year we engaged a small boutique firm. A major reason was the level of care taken creating customised school specific back drops and the patience, directing and skill of taking multiple photos of individual students till the photographer was happy. This contrasted with the previous production line process of speeding through the individual portraits. 

The proposed increased use of photoshop was however an important consideration. The taking of multiple photos of class groups allows the swapping of a student’s face if they blink, are distracted, or are not smiling with another photo where they are. While this will make a better photo, and is still ‘real’, it is no longer the traditional snapshot in time which may cause laughter or embarrassment in years to come. Messy hair, crooked teeth and ties not being quite straight are all things I prefer to keep authentic.

A recent article, Photoshopping school photos is a modern day tragedy encouraged discussion of this issue. The article quotes a mother Ange Pickett whose son had teeth photoshopped saying “I want my son to be able look back over all his school photos and see how he has changed. It was also important for our son to know we love him as he looks now. Accepting the Photoshopped photo says to him that we think there is something wrong with how he looks”.

School photos are part of the marketing mix of your school. They are a record of school life. I believe it is something we as school marketers should consider and agree upon the level of photoshopping which you will allow. 

Issue 690 - 28-may-2017

Tell one student’s story to attract more like them

The more student stories you tell the more likely another prospective student or parent is likely to identity with their journey. This beautiful video from Brigidine College St Ives promotes their dance program. However in doing so it promotes the school culture, facilities and dedication of staff. 

Issue 691 - 4-jun-2017

Helping families understand your enrolment process

How easy do you make it for new families to enrol? Jodie Kensington of Catholic College Wodonga shared with me their new enrolment page of the website. I think it is very well designed to help families understand and walk through the four stage process of: 

  • Research
  • Enrolling
  • Accepting and securing a place
  • Familiarisation
The professionally presented 36 page Enrolment Handbook, under the Research section, is a clever way of answering most of the frequent questions up front.

Take a look at

Jodie says “I’ve been mulling over how to do the enrolment process differently for well over a year and the website redevelopment was part of that. We started with a total overhaul of the Enrolment Handbook last year. What was its purpose and its audience? What was the purpose of the Family Handbook issued in June/July to new families? Why the double up on information?  Now we have one document.  It follow a 4 step process that families take when deciding which school they want to enrol into. This is based on experience, questions asked on tour, and when they were asked along the whole enrolment process.  Our staff, our information evenings, Open Day etc, constantly refer to the handbook as the ‘one stop shop’ as refer families to start their answering their questions from there."

Well done Jodie and thanks for sharing what you are doing.