What is the ultimate branding differentiator for schools?

Existing Scenario

Before a decade or more, overall development of a child used to happen in school as well as at home. However, today with both the parents working, this responsibility seems to have significantly shifted to schools, or that is how many parents perceive it. As a result, parents are expecting schools to provide many other things apart from just teaching the kids the curriculum prescribed by the board. And for this, most of them are willing to pay higher fees.

Some of the major factors parents consider before they select a school include a) type of academic board, b) infrastructure (building, equipment, technology, sports, co-curricular, canteen, bus facility, and safety), c) academic results, d) fees, e) proximity from home, and f) school culture and reviews.

Some schools use national, state-wide, or city-level school rankings as one of the differentiating factors. Few other schools use accreditation or certification like ISO, NABET, or just the board affiliation as a credible differentiating factor. The limitation of such ranking and accreditation is that they consider the same above-mentioned factors. In nutshell, it is branding on the same things in a different form, only the difference is that the branding factors are recognized by an external agency.

Considering all these aspects, schools have always focused their branding efforts majorly around infrastructure, academic results, and some special facilities. However, when every school does its branding on the same factors, how can two or more comparable schools differentiate themselves? How can they stand out better from the others?

Search for differentiator

The biggest branding treasure the schools have ignored so far is their teachers and their skills. Even parents for that matter take teachers, their availability, their skills, and teaching quality for granted. It seems like a ‘given’ fact for the parents that once a child is sent to a school and the required fees are paid, the teaching taken care of. Principal may know the skill-set of the teachers; but how many explicit attempts schools do to showcase their teachers’ skills?

Think about it. Teachers are the only greatest capital you have that can change the brand image of your school. Rest of the factors can be replicated by other schools; but no one can replicate the human capital factor – the teachers.

How about using teachers’ skills to create an appealing and unique brand positioning of the school?  It is obvious that you already know the answer to this question. The more pertinent question is what skills do I use to do that?

What is the ultimate branding differentiator for schools

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The Ultimate Differentiator

Can we use the data on teachers’ age, experience, and qualification to brand our school? Can we use teachers’ behavior as a differentiating factor? Now, these are very basic factors. In fact, many schools provide details of their teachers’ qualification on their website. As a result, these factors are not the great differentiators when we are talking about taking the brand of the leading schools to the next level.

The ultimate differentiator is the core-teaching skills of teachers!

Let us consider the following example:
One of the core teaching skills is motivation skill. Each child has different needs depending on various factors like his/her capacity, speed of information assimilation, learning difficulties or disabilities, home environment, and attitude of his/her peers towards him/her, etc. If a school has majority of its teachers whose motivation skill is high enough to cater to varying motivation needs of students, it becomes a comforting and trust building factor for the parents. Therefore, it becomes a unique branding aspect of your school. This is one such core teaching skill. Imagine if you have multiple core teaching skills to showcase your school.

It is possible to measure skills such Motivation Skill in its various shades scientifically and comprehensively. The bottleneck in doing so is either lack of time and availability of scientific methods in schools or the lack of skilled human resources to do it. This is where the solutions like Teacher Skills Analytics can be helpful. Some of the progressive schools in major metro cities in India are using such solution to their advantage.

The results of scientific analysis of teacher skill sets and other organizational aspects can go a long way in enhancing the brand image in the minds of parents and other stakeholders (regulatory and otherwise). This also displays school’s commitment towards continual enhancement of teaching quality to ensure overall development of children.

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