Education and Instructional Technology Tweet Recap w/e 06-23-18

Education and Instructional Technology Tweet Recap w/e 06-23-18 Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week in the wrap … free teacher PD from Khan…

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Education Brand Loyalty: Creating Long-Lasting School Spirit for Your School

Education Brand Loyalty: Creating Long-Lasting School Spirit for Your School

Cultivating education brand loyalty is a long game. Getting new students to come to your school is just the beginning. How are you working to make this critical marketing condition a reality?

The last thing we need to talk about in our discussion on the necessary marketing conditions you need to successfully build your education brand is education brand loyalty. I left this last in the series because it’s the hardest condition to create for two big reasons:

  1. Education brand loyalty requires considerable time to create, and more importantly,
  2. It requires the combined effort of your entire staff, faculty, and current students.

Education brands like yours are much different than consumer brands. According to this Inside Higher Ed article, schools “have experiential brands and long-term relationships.”

This means that your brand is either helped or hindered by each and every single interaction that a student, alumnus, or donor has with any representation of your school.

Conversations with faculty. Dealing with administrative issues with school staff. The energy felt in your school’s on-campus coffee bar. Each one of these interactions will either build or destroy the way your audience perceives you.

And this ultimately determines their loyalty to your school.

I know what you’re thinking. Your marketing team has very little control over the experiences people have with your school.

And you’re right…

But you can have a big influence on improving these interactions all across your school as the brand cheerleader for your school!

You are the cheerleader, pumping up the school spirit with your audience!

Cheerleaders, mascots, and marching bands can’t control all the variables that make up school spirit at a sports event, but they exert a ton of influence on the crowd to keep spirits high and make that event unforgettable.

Education brand loyalty is more like school spirit than customer retention in the business world.

You and your marketing team are the cheerleaders that help stir up school pride, spirit, and excellence. Here’s how.

Ways You Can Improve Education Brand Loyalty
1. Craft and enforce language that expresses the heart of your school’s brand.

The very first task of any education marketing team is to discover and articulate the core values and essence of the school brand in words and imagery.

The words, slogans, colors, typography, symbols, and logos chosen to represent your education brand should be standardized and made available to all departments that communicate to the various audiences.

Train your staff colleagues in how to insert key marketing messages into their daily communications as a matter of practice.

2. Consider current students as a primary audience.

Don’t wait until graduation! Alumni development begins on the first day of school.

It’s a common mistake to focus all the marketing attention on external audiences. But because your school has an experiential brand, every interaction today with your school needs to be accompanied by your brand’s messaging to create a seamless experience later for graduates of your school.

“This paradigm creates access to many different types of touchpoints—from student experiences to alumni communications—and therefore many opportunities to build loyalty. The more institutions take advantage of these opportunities to build meaningful engagement, the more loyal and committed their constituents will become.” – Inside Higher Ed

3. Optimize your marketing for retention, not just acquisition.

There’s a big discussion right now among fundraising professionals on the merits of spending more on retention rather than acquisition. The same could be said about how we go about marketing.

Retention-focused marketing tactics focus on engaging with people after they do what you asked for in your acquisition marketing. This includes thank you letters, welcome packets, student on-boarding, and other helpful methods.

Retention could also include marketing that motivates the audience to engage further with the school’s mission.

For example, marketing your referral program to new students asking them to refer their friends to your school would be a retention strategy that feeds into your acquisition strategy.

4. Tell stories that inspire school spirit.

Make sure your marketing isn’t all about you! Highlight the people who are living out your school values in blog posts, newsletters, magazines, and video hero spots.

5. Promote programs that make alumni feel as though they’re still a part of the action.

Put some marketing muscle behind the departments in your schools that offer sports, volunteer, and career mentoring or networking opportunities for your alumni. These programs and events can be marketing mediums that reinforce education brand loyalty.

6. Host interdepartmental school spirit events.

Administrative staff is often overlooked when it comes to school spirit activities. They’ve got their heads down in the work that needs to be done to keep your institution running at full speed.

As the school brand’s head cheerleader, put together office events that foster goodwill and school spirit among your office staff. These gatherings can inspire your support staff to greater excellence in their daily work, which will improve every interaction they have with students, parents, alumni, and donors.

7. Don’t get caught up with rankings. Focus on what matters.

School rankings are great, but they’re not your biggest competitive advantage. Encourage your team and your school’s leadership to focus instead on making every interaction with your audiences as memorable as possible. The rankings will follow.

“Rankings get you into the consideration set, but it’s actually what happens after that determines what brand people choose.” – Rao Unnava, Dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

The Experience of a Lifetime

The key to education brand loyalty comes down to the experience that students have while at your school. The memories and feelings they have about their experience with you will follow them for a lifetime as they become alumni and donors.

You may not be able to control everything about student experience at your school, but you can do a lot to support and promote what your school is doing already to boost school spirit.

Here for you.

Education marketing isn’t easy — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a rewarding and successful experience.

We’re here for you. If you’re interested in hearing more about Caylor Solutions and how we can help you reach your marketing goals, let’s talk!

What does education brand loyalty look like for you?

How does your school create a sense of school spirit at your school? How can your marketing team promote and expand that school spirit through your marketing channels?

Comment below!

Featured image by seanlockephotography via Adobe Stock

Cheerleading image by biker3 via Adobe Stock

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No Election-Year Lull for State Lawmakers on K-12 Issues

No Election-Year Lull for State Lawmakers on K-12 Issues Driven by concerns about school safety and a wave of teacher activism over pay, state legislatures tackled contentious education topics in recent sessions, despite the campaign-year hazards.<img src=”; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/>

If Betsy DeVos Scraps the Federal Office for ELLs, Would It Matter?

If Betsy DeVos Scraps the Federal Office for ELLs, Would It Matter? If U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos scraps the long-standing federal office that supports English-learners, a broad community of advocates and experts, including two former directors of the office, warn the move could harm students who already lag their peers on every academic measure.<img src=”; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/>

Brand Awareness: Seven Major Ways to Get More Eyes on Your Brand

Brand Awareness: Seven Major Ways to Get More Eyes on Your Brand

The fourth marketing condition in our series to grow your education brand is brand awareness. The more people who know about you, the more prospective students you’ll attract to your enrollment cycle. Let’s talk about ways to amplify your education brand awareness.

Brand awareness is a popular marketing term, so if you want to get to the awareness hacks right now, feel free to skip to the brand amplifiers below!

But if you’re new to the term, education brand awareness is how aware your target audience is of your organization — who you are, what you have to offer, and what is important to you.

Now, it’s important to think through why increasing your education brand awareness is so important… because you’re going to spend A LOT of your time as a marketer working to create this one marketing condition.

The Importance of Brand Awareness

Every school — whether you’re a college, university, or k–12 school — flourishes or fails depending on the strength of your recruitment pipeline.

Meeting your organization’s KPI’s will mostly come down to the number of conversations your enrollment officers are having weekly with prospectives and their parents.

So for us as education marketers, the primary goal, then, is to keep enrollment officers busy with profitable conversations.

The straightforward rationale here is that when more people are made aware of the various aspects of your brand — like your brand elementsbrand authoritybrand authenticity, or brand promise — they will naturally be motivated to make contact with your enrollment team.

How motivated they are to contact your enrollment team will depend on the quality of the work you’ve done in each of those branding areas that I’ve already written about. You must have a “product” worth talking about before you try to increase brand awareness.

Now that we’ve got a good grasp (or refresher) on the basics behind education brand awareness, let’s dive into these time-tested ways to amplify your education brand.

By the way, I’ve listed them in no particular order. You may find some of them more relevant or strategic for your school.

Education Brand Amplifiers
1. Digital Landscape Awareness

How much of a footprint do you have in the digital landscape? Each day, your audience is spending more time online than the day before.

They’re looking for the answers to their questions about higher education, their career dreams, or what school is the best for their children. And that’s what makes the digital space so exciting!

Not only are you reaching out to build awareness — your audience actively looking to find your content.

This makes digital channels unique in that you’re not only building awareness, you can also give your audience a call to action. Since they came to you, and because you’ve shown brand authoritythrough your content, you can naturally ask them to go to the next step in their engagement with your brand.

I’ve been blogging about digital education marketing for a while now, so click on the links below to get a better idea of how this tactic can raise awareness of your education brand.

Key brand amplifiers in the digital spaces are:

  • Blogging
  • Vlogging and Video Content
  • LinkedIn Publishing – LinkedIn’s blogging feature lets you post long-form articles straight from your LinkedIn profile, and even allows for rich content like images. It’s a great way to get your blog content out to your alumni who very likely to be connecting with you on LinkedIn more so than other platforms.
  • Social Media Contests — Social media contests attract new eyes to your brand by incentivizing your current followers to introduce your brand to their friends by posting their written stories, pics, or videos about your school using cool giveaway prizes.
  • Podcasts — Any school, but especially higher education, could benefit by getting some of their expert faculty and staff to host a podcast on one of the main academic subjects your school leads.
  • PPC ads, Social Media Ads, and Search Engine Marketing
  • Retargeting (remarketing) — Basically, after a visitor comes to your site, they’ll see your ads showing up in their search engine results and social media feeds. Retargeting is an amazing way to keep your brand in front of people who’ve visited your site, and it’s especially powerful when you only retarget those in your geographic region.
  • EBooks — I’ve seen significant success in lead generation using ebooks as an ethical bribe to get prospective students to opt into your email list. A well-done ebook will increase your leads almost every time.

2. Event Marketing

You can use events to increase your education brand awareness by sponsoring or hosting events that engage communities where your audience is most likely to be.

These events could be within your local community — but consider putting on or participating in events within areas of your school’s expertise like leadership, tech, or environmental issues.

3. Referral Programs

Some schools do an incredible job at referral programs. For example, I have it on good authority that Huntington University has experienced some success in their “Find a Forester” campaign where they offer gifts cards, HU apparel, and other giveaways if their current students somehow connect a friend to Huntington.

This may seem gimmicky at first — but think about it.

When your lead comes from a current student, they’re more likely to be a qualified prospect as opposed to just anyone who’s happened to hear about you.

4. Influencer Marketing/Guest Content

My own blog has experienced upticks in traffic just by using this simple, but powerful education brand awareness tactic.

Find subject matter experts, alumni, and faculty to write for your blog, create videos for your vlog, or share your content in their newsletters.

The beauty of this tactic is that your influencers don’t have to be famous to get your brand more exposure. They just need to be respected and established in their circles, which could be as formal as their industry or as informal as their family and friends.

5. Physical Landscape Awareness

Good old fashioned branding isn’t dead! Just make sure that you use images and copy on these physical landscapes that remind people of your education brand more than just showing them your brand.

For example, slogans, mascots, and even landmarks are great images that look good on the items that you’re giving away.

  • Car Wraps — “reminders of the brand but not the brand itself.”
  • Swag
  • Clothing and Apparel

6. Local Partnerships

Form partnerships with local organizations, educational associations, and community initiatives that reinforce or echo your brand values.

7. Personality

This last brand amplifier is to BE USED WITH CAUTION.

But crafting human, personal qualities into your marketing messages that highlight your brand distinctives can make your brand so sticky, your audience will never forget you.

Like the day that Butler Blue, the bulldog, wrote to my son’s pets…

During his college application days, my son applied to Butler University among several others. In the application, he was asked if he had any pets and what were their names. He replied that we had a dog and a cat and gave their names.

That’s a very strange thing to ask in an application. But we forgot about it quickly afterwards.

Use the appropriate tone and look when using personality to increase your education brand awareness.

Then one day, we received a rather unique communication from Butler U.

We opened the fun-looking envelope to find a letter from the school’s live mascot, Butler Blue III addressed to my son’s pets! In effect, the letter was assuring his dog that Butler would take really good care of “their human.”

This kind of light-hearted thoughtfulness to our pets endeared the Butler brand in the Caylor home. In fact, I’m sure I’ve told this story at least 20 times since then!

They also did an incredible job of leveraging their admissions communication flow to further marketing their brand.

Personality is a potent, concentrated brand amplifier, so I must repeat:

Be very careful how, or even if, you implement this tactic. It should never be done outlandishly. However, good-natured, thoughtful humor can go a long way when it’s locked into one or more of your brand distinctives.

Here for you.

Brand amplification is the day in, day out work of marketing. It can be overwhelming, repetitious, or even mundane.

Our team of education marketers at Caylor Solutions has decades of experience in education brand awareness strategies. We’re here for you!

Feel free to get ahold of us today for a free consultation.

How are you raising your education brand awareness?

Are you using personality, or events, or some other tactic you saw in my list? Are you using another method that is missing here? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image by Alexey Kuznetsov via Adobe Stock

Mail Dog image by Javier Brosch via Adobe Stock

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