This may seem like a bizarre question. Why ask? Of course, it’s special. No one has the same traditions, or the dedicated faculty and staff that your school does. And, the unique and super-talented students. Of course, you’re special.
But are you really? Let’s try this. Go through these questions and tally how many are “yesses” and how many are “nos.”
- Does your tag line have the word “transform” in it?
- Does the notion of “transform” feature prominently in your main body copy?
- Is there a mention of “mind, body and spirit” in your mission statement?
- Is one of your differentiators the individual attention that your child will receive from faculty and administrators?
- Do you have lots of pictures of students in a science lab or in front of a computer to show that you have STEM programs?
- Do you have pictures of your students showing them involved with the community and volunteering their time to a worthy cause?
- Do you prepare your students for future careers that no one can imagine? Is the word “passion” used more than five (5) times on your website?
If you answered “yes” to more than four of these questions, that is good. All the above are the essential basic ingredients in the world of education. It’s what parents expect when they pay a tuition. It may not have been a decade ago, but, today it is. If it isn’t about the singular focus on their child, their holistic development and preparation for future careers – and all these are worthy aspirations – then you don’t even make the first cut.
But, they alone don’t make you “special.” So, how do you show that your school is “special?”
You need to find out what makes your school unique and different. There are resources and activities that make your school standout to perspective audiences, and there are the things no one can replicate. So, to find out what they are, let’s try this:
Step 1 – Make a list of your competitors and have their websites handy. You’ll need them in a few minutes.
Step 2 – Take a piece of paper and write down all qualities that are unique to your school and that make you stand out. Your list should easily have 20-30 quality attributes. (If you can’t come up with 20 – 30, you either aren’t factoring in all the components of what makes up the experience at your school, or you have a bigger problem).
Step 3 – Now, go back to the websites you looked at earlier and strike out all the attributes that are on your list that they also mention. Once you’ve done this, identify the attributes that you didn’t share with your competitors.
Step 4 – Now, you’ve got to be honest and objective. Are the remaining attributes – the ones no one else had – important or significant to your audiences? If not, then you’ve got work to do. As you can guess, you are too similar to your competitors and when it comes to comparing two products and services that are indistinguishable and similar, price always wins.
Step 5 – If you have a meaningful attribute (or two), then you have to weave this into your marketing and communications. Don’t bury it. You have found a meaningful differentiator, so use it to your advantage.
Promoting an organization, service or product, no matter how noble the mission, in a competitive category requires a focus on what makes the offering special and different and, ergo is a better choice for your audience. It’s not easy to figure out what these meaningful attributes are, but when you find them, they are extremely valuable in setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
If you want to discuss further, you can contact us and we can talk.