Ahhh. Admissions season is over, summer is nigh, and it’s time to recharge before the fall frenzy starts up again.
Before you take out the margarita glasses, Mission Minded is here with a suggestion that you’ll thank us for later (though you might not feel too fondly towards us in the next few paragraphs): You need to get started on your next admissions season’s communication materials very, very soon. Preferably now.
We counsel our school clients to plan more than a year in advance of the admission season for which they want new materials. That means starting now on a new campaign for Fall 2015.
Truth be told, the two-ish months of summer are about enough time for some minor tweaks—but if you’re refreshing your materials entirely, we think you need more time.
Here’s why: thinking deeply and strategically about what sets your school apart—and how to communicate that in a way that feels fresh and compelling—takes time. And one of the reasons it takes time is that doing it well, so that the effort will be transformational for your school culture, requires involving your entire community.
Are you envisioning a refresh of your admissions campaign? If so, great! And here’s the clincher: what’s your school’s brand strategy? If you’re not sure how to answer this question—and if your faculty, staff, and board can’t answer this question—you have some work to do.
When you factor in the time and availability of your internal stakeholders to meet, consider, and tackle the big branding questions (e.g. “Is our school’s reputation the one we really want?”), you’ll quickly find yourself adding months on the calendar. Trust us—taking the time to get the school community involved is well worth it.
Think of communications and admissions as everyone’s job, not just that of the admissions director. Every student, teacher, and member of the staff, faculty, and board is a representative of your school’s brand—so, representatives from every one of those groups should have a say in that brand strategy!
Here are three reasons why you should give yourself the time to create great admissions materials:
Are you thinking: “Uh-oh. I just don’t have that kind of time!” We understand. Here are some strategies that we hope will help you create the strongest, freshest materials you can with the time you have:
Read more about how brand can help your admissions efforts here. Also, our white paper details 10 Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Independent School.
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.
See all posts by Jennie Winton