Best Advertising For Schools?

cc licensed flickr photo by larbelaitz: http://flickr.com/photos/larbelaitz/2326090259/

Recently, I read an article by Simon Sinek (I love his blog and this video) talking about how advertisers are failing more to focus on the needs of their customer.

“The reason we hate advertising is because the ad industry has no idea who its customer is…”

This is sometimes my fear with education.  Sometimes we forget that our “customer” (using that term for lack of a better word) are our students.  Parents could also be considered customers in schools but I believe that if we want schools to become transformational, they will be included as partners in the learning process for their children.

Building upon Simon Sinek’s article, if we are to advertise our school solely on what our students need first, would the parents not ultimately be satisfied as well.  How do we do this though? Coincidentally, on the same day I read Sinek’s post, Michelle Baldwin also wrote an excellent post about how we need to advertise the great things that are happening in our schools.  She does not talk about anything complicated in promoting our schools, but has a simple plan:

  1. Contact the media more often. Invite them to my classroom (again). Share, through multiple methods, what it is we’re doing.
  2. Bring parents into the classroom more. The parents in my school are already welcome in my classroom, although not many of them take our offer to visit. I want them to share their expertise in my classroom more often.
  3. Bring more attention to other teachers and students who are doing great things. Not every teacher has a powerful network where he/she can share successes. I have a great learning network of people who love to share ideas, collaborate, and celebrate with each other.

It would be imperative that we discuss these great things that are already happening within our school communities and how they are meeting the needs of students.

Ultimately, the best advertising for your school comes from your students.  The word of mouth that comes from them can either make or break the reputation of a teacher, principal, or a school.  I am not saying that we should go out and start selling our schools.  Our time should be focused first and foremost on serving our students. If we focus on serving them first, the rest will take care of itself.

5 Comments

  1. George – Thanks for the reminder! The last two lines of the post should be read daily by educators everywhere!

    September 2, 2010
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  2. David Truss said:

    Excellent points about how to help a school ‘sell’ itself… a much better pitch than any hard sell ever was!

    I love Michelle’s point that Not every teacher has a powerful network where he/she can share successes. This is so true for students as well! So, as we promote students’ forays into the digital world, it’s important the we visit their sites, populate their visitor location maps, and comment (asking thoughtful questions when we can), We need to help expand the learning networks of students as well as teachers… or at the very least provide students with a legitimate global audience.

    September 2, 2010
    Reply
  3. Couldn’t agree more. Parental involvement is key and word of mouth follows from this. A schools standing in the community and it’s central role go a long way to enhancing its reputation, something we all work towards. Many thanks, Michael

    September 2, 2010
    Reply
  4. Dave Meister said:

    So true George! If we concentrate on the students and providing them with the best instruction that is aimed at challenging all learners to grow, the rest will take care of itself. Great reminder as we get into the full swing of this new school year!

    September 3, 2010
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