As a school district leader, you are in charge providing an essential service that promotes the betterment of your entire community.
Obviously, education is not a commercial operation, but you still must employ some of the same principles and strategies that businesses do to draw attention to your work, increase engagement and solicit the support of your community. To do so, you must tell a story through your marketing and communication efforts.
Understanding brand narrative
A brand narrative tells the story of your organization. This is not drawn-out account of your history or a 10-point description of your district's mission and vision. Rather, it is a clear, concise and easy-to-digest summary of your principles and goals.
Someone who knows nothing about your school district should come away from reading your brand narrative with an understanding, however basic, of what you do presently, what your values are and what you intend to do in the future.
Creating your brand narrative
Although your finished brand narrative will be clear and concise, you should begin the process with a consideration of your detailed history and mission. It is helpful to write this out with help from staff members, parents and/or local business leaders. Document your history, including the changes that have occurred since the foundation of your district and any major milestones along the way. Write down the past, present and future so that you have plenty of information to reference when you establish a narrative that will be presented to your target audience.
Based on the information you wrote down, you can create a brand statement that sums up your purpose and mission. You can include this statement in your district communications, along with on your website, your social media platforms and your Alumni Nation.
To give you some direction, write your brand statement as the answer to a simple question. What is your district doing to make the community better? How is the district promoting a quality education for all students? Make sure your statement is easy for your stakeholders to understand and remember.
Using the information you wrote down initially, along with the brand statement you created, you can create your brand narrative. Typically, a brand narrative should be one written page, including information about your history and your path forward.
One page doesn’t give you room for irrelevant details or of-topic information, so make sure to keep it on message. While your writing should be polished and professional, it’s important to keep the language personal and conversational.
Remember, you are communicating why your stakeholders should care about the mission of your district, so look to appeal to their humanity. Don’t be afraid to use powerful language to effectively convey an emotional message. Before you put anything out online or in print, make sure to give your colleagues the opportunity to review the content and make suggestions.
Although it can be time consuming, taking the time to create an effective brand narrative can do wonders for community and alumni engagement for your school district.