For once, in a life filled with learning from others, I have the chance to Teach Teachers something back…
It struck me that state SCHOOLS, NURSERIES and EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS now operate in the same competitive environment as INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS. And so are UNIVERSITIES and COLLEGES.
Pupils and students have choice – with fluctuations in the birth rate plus social changes – making them and their families into ‘customers’.
Customers can turn you down. Customers walk away without entering your premises because the outside says “unwelcoming”, “we don’t care” and “we’re not going to bother to direct you in from the main road.”
Prospective parents will judge if your signage is one colour/font/style and your web-page is another; if your letterhead logo looks ridiculous blown-up on the side of a building; if out-of-date or missing information is on your signboards.
Inspectors will mark you down if Health & Safety signage is skimped or missing; youngsters add their own alterations to signs that are tatty or damaged; and a boring, uninspired vehicle graphic is not going to shout pride in your school when out and-about at events.
A switched-on sign firm can help, advise and guide schools through these marketing pitfalls for tangible results. Sign-Rite has spent 27 years doing so.
We recently installed low-energy light boxes with photographic prints (and motivational statements) in a school lab – with stunning results.
Outstanding entrance signs establish an institution’s ‘look’ – image is all about the ‘hidden values’ it wants to be associated with.
The Larches is a special school whose good work was going un-noticed by their community until Sign-Rite made them well-designed and elegant signboards.
Honours boards are a traditional – and still valid – way to reward and motivate; Sign-Rite makes the traditional wooden-and-gold-leaf version but we can also design a modern notice board with digital prints, 3-D crest etc.
Parent and Teacher groups are a bit more switched-on to marketing (perhaps because their members work in the business world!). Using banners, banner-ups and flags actively promote events – summer fairs and Christmas entertainments are all easier to recruit for, if people actually know they are happening!
Shared sports facilities benefit from an A board (perhaps with chalk-board section for constantly up-dating information) on the pavement outside – shouting a welcome.
And schools must not forget the power of social media – too few have a facebook/Twitter presence, and yet their potential recruits are all over the internet. Brochures have their place – but the pictures inside need to show the school environment at it’s best! Sign-Rite co-operates with printers, web-designers, photographers and digital marketeers – effective teamwork that gets results.
Adapting and changing is a fact of modern life, which education and government services need to accept. Fewer schools, nurseries, sixth forms and colleges are sheltered by Local Authorities: Free Schools, Academies, vocational and religious foundations – all must manage their own money, attract top teachers and recruit their ‘customers’.
Using business marketing methods gives competitive advantage; so I say to teachers – do your homework and get on with it!
Sign-Rite UK Ltd travels all over the country from our Herefordshire base, particularly working in schools in the West Midlands, including Hereford, Leominster, Shrewsbury, Telford, Kidderminster and Wales. Experienced and professional, our qualified staff have Working At Heights certification, we hold all relevant insurance and are accredited suppliers to local authorities. Call us on 01568 616171 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We always have photographs, information and offers at www.sign-rite.co.uk and actively publicise the work of our customers on twitter @SignRiteUKLtd and on facebook – look for Sign-Rite UK Ltd.