What is going to be happening in school marketing in 2014? Here are a few thoughts - please add your own and feel free to criticise..
1. 2014 will be the 'Year of the Chain'. We'll see and hear a lot more about chains rather than just schools in 2014. Chains that expanded in 2012 and 2013 are now looking at synergistic brand building. You can expect to see more about the opportunities at ARK Schools, how United Learning is working across the country to improve education, why Harris schools are the best and so on. It will be interesting to see how different they will be from each other! (And they'll keep growing of course).
2. Private schools will be kept on the back foot. While overall numbers in private education are fairly static and the economy is improving, state-run academies and chains are improving their reputation and mimicking traditional private school marketing - the logo below is the best I've seen of a state school trying to look private and even Tatler has produced a Guide to State Schools! To compete, private schools will need to focus on their personal impact for students, rather than their general academic record. They'll also keep asking for vouchers to be introduced (but know they won't come unless the Conservatives win the next election...)
4. Watch out for the UTCs and Studio Schools! It's been interesting following the development of my local Manchester Studio School (mainly via Twitter). The focus and vision that Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges show may mean that they're more likely to succeed than generic Free Schools.
Marketing Communications Trends:
5. It's all about Video - at the end of the year it was amazing to see how many more schools were communicating their strengths in video (often by enabling students to do this). Some great recent examples (seen via our Good News from School Twitter feed) include Bablake's amazing timelapse video 'A Typical Bablake Day' and Dover College's extensive YouTube site.
6. Don't stand still - we're all moving. We'll all get more mobile in our communications - both in delivering learning and communicating with all stakeholders. More and more websites are being optimised for mobile phones (and if you're reading this article on your phone it should look just as good as the web version!).
7. Be Content, Be Happy. All the trends above are leading in one direction - content marketing. Schools that focus on developing great stories and letting their staff, students, teachers and parents both tell them and interact with each other are going to have a huge advantage in recruitment. Keep watching this website (or sign up to our newsletter) for much more on content marketing - and hopefully a few surprises in terms of how we can help you!