We know a little bit. We know that people are becoming worried that it will have a negative impact on themselves, and that’s never a good sign for the economy in general (see the Kantar research below).
This uncertainty makes Brexit a prime example of the importance of strategic marketing planning – the process of continually listening to your market and making changes to your marketing. Brexit is likely to affect many schools, but if you’re a secondary modern in Kent you may be more affected by expansion of state grammar schools – while those in other areas might be more affected by a free school opening or existing teacher shortages.
So, what should we all be doing as Brexit approaches? Firstly, there’s the methods that all organisations are using – paying close attention to the national and local press, networking and learning from other people (as you’re doing today by reading this article), looking at published reports. This will let you know the practical issues you’re likely to face, and you can then apply general trends to your areas - will certain industries in your area suffer (banking, manufacturing) or perhaps develop with new Government incentives?
But as school you also have a powerful insight into your communities and that’s where you can gain further information. You need to know your parents and their employers and what they’re thinking. And this is especially important given the psychological aspects of Brexit – will people who can stay move back to their home countries, will other communities from outside the EU see this as an opportunity?
So, how many of you have polled your parents about their plans? Are you getting intelligence from form teachers seeing greater anxiety in EU students? Do you regularly look at your data on where your parents and prospective parents work and see how changes will affect your prospects?
These need to feed into an ongoing SWOT analysis. What are you good at, what do you need to improve, what opportunities are there for you to improve and what threats are there in your area?
This article was taken from the keynote speech given by Simon Hepburn at the Inside Government event ‘Independent Schools Marketing: Attracting Students at Home and Abroad’ on 28th February in London.
If you’d like help understanding your market, why not look at our School Marketing Workshops!