Make sure your branding is coherent
You get only one chance to make a good first impression. If you want to create effectively the brand image of your school, remember about making sure the visual identification is coherent.
Let’s start by answering the question of what visual identification actually is? Commonly we say it is “the entirety of symbols and behaviours used in a company with a view to obtaining a legible and coherent market identification and distinguish it from competitive brands”.
Here comes some advice on what to point your attention to when developing your strategy in this field.
When planning the visual identification of your school you need first of all to answer the question of how you are going to position the brand in the marketplace. Do you target your school’s offer at parents who want to enrol their kids in English classes, or perhaps you want to create a premium brand and specialise in courses for managerial staff of big companies? An answer to this question should determine how you create the image of your school to make it coherent with the characteristics of the selected target group.
Be like Apple
The logo is a starting point to plan further visual elements. The symbol of an apple with a bite is immediately associated with good design and comfortable use of electronics. There is nothing to prevent your logo from becoming identified with effective foreign language learning one day … Provided it is interesting by itself. So it is worthwhile to hire a professional to design the logo.
Remember about typography
Even such apparently trivial stuff as the type of used fonts tells a lot about the company and shapes its image. So forget about Times New Roman and Arial fonts – they are simply boring and lifeless. Choose an interesting and legible font type, one that is coherent with the logo and other identification elements.
Instead of using ready-to-use fonts that come with your word processor, you can purchase more original fonts, or even obtain them for free (various online services offer free font types, e.g. http://www.google.com/fonts).
Another very important element of visual identification is also keeping the font uniform and use it consistently across business cards, the website, contracts and all company documents.
Coherence of the image
Remember to apply the developed visual identification of the school for:
- the website,
- business cards,
- contracts and other documents,
- school’s interior design,
- PR and advertising actions – the schools’ signboard, advertising leaflets or banners placed online – each of those elements should immediately bring associations with your school,
- gadgets – choice of the type of gadgets you order should refer to the image and offer, for example a school specialising in Scandinavian languages may order thermal mugs with its logo,
- e-mail headers,
- what employees wear – for example you can create T-shirts, polo shirts and polar fleece with school’s logo, which will be worn be people employed there.
Employees also contribute to the image
Behaviours of employees and how they communicate with customers should also correspond to school’s image. Direct and telephone contacts and how e-mails are formulated – we can improve on each of those elements. It is surely worthwhile to train properly the persons working for the school or at least provide clear guidelines to them. It is also worthwhile to create a dress code binding both on reception employees and course instructors.
What else is worthwhile focusing on when we create the visual identification of a language school? We are waiting for your comments.