Education is a huge business these days. It is a service-oriented industry, no doubt, but in today’s time, the business aspect of education cannot be ignored. So, like brands in other verticals, educational brands too need to keep themselves in limelight and reach out to target audiences of their choice. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a well-strategize plan of action for educational institutions looking to create a brand identity for themselves and for brands looking to reinvent themselves with changing times
Education is a huge industry these days. Of course, it has been so abroad for decades, but India is now an educational hub that churns out an industry-ready workforce in various branches. It is also one sector with huge potential for growth as education is a necessity in today’s times.
Some branches might become obsolete or outdated, but the concept behind education keeps the system alive. Like veganism and other isms, there is a trend for home schooling and parents of some well-heeled families are opting to home tutor their children instead of sending them to schools where the students have to face constant competition.
Despite this small percentage, there are a large percentage of parents who would want their children to pass out of best schools as this would mean a promising future for them. And educational institutions cater mainly to this large percentage of parents. It’s these people they target with promises of world-class education and world-class amenities for their children.
And it is here that differentiation of schools and institutions happens and they adopt various strategies to promote their brand strategy and brand identity. Unlike in the yore, today, educational institutions vie for attention through their brand identity. Years are spent to set a niche for themselves and it surely is no small business.
A good brand (read educational institution), attracts parents and their children with minimum research as the name is already out in the market. But branding is an evolving process and no brand dominates the market in a short span. Educational institutions have to work diligently to ensure they stand out in the crowd.
How branding helps educational institutions
Today, educational institutions are functioning in an extremely competitive environment and they have to find ways to tell their story and get a firm foothold in the industry. The idea is to catch the attention of prospective students and parents of students. And it is because of this reason that educational institutions are concentrating more on their image of late.
■ The whole idea is to build a brand that differentiates your institution from all other cattle on the range. All cattle will look alike on the range. But in the crowded space, it is essential that an institution creates a brand identity for itself. Else, it will remain a commodity. For this, an institute has to build a brand promise based on academic offerings, student experience and the institution’s prestige. It is ideal that one develops strategies that showcase the emotional and psychological dynamics of an educational institution as a whole.
■ Branding is about having an emotional connection with the customers. One has to understand the expectations, ideas in the minds of their customers regarding the product or service on offer. Hence, schools that want to have a unique brand identity must avoid making generic messaging. Instead, they have to focus on the positive attributes of their institution that align with target audiences’ aspirations, challenges and educational preferences.
■ Schools or universities must realise and recognise the need for building acceptance and appreciation of what sets them apart. Let’s take the example of Ivy League institutes like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, etc, they are considered as great brands, while others never acquire such status.
For an educational institution to gain brand identity, it must make sure that it is believed in and supported by members of the community. Great brands are those whose missions match with the expectations and aspirations of the community. When a brand is community driven, then it delivers to suit the aspirations.
■ Branding is an integral part of any successful educational institution’s marketing strategy that aims to go beyond its geographical limitations and reach out to national and international customers. Educational institutions like Lady Shriram, St Joseph’s, Symbiosis institute, Doon School, The Scindia School, ISB, etc, are reckoned for their high standards in India and therefore attract international students.
Five things to consider before branding an educational institution
❖ Brand name & identity. It is the basic requirement and most important issue for an institute to come up with a name and logo that are in sync with its values, vision, mission and ideologies.
❖ The premises also mean a lot. It helps students develop emotional attachment with an institution and hence branding of classrooms and premises is of utmost importance.
❖ Branding across various media has to be done consistently and constantly, so that the right message and image goes through every single time a customer chances upon the institution’s brand name.
❖ In today’s digital age, it is pertinent that the website of the educational institute is up to date, simple, has all the information that a potential student will require. It must reinforce the values and mission of the school or college.
❖ One of the most important tasks of a marketing team of the educational institute is to pick the right target audience and reach out to them. Educational institutions with a brand identity have an image to protect and hence attracting the right kind of students is a priority for the marketing team.
An educational brand could be local, national or targeted at global students. Or you could be a brand looking to reinvest itself, following the initial launch or after years in the industry. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a well-thought out plan of action for your branding and rebranding:
For good business growth and future prospects, astro strategist Hirav Shah says it is important to have the necessary ‘luck’ in the personal chart of an individual. However, apart from that, there are a variety of factors that push forth ‘luck’ in business. The name of the business, its logo, the partner’s luck, etc, all determine the success of a business, he shares.
Hirav Shah insists that whatever hard work one puts in or whatever talents one uses to put in smart work by strategizing and implementing those strategies in terms of advertising, marketing, sales, HR, production or service… things have to move smoothly and seamlessly.
According to astro strategist Hirav Shah, that is called the ‘luck’ of the company. So, if the structure of the company or organisation is proper, it helps in utilizing your potential and growth in a productive and positive manner.
How does food taste without spices?
How does one wear garments of a different size?
How can a batsman bat without a proper bat?
Similarly, in business, if the structure of the organization is great (ie, business name, great partners, correct registered and administrative address, logo, web-print-digital presence, brand name, etc), by seeking the help of an astro strategist, a business can make and execute decisions within a perfectly timed framework to maximise success.
Here are the 7 factors that astro strategist Hirav Shah considers before giving a road map for branding and rebranding
1. Name of the organisation: Remember the famous line — What’s in a name? However, when it comes to branding, it’s all in the name. Astro strategist Hirav Shah will help you name your organisation or brand or product in sync with numerological and astrological calculations. Look at brands like Harvard, MIT, Yale, INSEAD, etc – they bring out marketing initiatives or social media inputs that directly target students on a regular basis. They reach out to customers through various platforms, but the message is unique and consistent.
2. Correct partners: Checking the compatibility, strengths and weaknesses of all partners and administrators is crucial as one weak campaign can mean loss of valuable customers for travel sites, which operate amidst high competition and highly segmented markets.
3. Percentage of shares of all partners: Hirav Shah ensures that each partner share is correctly balanced, so there are no disputes or disagreements in the long run.
4. Registered address and administrative address: They should be astrologically compatible with the name of the organization and key people in the company.
5. Logo of the organisation: We have already seen how important the logo of an educational institution is in the case of various brands like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc. For example, when one wears sweatshirts of the University or College, they make the student proud and the logo reflects the high standards that the brand strives for. Hirav Shah helps you create and finalize the right logo that reflects your values and attracts the right kind of energy.
6. Web, print and digital presence: In today’s world, where one needs to be seen and heard on various media platforms, Hirav Shah ensures that your digital, print and marketing collaterals are aligned and in harmony with your brand’s purpose and vision.
7. Brand: Last, but surely not the least, astro strategist Hirav Shah makes sure that your brand assets are auspicious for the company and have a positive impact on team morale.