Why Telling Your Story Matters
Those who lead school districts know that the bulk of the workday is spent helping principals navigate difficult situations, making sure all buildings are operating effectively and securely, and meeting the demands of teachers, students, parents, staff, the board of education, and of course, the community.
Is that work important? Absolutely. But brewing around school leaders is a bigger issue; one that has jolted K12 educational institutions into new territory. Increased competition and the demand of parents to have school choices for their children, have created an environment where districts have to compete to get and retain students living within their boundaries.
To engage parents looking for the best choice is no easy task. That’s where storytelling comes in.
WHY TELL YOUR STORIES?
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to communicate a brand’s values. Making a human connection through a story – rather than a recital of facts and offerings – provides the opportunity for families to connect with an intriguing, authentic narrative and a strategic message that enhances the brand, family relationships, and overall organization.
Your stories help differentiate your district by creating a sense of connection and understanding that communicates your advantage far beyond the general concepts of education, the classroom, and test scores.
People connect to stories. In many ways, stories allow you to communicate information about your district that audiences might ignore if placed in traditional marketing communications or worse yet, never communicated at all.
Your audiences will see beyond a standard list of status quo educational offerings and athletic programs and know that your district has something more to offer.
People will likely want to align themselves with your district because your values seem to align with their own—giving you opportunities to build a great sense of community pride and become a destination district by deepening relationships and connections with existing student families and developing relationships with potential ones.
Recently, you may have seen more school districts invest in the power of brand. As parents continue to demand education options and competition for students increases, the sea of sameness does not allow districts to stand out – logos and web sites, similar mission statements, similar offerings. It’s time for an awakening of sorts. As we work with school districts, we’ve seen how the power of finding your brand stories can frame the definition of who you are and what you need to communicate to families. We’re helping schools redefine their brands, and storytelling is at the heart of it all.
So, why aren’t you telling your story?
Every school has a story to tell, but have you ever been able to put your finger on what yours is (or should be)?
It’s probably easier than you think, and your story can practically write itself. So, how can you get started?
DISCOVER THE STORIES
Start with your teachers. Engage them in sharing their favorite experiences and encounters from the classroom. Look for the emotional connection – how the student overcame an obstacle, not how he or she learned a key piece of curriculum to become better prepared for an upcoming standardized test.
Don’t stop with one. There are many chapters and layers to your brand and your success. Keep looking for them.
Find the stories that connect with your mission and vision for student success, then use them to convey key attributes of your brand. Are students in your district consistently giving back to the community? Do student-athletes work hard both on and off the court or field? Do you have teachers that consistently go above and beyond? Of course you do. Find your theme and tell stories that support it over and over again.
SUCCESSFULLY SHARE THEM
Take care to articulate the story well. Include the emotion or element of humanity that will resonate with your audience.
…but keep it short and sweet. An impactful story is one that can be easily remembered and re-told. Focus on the problem, the solution, and student success.
If you need help telling a compelling story—or help finding a strong story to tell—contact us.