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Article Title

To market, to market : strategic communications in schools

Abstract

Creating a successful school image relies on a communications strategy that is well planned, executed, monitored and evaluated. To communicate their images, schools traditionally use a range of time-honoured methods that they hope will convey the character, attributes and benefits of their organisation, but how can they best manage and monitor these methods? How can they determine the effectiveness of their methods? How can they find out, first, if the audience is getting it and, second, what impact their image is having on the recruitment and retention of students? Does the image reflect reality? The creation of a successful school image - in the marketing business called a 'brand' - relies on an effective communications strategy. The challenge, however, is to create an image that, while simple, is underpinned by key messages that convey the school's core attributes and values to its various audiences. It is all in the planning. Using research to inform market segmentation to understand the audiences is the starting point. Embedding communications with key messages that support the school's attributes and values - in the marketing business called a 'proposition' - and using images that stimulate interest and motivate enquiry serve to embed the image or brand in the minds of stakeholders. [Author abstract, ed]

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