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Cross Platform Branding: How To Do It Effectively

Published on 13/07/16

“The practice entails the consistent delivery of brand messages and images across traditional media platforms as well as digital media platforms to achieve client objectives.”

A great brand is much more than the logo, colours and slogans; it is a promise. Successful brands generate trust and loyalty from consumers and helps to convince people to make purchasing decisions - giving them a reasoning behind buying their product. This works in the same way for schools. Brand elements that can be used to help the participant quickly feel “at home” include: style of image, colour, wording, tone, posting frequency, incentives and so on.

Traditionally, marketing was a straight and narrow endeavour where a team of specialists had to understand the overall objectives of their client followed by creating strategies and messages to be delivered across several media outlets such as; print, radio and television. During this era of marketing, websites tended to be an afterthought - or an extra - to these types of campaign. Now, websites are considered to be the centrepiece of the overall marketing / branding efforts.

During the Great Recession of 2008-09 there was a huge shift in how marketers were expected to work within the confines of their budgets. In many instances, they were given half the money and expected to do twice as much with it. This is where the digital space created an opportunity to advertise and raise brand awareness, without spending a fortune and in a way that would be easily measurable. Search engine optimisation led the way with real time analytics and conversion metrics such as click-thru rates and Google Adwords campaigns.

Know who you are talking to and be there for them

With an in-depth understanding of objectives, target audience and brand differentiation, an integrated communications campaign can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. The best place to start is with your target audience; once you understand which platforms they frequent - you can begin to target these ‘watering holes’ in your own cross-platform marketing strategy.

By generating in-depth personas for each segment of your school’s audience you will be able to identify what their wants, needs, challenges and habits are when it comes to making decisions. Are they a parent? How much spare time do they get? Do they work? How old are their kids? These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself to determine where your stakeholders are spending their time online, how they are digesting the content and what information they are looking for.

(Hubspot: Persona Profile Checklist)

Parents:

  • Looking for a school for their child
  • Googles “[primary/secondary] schools in [local area]” or perhaps already knows of schools from reputation,  word of mouth or locality.
  • Wants to find out more information about the school, see what it looks like, it’s academic ability, the extra-curricular activities and any facilities the school has to offer.
  • Spends time on Facebook on mobile. Browses web / shopping on tablet in front of TV when kids are in bed. Moves onto laptop to conduct further research into school and make final decision.

Multiple platforms increase reach and engagement

One dimensional advertising just isn’t enough anymore. It’s up to brands to find the right platforms and create a tailored digital experience that is engaging, entertaining or educational. As long as your school’s website is providing your stakeholders with the content that they are initially looking for - you will maintain engagement and brand loyalty. It is this prolonged and sustained relationship that leads to brand advocacy, which makes for one of the most powerful forms of marketing… word of mouth.

This is what makes cross platform branding so important for schools. It gives them a number of channels to communicate with their stakeholders, increase brand awareness and portray their school’s identity and values, clearly and consistently.

Since the introduction of smart devices and tablets, users are now able to digest content in an entirely different way - which has led to marketers having to broaden their marketing efforts and translate them across multiple platforms, for all devices.

So when it comes to developing a modern marketing campaign and brand identity you need to do the following:

  • Establish a clear, consistent voice along with your key objectives using the SMART approach (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely)
  • Form an accurate view of the customer base (existing parents, students, teachers and potential parents, students, teachers)
  • Create a focused communication effort across multiple channels
  • Regularly revisit your core identity
  • Reach out to your audience on the platforms they use
  • Constantly evolve your strategy accordingly as platforms evolve

These are the key elements of an effective cross-platform marketing strategy that will ultimately determine the success of your school.

If you are interested in learning more about cross platform marketing, feel free to call us today on 03453 191 039 or drop us an email at hello@e4education.co.uk