Unique childcare branding
How you brand yourself, and the strategy to communicate that brand, are components which can take your child care center from “average” to “exceptional.” Creating a brand that is not only perceived as high quality but delivers on it, provides an advantage in the marketplace that allows you to charge more than the competition. Are you losing out on charging more for the service you provide? Are you missing out on enrollment because you don't stand out from the competition?
The right branding and brand strategy can bring in the enrollment you have been missing out on. But what exactly does "branding" mean? Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages.
Most childcare centers don’t have a marketing professional on staff that can help develop a brand strategy. Because of this, typical child care messaging revolves around learning during play, quality of care, and safety of the environment. Though these messages are a way to communicate a brand that believes in providing a caring and nurturing environment, there's other methods and ways to promote your brand that will make your center more appealing and more unique to new and potential families.
Consider having your staff emphasize a few areas to help communicate your brand strategy. Be very clear with your team on how to approach their work, their teaching philosophies and communication plans. Consider building in the following components into their work day:
Hope of a brighter future
Every parent wants to believe your center is trying to help their children have a brighter future. It's your teachers that are key to ensuring each child's strengths, weaknesses and talents are identified to help them make the most of who they are. It is this dedication by your teachers to learning the individuality of each child that can truly set your brand apart. Review your curriculum philosophy and though most centers have individual goals to set for their children, taking it a step further to incorporate building the child's strengths and talents is unique. Empower your teachers to give each child the hope for a brighter future.
Believe you are unique
Your teachers are the most unique thing about your center. No other center has YOUR teachers. So why not make sure they understand the importance behind their role in creating and substantiating your center brand. Set the bar high with clear expectations for each teacher (full and part-time) to be the best sales material for your center. They need to understand that potential families, along with your current families, factor the teacher as a critical component when choosing whether to enroll or dis-enroll. If you’re able to set apart your teachers from every other center in your city, you are going to see results. To do this, you must be willing to invest into these teachers and help them develop different skills that can be used as pitching points when interacting with these parents. Tap into their abilities and make it clear, you want those abilities shared with the students and families.
When a parent enters the room that their child is going to be staying in, the first thing they see isn't going to be the art on the wall, but it's going to be teacher who is working with the kids in the room. If they walk into the classroom and the teacher has their back turned to the children and is ignoring the kids, parents are going to have a bad impression. Alternatively, if the teacher is actively engaging the students, the impression will be a positive one. As a center, you need to prepare your teachers for these "first time moments." You can never get them back! The brand, the facility, the educational pledge is nothing without the teachers who work with the kids on a day to day basis. Parents will talk, they will give reviews, they will share their experience, both good and bad. They're most likely to go home and contemplate whether that teacher is a good fit for their student, not whether your logo looks good on a t-shirt.
Overall, your staff is a key component to communicating your brand. The tag line below your logo is just words. How your staff performs in the classroom is what parents will remember. To build this strong and unique brand, set clear expectations of your staff and be very consistent in the brand you are promoting. Prepare your teachers to perform consistently in these three strategy areas of providing hope for a brighter future, believing you are unique and first impressions. Consistent, strategic branding will lead to you building a strong brand equity. This added value perceived by the solid brand you created will be the reason you’ll be able to charge more for your child care services then the competition. Finally, make sure your teachers understand their value and the importance they play when it comes to the centers enrollment numbers. They are the reason families will come and they are the reason families will stay. Do your teachers know that? Are the hurting or helping your brand?
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