Written by Clare Irwin
I saw a flurry of friends’ Facebook posts this week showing their beaming children in pristine, new school uniforms ready to embark on a new term. It made me smile and I thought back to the days when it was me standing at the front door, ready to go and conquer the world at the beginning of September and how it all felt.
You know, having a new school uniform and new school shoes felt really good. Although we weren’t rich, I was privileged in that my Mum and Dad were in a position to go to the school uniform shop in our village (no internet at the time) and order us new school kit. The shop was called ‘Griffiths’ and I loved to go there. At that time of year they had way more stock than storage space and you had to fight your way through the piles of clothes and shoes to get to the counter. The shop was so popular that they opened one just for girls at the other end of the village and called it ‘The Schoolgirl’ and it looked just the same! Piles of clothes in plastic packets stacked higgledy-piggledy, ready for the rush.
As we got older, different items of uniform would be bought for us, a bit like a rite of passage. Getting our first tie and learning to tie it and then the first blazer with our school’s badge on the breast pocket. That was really significant. And it was usually way too big. Mum bought us one that we had to grow into every time and, although we must have looked a bit awkward when the blazer was new, we normally did grew out of them fairly fast.
Our school blazer was also a form of ID. We wore one religiously at middle school but I think I managed to avoid wearing my blazer later on in secondary. My brothers and I went to the Catholic school, so we had to travel a little further on the public bus which would pass by Winston Churchill, the ‘non’ Catholic school, AKA the enemy. They all wore black blazers with a red badge, as I remember, and sometimes miscreants in our crowd would spit out the window at them as the bus pulled away from their school stop. Disgusting. Funnily enough, I was in an interview for a teaching post, years later, and the headmaster told me he had started his career at Winston Churchill. I told him that made him my enemy and I got the job!
So, my Mum did us proud when September came round. New white socks, new pants and always new shoes. There was a whole ritual attached to having our feet measured and the right (usually unattractive) school shoes purchased. My brothers had to wear Clarks Commandoes, with thick soles for long use and I had to wear ‘sensible’ shoes that looked something like orthopaedic corrective footwear. Those were the days.
Your new school uniform
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I was reflecting this morning about how investing in a new brand for your company is like investing in a new school uniform for your child. It won’t last forever but it will make you look great, be a very effective ID badge and it will serve as a reminder of your brand values. Behaving badly on the school bus whilst wearing our crisp new uniforms should have landed us in hot water as it meant that we were being the worst kind of brand ambassadors for the school. In the same way, your people who represent your brand need to share your values and reflect them to the outside world otherwise a crisp new brand doesn’t communicate your offering.
Similar to a brand, the process of education is age old but the way it is delivered develops and changes. There are an increasing number of ways these days to educate your child with many people opting for home schooling and online courses. Much like a brand. The way brands are delivered changes with the times but certain core principles never change.
The way your customers interact with your brand should be wholly positive, offering people more value than they were expecting. We can help you to build a community around your brand to give your customers something more to buy into. Having a great product and service as well as offering people that bit extra (to make their lives better and easier) identifies your brand as one that cares. And, we all know that caring for your customers and the people who will become your customers is the best marketing strategy that exists.
Brand is more than skin deep
Also, brand is more than skin deep. Its all about character. If you don’t have the people who truly live out your brand values you’ll find yourself papering over the cracks trying to maintain it. A bit like being naughty on the bus in a crisp new uniform, everything looked great and pristine, but actually left people with the opposite impression!
Through our Cre8ion workshop we can help you to identify your core mission, vision and values and incorporate them into your brand offering so that they are a part of your every internal and external communication. There will be no confusion about who you are, where you are going and what you stand for!
Bridge Learning Campus
At Cre8ion, we are privileged to have recently refreshed the brand and rebuilt the website of an exciting South Bristol School, Bridge Learning Campus. This is a state school who really live out their values every day by having a truly unique offering: they take children all the way through from early years to sixteen years old. Children are cared for on the same site, seeing the same faces, enjoying the same fantastic facilities and being part of the same community. In this way, a lot of the apprehension of ‘going to a new school’ at secondary level is removed from the children’s lives. We hope that the new website reflects this special and positive environment. Why not take a look?