We hear so many things over and over again that some of them become ingrained in our minds – which is actually the end result of a process called branding.  Branding, as well as any other types of repeated messages which have that same effect on us, creates a mindset.  For instance, I may really like the automobile that I drive, and the continued repetition of a message from a competing brand, or “end of the year sales” cease becoming advertising messages and enter into the realm of annoyances.  If the automobile I’m driving all of a sudden begins to have problem after problem, my mindset has changed, and now those commercials that were annoying are now attractive, as they tell me life can be better with one of their vehicles, rather than the passel of problems I’m currently saddled with.

The danger is that once we become “branded,” we think everyone else is “branded” too, and they are, therefore, also either energized or annoyed by continued exposure to a particular message.

But this is not the case.

A new parent in your school is not necessarily accustomed to its patterns and habits, nor its culture and tradition in the same way that a parent of a 6th grader might be.  Or, parents who have moved to your community from out-of-state enroll their 6th grader, and are overwhelmed by the level of involvement expected – since all the other 6th grader parents have been together for 8 or 9 years (through your school’s PreK program as well as kindergarten!).

Here’s an example:  The school my children attended had a “buddy system” in place.  Moving into the community, I thought that was a wonderful attribute to help students build respect for each other.  Even though the school was located in an economically disadvantaged community, bullying was never an issue.  When I asked why nothing was in the school’s marketing materials about the “buddy system,” I was told that it was simply part of something they did, and “everybody knew about it.”

Obviously, as parents that moved into the community, and parishioners for year before our oldest daughter entered Pre-School there, we didn’t know about it until our children became a part of the school community, and they came home from school to tell us about their “buddies.”

Remember there’s always someone who has not yet heard the message you want to convey about your school.  Those who have already heard it can consider hearing the message again as reinforcement.  Those who have heard it time and time again will eventually graduate from your school, leaving a whole new group of people who need to hear the message – AGAIN!

And when people in your community become annoyed with hearing the same message over and over again, that’s when you know that you’ve just scratched the surface in reaching those families whom you want to be part of your school’s community!

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2007-2022 (Original Publication Date: 20070108)