So what is branding, why is it important and what makes a great Multi Academy Trust brand? In this article we have put together an essential guide about the importance of good branding.
So what is branding and why is it important?
To understand the importance of good branding, we must first define what branding is.
In basic terms, branding is the process of creating a recognisable and easy-to-understand identity for a product or organisation.
But its more than just a logo, your brand identity is your organisations personality. From the tone of voice you use to the style of your photography, they are all part of your branding. Branding is the bringing together of everything you do and stand for.
For you and your trust, branding could be one of your most important assets. Your brand plays a key role in making your trust and schools stand out and communicating what makes your trust unique. It is crucial to have a professional image in-order to attract funding and new schools, as well as staff and pupils to your schools.
Good branding can successfully help to communicate your vision and values clearly to your school communities. It should reflect everything you want your school and trust to be.
We have broken down each aspect of branding a Multi Academy Trust further to explore the importance of good branding.
So what makes a good trust logo and how does it enhance good branding?
The strength of your branding is in how it identifies you. It should reflect your values and demonstrate your strengths. These unique qualities need to be reflected in a impactful and clear trust logo and strap-line. This should be partnered with a house style and colours which are recognised and shared by all those involved.
Firstly, it should be functional and clear what the logo is. An old sketch of the school building which has been photocopied and scanned so many times it is hardly recognisable is not creating the right image for either the school or your trust.
Secondly, text should be legible and clear in a variety of sizes and across all mediums, with a good contrast with any background colours.
Thirdly, it should be creative, bold and have impact. It shouldn’t just look like any other school logo. Every last detail is crucial for creating a successful logo. For example did you know that colour alone, makes up for 90% of a person’s first impression!
And finally, and most importantly the brand should mean something to your schools and trust. Ask yourself if it reflects your values and uniqueness and the vision you want to portray for your organisation. And does it work for pupils, parents, staff and your school communities alike.
Below is an example of a logo redesign we completed as part of a rebranding project for St Pauls CE Primary School.
How should this work with your schools?
Through strong and consistent use your branding should permeate through to all the schools within your MAT to create a feeling of belonging. In addition, it is important to establish a ‘family feel’ for the branding of the schools within your trust. This will create a professional and unified image. The logos for schools within the trust can share common elements. Such as format and/or typography whilst allowing the unique characteristics of your partner academies to shine through. For example by use of unique colours and/or iconography. Getting this in place will provide a clear roadmap for new schools joining your MAT to bring them fully into brand.
How to protect and future proof your brand?
After considering the importance of good branding and developing a new logo, how can you protect and future proof your brand?
Once you have a new logo, the key to its success is to use it consistently. This builds up its recognition. From headed paper to presentations, marketing collateral and website. Everything should be identifiable and represent how you want your schools and trust to be seen. The key to this is the development of brand guidelines. Brand guidelines are an essential tool to help you ensure the consistent use of your brand throughout all marketing. Without guidelines, over time your brand image can get distorted and become inconsistent and disjointed.
You’ve invested a lot of time and money in creating your new brand and so now you need to protect it. Brand guidelines are a vital tool to achieve this. They keep your marketing materials looking consistent and professional at all times. They future proof the brand by supplying comprehensive instructions for all employees, stakeholders and for any external marketing.
Key aims for your guidelines
Set out the rules: These are not to limit creativity, but are guides to ensure everything sets the right standards.
Prevent confusion: Often how to use branding can be ambiguous. However, brand guidelines will help to eliminate queries. This will provide clarity and speed up approval processes.
Assure consistency: If your brand is consistent it will become recognisable to your audience. Guidelines will ensure all marketing looks cohesive.
Inspire creativity: Sometimes, especially for those unfamiliar with how to use a brand correctly or even how to create a design, putting together a document or piece of marketing can be intimidating. Guidelines help to set a starting point and ensure the design will be of a high quality.
Allows for growth: Carefully implemented Multi Academy Trust branding will also ensure that as the trust grows, the group retains a professional and unified image.
This leaves your staff able to focus on teaching and learning which is what they do best.
What is the best way to launch new branding?
Changing branding trust wide can be a daunting financial prospect, but it needn’t be. We always suggest a soft launch. This will maximise the initial impact of a launch without spiralling costs.
The new branding could be used on all digital applications immediately such as email signatures and web. As well as documentation and other new marketing collateral. But other more costly changes (such as individual school signage for example) can just be carried out as and when they normally would in due course.
You can also alleviate any parents worries about the cost of having to change uniform due to a new school logo, by allowing a period of transition. So new branded uniform can be purchased as and when students grow out of it.
Conclusion on the importance of good branding
Don’t let your branding or marketing let you down in the competitive Education sector. Get your branding right and it will help you grow your trust by attracting new schools to your MAT. In addition, it will also help to attract parents, pupils and staff to your schools. These are all demonstrations of the importance of good branding for your Multi Academy Trust.
How can we help?
We want to help you unlock the potential of your Multi Academy Trust and explore the importance of good branding.
We have over 15 years experience in the Education sector, so whether you require a completely new identity for your school, academy or Multi Academy Trust, or you would like to enhance an existing one, our team can produce a creative and distinctive brand. Get in touch to discuss your project.
We offer the following school branding services:
Stationery Design & Email Signatures
Word Documents and Templates
Job Vacancy or Candidate Packs