Branding Your School’s “Summer”
Your school’s summer camp is an extension of its brand. As such, it can positively or negatively impact your school’s reputation. It can introduce and shift perceptions. And it can expand your reach into new market segments. Your summer program has great brand-building potential; it’s time to harness it.
Too many institutions view their summer camps only as revenue producers—a way to utilize facilities during the months that classes aren’t in session. While this is true and important, your camp should also be closely aligned with your school’s mission and brand—from the program itself to its visual identity and messaging. Because in the eyes of your market, your school and summer camp share the same branding platform.
Programmatic details and offerings can define your school’s position in the marketplace and should reflect institutional strengths and values. If your brand has a STEAM focus, your summer camp should include robotics, coding and engineering. If you’re an athletics powerhouse, your camp branding should promote great coaches and counselors.
Shady Side Academy touts a balanced approach to academics, arts and athletics; SSA Summer offers more than 50 camps and classes from rocketry to slam poetry to ice hockey. The Roeper School allows its students to choose their learning pursuits every day, and the same holds true for their daily camp schedule. Georgetown Prep maintains some of the finest athletic facilities in the Washington, D.C., area; its summer program seeks to promote a more competitive training experience through the motto, “Developing Athletes.”
Camp branding doesn’t end with registration. Once summer starts, campers’ experiences and parents’ evaluations will influence their perception of your institution. Ensure your summer staff shows children and families the same attention and great service that your school families receive throughout the academic year.
In terms of visual identity, it is critical that your summer camp communications align with your school’s. The Meadowbrook School’s summer camp logo uses the same basic elements as its school logo. Even individuals outside the school community would recognize the summer program as a high-quality experience for children just through the communications alone.
So how do you start integrating your brand into your summer program?
Include summer programs in any branding studies or brand refreshes your school may be completing.
Figure out how you can better apply your current marketing and communications budget. Share a targeted mailing list or create an on-brand ad template that work for both school and summer program advertising.
Replicate the experience of being part of your school’s community. Allow campers to participate in a schoolwide tradition, invite parents into your best facilities for registration and allow your admissions staff to engage interested parents.
Tell your story on campus. When parents drop off their children, will they see signs depicting upcoming facility renovations, professional development partnerships or statistics on student outcomes?