Today’s post is guest written by Rob Norman. Rob has 25 years of independent school marketing experience as principal of Turnaround Marketing Communications, a branding and marketing firm specializing in independent schools. Rob shares his experience on InspirED School Marketers by blogging, editing the Daily Jolt, and by podcasting with fascinating independent school movers and shakers. As InspirED’s Best Boy — a term borrowed from theater, Rob’s longtime passion — Rob loves to be out and about, meeting with school marketers, learning their needs, and helping them overcome challenges. Be sure to ask Rob about his golf game.

Many schools use taglines, but developing a tagline rarely provides the powerful branding solution schools need — particularly if the tagline is neither singular nor comprehensible.

The primary purpose of a brand is to have a way to consistently and compellingly describe what makes a school unique. (And yes, after visiting more than 200 schools over 20 years, I truly believe that every school is unique.) A brand should capture what the internal community knows and feels about a school, even if they can’t describe it, and it should differentiate schools from their competition, whether that competition is other independent or private schools, public schools, or charter schools.

Taglines are can be beneficial if they are truly distinctive and immediately understood, but that’s the catch. So few of them are. Consider these real school taglines I have gathered from the web. (For some examples of taglines used by colleges and universities check out this cool Tagline Repository created by Stamats.)

Growing Bright Futures

We Inspire the Future

Inspiring Young Women

Inspiring Boys, Building Men

Excellence for Boys

The Best Place for Girls

Home Away from Home

Being Smart Is Only the Beginning

Find Your Own Voice

The Power of Potential

Small School. Big World.

Small School. Big Experience.

The Global School

Excellence in Intellectual, Spiritual, Social and Spiritual Growth for Girls

Do Well. Do Good.

Open the Door

Preparing Students for a Changing World

Pioneering Teaching and Learning Since xxxx

What do you think of these taglines? Could many of them be used for your school, or another school you know?

If you can develop a tagline that positions you distinctively and clearly, perfect! Use it. But don’t be fooled into believing that that handful of words is a substitute for a well-researched and well-written brand. If your brand is strong, you won’t need a tagline.

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