Boost Word of Mouth with Message Discipline and Training

How to Encourage Message Discipline at Your Institution

No matter how on target your brand strategy, breaking through the marketing clutter from all sources depends on getting the words right.  ALL THE TIME, everywhere, in all that you do.

The most effective way to convert skeptics into believers is to continuously and consistently reiterate, reinforce, and restate what your institution can do for a student.  That’s why bringing your brand strategy to life requires Message Discipline.

Tip #1: Insist on Message Discipline Across All Communications

Yes, the critical elements of your brand strategy—your positioning and Supportive Messages—can keep the content of your communications focused.  But it’s up to you to make sure that happens…

…In a way that engages, captivates, and surrounds your target audience with your institution’s brand story.

…And in a way that’s compelling and compatible with very different communications channels.

No, it’s not easy to break through the clutter!

It’s true that when you start thinking about all the communications channels—campus tours, websites, social media channels, print advertising, direct mail, viewbooks, word of mouth, and more—the task can seem daunting.

Feeling overwhelmed, many institutions make the mistake of jumping right to updating one or two tactical elements.  The message gets muddled right out of the gate.

As we said in the first blog post of this series, Make Your Brand Drive Enrollment Tip #1: Use A Creative Brief, effective communication is not a skin-deep process. If a new website, video, or viewbook don’t all convey the words, tone, voice, and imagery that illustrate your brand strategy, their beauty will quickly fade.

If you want to make your brand drive enrollment, retention, and fundraising, you have to evaluate and improve every point of interaction in order to get your message through loud and clear to your target audience.  While there aren’t any shortcuts, there is a good place to start when it comes to instilling Message Discipline.

Tip #2: Turbo Charge Word of Mouth with Message Training

Word of mouth is one of—if not THE—most influential marketing vehicles to reach and engage your target audience of best-fit students and families.

That’s why we recommend Message Training as the first and most important way to ensure Message Discipline.

First of all providing proper Message Training for admissions, marketing, and development staff; board leadership and trustees; faculty; senior administrators; tour guides; and alumni and parent ambassadors is the fastest way to earn a return on your investment in a brand strategy.

In addition, training the entire internal community in when and how to share your positioning and Supportive Messages is absolutely critical to your school’s marketing success.

Written language and spoken language are very different.  The brand positioning statement and Supportive Messages you have down on paper don’t instantly or automatically convert into an engaging and persuasive verbal presentation.

When everyone can authentically and enthusiastically share the same powerful message, you will see marketplace perceptions begin to shift and interest in your institution increase.

Message Training that focuses on tone, style, and paying attention to cues from prospective students and families also empowers your internal community to adapt to the needs of their primary audiences. When they can adapt naturally, they will become formidable “recruiters,” and strong contributors to growth in their own right.

Make Your Brand Drive Enrollment, Retention, and Fundraising

Only when you combine brand strategy, creative strategy, and execution will you successfully drive enrollment, retention, and fundraising.  Message training not only helps move your institution from the strategy phase to the execution phase of a brand launch, but also assures you have the Message Discipline you need to stand out.


Dale DeLetis leads the Message Training practice at EdwardsCo.

Dale conducts pre-launch workshops with our higher education and independent school clients. He provides refresher courses to keep institutions on message during critical enrollment and fundraising time periods.


If you need help getting faculty, board members, administration, alumni, and tour guides on the same page, contact us about our message training and tour guide training services.



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