Emotions Drive Life's Major Decisions

Branding Insight in Brief from EdwardsCo, Part 3

For many of life’s major decisions, emotions have a major influence on the final choice.

Consider the process of purchasing a new home.  Prospective buyers go to an open house or visit a home with a realtor.  They “get a feeling” about a home when they first pull in the driveway or walk in the front door.  They have a spectrum of reactions ranging from, “Hey, this house just feels right,” to “MEH,” to “Yuck, not a good fit—I hate it already.”

They have this emotional reaction before investigating practical items such as whether it’s heated by gas or oil and what the annual property taxes are.  Only if they feel an emotional connection to a home will a buyer move ahead in the purchase process to learn more.  If they feel nothing—or worse, “hate” it—they drop the home from the consideration set altogether.

For parents, there are few more emotion-driven decisions than
those that involve their child’s future.

Case in Point

An independent school was having difficulty getting families to visit campus after the initial inquiry.  The head of school contacted EdwardsCo for help.

Our evaluation of the school’s admissions materials, print, web and social, and communications plan suggested that the timing of their messages was off.  While the initial messages focused on facts, prospective families needed to feel that their hopes and dreams for their children—the primary inspiration and emotional driver of school selection— could be fulfilled at this particular school.

Before learning about class size and curriculum, parents needed to feel, instinctively, that this school would approach the stewardship of their children’s future in a way that aligned with their needs and wants.

The focus on facts—especially at the beginning of the admissions cycle—did not inspire campus visits.

Launching communications and marketing programs that successfully inspire prospective families to inquire, apply, and enroll requires two things:

  1. A brand strategy that expresses how your school is uniquely able to help realize the aspirations prospective families have for their child’s future better and differently than competitors.
  2. A marketing and communications plan based on prospective families’ behaviors (e.g., what sources of information do they reference while looking for and considering a school) and information needs (e.g., what do they want to learn more about) at different points of the consideration process.

By better understanding the emotional drivers of a prospective family’s school decision, this independent school was able to develop a brand positioning, key messages, and creative pieces that appealed to these powerful drivers. And by building a communications plan based on enhanced knowledge of a prospective family’s decision-making process, the school was able to engage, excite, and inspire campus visits.

Any questions for us about branding at your school?

Get in touch with us if you would like to talk more about your enrollment challenges.

Back to Top