EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: How ESAs can support school districts with branding and communications.

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1 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: How ESAs can support school districts with branding and communications

2 Who we are Aura Alvarado Director of Communications & Community Relations Julia Winer Assistant Director; Coordinator of Legislative Affairs

3 What we do The Department of Communications fosters public understanding of, and support for, CREC s mission. We offer the following services: Media Relations Event Support Publications Website Management Marketing and Advertisement Community Relations Photography, Audio, and Video Collateral and Company Store Agency Resource Management

4 CREC s Mission To work with boards of education of the Capitol Region to improve the quality of public education for all learners.

5 CREC at a Glance A 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization Headquarters in Hartford, CT Employs 2,400+ people Operates 19 magnet schools, serving over 8,500 students from throughout the Capitol Region Offers 120+ programs for educators and paraprofessionals Annual revenue of $371.2 million in 2014

6 Today s Topics Building a successful and lasting school or school district brand Working with media channels to bring exposure to a school or district s work and results Effective communications techniques Crisis communication Community relations Basics of social media

7 BRANDING Helping districts build a successful and lasting brand

8 Why does a school/district need a brand? Builds a lasting impression of the school or district: Improves communication with stakeholders Improves reputation in community Increases value of real estate and increases long-term tax base Streamlines all communications (easier to make decisions)

9 Local school district no longer have a monopoly Heavily branded competitors: Magnet schools Parochial schools Private schools Charter schools

10 What makes up a school district s brand? 1) Visual Identity: Logo Colors Typography Use of images and graphics 2) Messaging Platform: Name, Abbreviation/Acronym/Nickname Tagline External Vision, Mission, Values Statements Key Messages Elevator Pitch Lexicon

11

12

13 District Logos & Branding

14 School Logos & Branding

15 Maintaining Your Brand Consistency is the cheapest and most effective way to build your brand Big Duck Consulting

16 Maintaining Your Brand All of the places you should see the brand Letterhead Business cards Social media Websites Building signage T-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. Flyers/Publications On hold messages signatures

17 Maintaining the Brand Document brand decisions in a style guide that is readily available to all staff

18 School Brand Example CREC Public Safety Academy Grades 6-12 Theme: Focused Preparation for College and Careers in Law Enforcement, Fire Science & Emergency Medicine, and Law, Government & Homeland Security

19 School Brand Example PSA Motto: Inspiring tomorrow s leaders through, academic excellence, service and duty. PSA Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide a rigorous and innovative learning environment that inspires our students to achieve academic excellence, embody selfless service, and become tomorrow's leaders. PSA Student Pledge: As a member of the Public Safety Academy family, I pledge to uphold our Core Values of Excellence, Duty, Courage and Honor. I am committed to academic excellence and service. Today, I will exemplify leadership and achievement. PSA Core Values: Excellence, Duty, Courage, Honor

20 School Brand Example

21 School Brand Example

22 School Brand Example

23 HELPING DISTRICTS TO WORK WITH THE MEDIA How to get great work noticed!

24 What is newsworthy? Awards, recognitions, or announcements Speeches or conference presentations Major events Published documents or books Groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, moves or construction Great results or data New positions or a new hire Special visitors Large conferences or workshops that would appeal to a statewide audience Special student news, trips, accomplishments, etc.

25 Sharing great work: There are many ways to tell a story: Press Releases (for announcements or sent out after an event) Press Alerts (to alert the media to an upcoming event so they can attend) Story Writing and Submission (local Papers, school newsletters, staff announcements, e-updates) Social Media

26 Master Content Calendar A master calendar helps to plan media coverage and other event support Brainstorm what schools want to share Bring analytics to guide the conversation Keep the goals in mind Review and revise Be agile Source:

27 Media Development Tips When developing an story, always answer the following questions: What is the event? When is the event? (date and time) Where is the event? (location and address) Who is involved in the event? Who is invited to attend? (open to the public, students & families, program participants only, etc.) Why is this an important opportunity, award, event, etc? What is the history of the event? How did it come about? Who was involved? Quotes from participants or involved staff, students, presenters, partners, or donors Great photos, with names

28 Major News Outlets

29 Local News Outlets & Self Posted

30 Internal/External Distribution & Social Media

31 School Media Example

32 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS Community and Public Relations

33 Crisis Communications It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. Warren Buffet, businessman and philanthropist

34 Crisis Communications Keys to successful crisis comms: 1. Train staff on effective crisis communications 2. Have schools develop and use a crisis communications plan 3. Offer pre-written templates so schools can respond quickly 4. Explain the importance of simultaneous communication to all constituents: 1. Communication to families 2. Response to the media 3. Assume that anything sent to parents will get to the media 5. Help schools establish media rules

35 Establish Media Rules Who can speak with the media? Does the tone of the article matter? Media communicators must be able to turn around information very quickly (one day, sometimes one hour) Must know at least a little bit about everything Must have information at their fingertips Must be able to write well Do all media requests need to be approved by the superintendent? Principal?

36 Working with the Community Community relations is essential for: Building district s brand/reputation Effective communication with families Word-of-mouth reputation Making schools a permanent and essential part of the community Sharing information beyond the classroom

37 Leveraging Community Partners Community partners are essential for effective coordination of services: Churches/religious centers Community organizations Clubs (Boys & Girls; Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts) After school centers Early childhood programs Hospitals

38 Keys to Building Relationships Provide access to facilities for community groups Offer for students to perform at community events Encourage partners to reach out to school districts for support (resources, fundraising, donations, volunteers)

39 BASIC SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SCHOOLS Make social media part of a school s communications plan

40 Prioritizing Start where the school s main audiences are and make decisions about what to post on each site based on content type and target audience: Facebook Audience: Parents, Community Members Types of Posts: Live events, news updates, user participation I love my school because Twitter Audience: Educators, Politicians, Students Types of Posts: Quick updates, events, news YouTube Audience: Students Types of Posts: Events, rally videos, students videos, promotional videos LinkedIn Audience: Educators, Job Seekers Types of Posts: Job postings, new business partnerships

41 Help Schools Establish Protocols 1) Establish a social media policy 2) Establish guidelines for managing social media accounts: Who is allowed to create social media pages? Who is assigned to update? How often will they update? What kind of content will be posted or linked to? What is the plan for how to handle negative comments? Is the comment negative or is it threatening/ inappropriate/derogatory? Who will monitor and respond? 3) Have a way for the school community to communicate good stories and updates for social media

42 Branding & Social Media Make sure social media pages reflect the brand

43 Keep track of metrics 387 Facebook Posts Annually Year

44 Keep track of metrics 4034 Likes 567% Year

45 QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, THANK YOU! Aura Alvarado: Julia Winer:

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