I was on a call with a school board yesterday when a parent shouted out,

"you're telling us all this stuff about nurturing leads, and enrollment funnels... Facts speak for themselves".

The reality is different.
How facts are framed has a dramatic effect on how your parent audience perceives them.
How they are perceived in turn affects how your audience translates those facts into actions, enrollment decisions, and so on.

I wish I were quick-witted enough to present the example below on the fly... but at least I can share it now:

Back in 2007, on a cold January winter morning, pedestrians hurried by while a busker was playing the violin at the entrance of a Washington D.C. Metro station.

His performance included Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, one of the most challenging pieces ever composed for the instrument. During this 43-minute subway concert, there was no thunderous applause, and no cameras were flashing.

In fact, passersby didn't realize that the musician wearing a baseball cap was Joshua Bell -one of the greatest violinists in the world, and was playing a $3.5m Stradivarius.

Of the 1,097 people who walked by, only one person stopped and listened for a few moments while a couple of kids also stared from a distance.

If a banal setting can cancel-out greatness, just think of how easily brash and tactless advertising can damage your school's brand.

Here are three tips to make your school's marketing more elegant:

  1. Use Long Thin Typefaces to Convey Elegance
    "Typefaces that are lighter in weight (in width and stroke thickness) are seen as delicate and gentle, while heavier typefaces are strong and aggressive…" (Brumberger, 2003, pp. 208)
  2. Use High Emotion Words to Convey Quality
    Magical, Remarkable, Phenomenal, Smooth, Heartwarming, Bold, Inspiring, Riveting, Exciting, Thrilling, Blissful, Privileged, Intriguing, Enhanced, Charming, Handpicked, Distinctive, Calm, Comfort, Vibrant, Blend, Harmony ...
    (insider tip: I often grab words or phrases from luxury villa rental sites.)
  3. Use Classical Music in Your Slideshows
    In the late-80s British Airways was struggling with perceptions of quality.
    Instead of addressing the quality concerns head-on, they decided to use high-grade classical music in all their ads.
    They were playing to the brain's subconscious -associating high-quality classical music to high-quality air travel. Since they were not making any coherent arguments in favor of quality, their audience's brain couldn't come up with a list of counter-arguments.


*adapted from "Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Forces" by Ori & Rom Brafman  & "The Choice Factory" by Richard Shotton