After twenty years in the world of independent schools, I find myself breaking the shackles of the traditional and embracing the contemporary not only in curriculum, professional development, faculty evaluation and tuition pricing systems but in marketing as well. Gone are the days when a suburban independent school can rest on its laurels and depend upon a reputation built on several generations of academic excellence. Schools today must be innovative in order to consistently and effectively define their value proposition to the increasingly skeptical public. Branding and marketing become critical in order for a school to continue to further its mission and, let’s face it, fill the seats.
The most recent project Harbor Country Day School embraced was remarkable, and it needed to be remarkable. Pantanjali, often referred to as the father of Yoga and the author of The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, wrote, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds.” This is what happened to us when we began discussing the opportunity to develop a T.V. commercial. While, at first, I was apprehensive, the more we discussed the potential exposure and the ability to bring the public into our school via their own living rooms, the project took off. After the initial shooting, we were so inspired to make the best commercial we could, we became more creative, more innovative and more engaged in the process of marketing our school.
The commercial project itself is not what I want you to take away from this blog post. I will ask you to look deeper. Look within. Sometimes we need to venture outside of our comfort zone, our box, to find inspiration and innovation. You will find that once you are outside of your comfort zone, taking responsible risks, attempting to innovate, you will become inspired on a whole new level. New ideas will become exciting and your feelings about how you question yourself and what others say about you tends to dissipate. Find inspiration in innovation. Your business and your sanity may just depend on it.
Thank you, Sharon Reed, who reminded me of the above quote by Pantanjali, and who further inspired me to write this post. You can follow her on twitter by clicking here: Sharon Reed. I follow her because she makes me think.