Private School differentiates their brand with plenty of puff

A Unique Brand Soundtrack.

I was out for a run recently (paying for it today) and as my path took me through a beautiful patch of suburban Melbourne I was greeted by the faint strain of bagpipes. The sound was at once foreign and charmingly welcome on a Melbourne spring morning. My run skirted one of Melbourne’s exclusive private boys’ schools; Scotch College, and the music was being provided by their famous Pipes and Drums band.

What interested me was that at that part of my journey I found myself passing between the grounds of two private schools; Scotch and St Kevins, and right at that moment, one school was differentiating itself with a signature brand gesture, and the other by coincidence was silent.

The secondary school, private education space is a hotly contested and highly lucrative market in Melbourne. With fees of up to $50k per student per year, the schools understand that every student they attract is a client worth as much as half a million dollars over the lifetime of their schooling. These private schools understand the value of their brands over the long term in keeping the new student pipeline loaded.

The primary point of brand focus for schools is academic results, with sports coming a close second (we are a sports-mad city after all). Success in the annual VCE rankings along with students being drafted into the AFL are big boosts for the brands of all these schools. The question for them (as it is for any market) is; ‘Beyond the things you and all your competitors are focused on, what are you doing to stand-out? What is your point of differentiation?’.

With a proud Scottish heritage, Scotch College boasts a Pipes and Drums band that regularly participates in community events and competes internationally. From a brand perspective, the Pipes and Drums provide a number of additional layers of unique meaning – tradition, music and teamwork among them. In the same way the Maori Haka represents many layers of cultural and historic association whenever seen and heard, the Scotch College Pipes and Drums band provides a unique soundtrack that achieves the same for the school’s brand.

Dave Ansett
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more here
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