This article is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your daycare and make it a success.
Some people think daycare marketing is as simple as placing a classifieds or yellow page ad, and for some, it can be. If you have competition (and you probably do), however, you can earn a majority local market share by successfully branding your daycare business.
Importance of a branded image
Branding is important because people purchase on emotion. Parents choose businesses that share their values, especially when it comes to their children. It's important to identify and promote your branded identity so you can connect with your target clientele at a glance. A well-rounded branded strategy allows you to do just that. Careful critical thinking now pays huge dividends later.
If your daycare is not branded, then you're just another daycare. There's nothing that separates you from the competition. This reduces your potential customer pool to make choices based on factors such as price, convenience and preconceived notions. Without a branded identity, you have no control over preconceptions and therefore you're forced to either compete on pricing and location alone. This is not a way to grow your business. Cheap does not outsell quality.
How to identify your branded image
Instead, you should compete based on public perception, which you can control with a branded image. To identify your branded image, you have to consider how you're different from your competitors. What do you offer that they don't (or that they don't promote)? Many parents prefer a daycare that not only safeguards their children while they're at work, but also fosters intellectual, physical and emotional growth through education, play time and cooperative learning. Perhaps you're the "Learning Daycare" or the "Strong Body, Sound Mind Daycare." Maybe you're in a specialized niche such as the "Spiritual Daycare."
To help you define what type of daycare you are, consider the features and benefits you offer your clientele. Understand the distinction between the two. Education is a feature, for example, while fostering critical thinking is a benefit. List all of your features and benefits, and pick the most important that also differentiate you from the competition to base your brand on.
You also have to understand your customers, and what motivates them. All parents want their children to receive the best care possible, but at the same time a daycare located near a university might have clientele with very different secondary motivators than a daycare located near an industrial park. What is your mission, and how does this mission apply to and benefit your clientele?
Once you've identified your differences, strengths, clientele, benefits and motivators, wrap them all together into a singular branded image that expresses who you are, what you do, and how you do it.
Branding through design
Skilled graphic design can transform your daycare's branded identity from a concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and your audience will perceive the ideal and emotions that your image expresses. The power of design is limitless, especially when you incorporate sound brand identity design principles for your daycare.
Your daycare colors, logo, corporate identity package, website, and other marketing materials are all a reflection of your brand; so familiar, cohesive design must be applied to all mediums. The goal is for your prospects to be able to glance at your material and instantly recognize who it's from and what you stand for. When you achieve this, you've developed an excellent daycare brand identity.