‘Brand experience’ encompasses the broader set of direct and indirect perceptions, emotions and experiences that customers have with an organisation.

Brand Experience (BX) thinking has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with organisations increasingly eager to understand and map the entire lifecycle of a customers experience (direct and indirect) with their brand.

See the growth of ‘Brand Experience’ via Google Trends, almost double in search volume since the end of 2020…

Google Trends, captured 13 May 2024.

Without Brand Experience thinking, an organisation’s array of marketing and communications activity becomes fragmented.

You’ve probably experienced this yourself:

  • A software-provider has a slick website that sells you the world. Their salespeople are friendly and helpful, but once you’re inside, the onboarding experience is drawn-out, painful, and nothing like what you expected.

    If only the onboarding process were as slick as the sales process.
  • You get referred by a friend to a local tradesperson. Their website is awful, making it hard to contact them. But once you finally manage to reach them by phone (if your patience extends that far), they are incredibly knowledgeable, trustworthy, and fair in their pricing.

    If only it didn’t take five phone calls and a virus-ridden website to get to this point.

BX thinking helps organisations to map out their campaigns, digital infrastructure, organic communication. Not just in a linear, time-bound sense; but in an experiential sense.

Organisation’s who do BX well have a cohesive experience from the first moment you engage with their brand (via an ad, Google Search or social channel) all the way through your entire journey with their product/service.

School marketers can learn from brand experience thinking. I call it ‘parent experience’.

As a school marketer, your job description says that you are responsible for a list of things: marketing activities, website content, event planning, and social media.

Change that to ‘you are responsible for (prospective) parent experience’. Does this shift your perspective on your role?

What if the list of responsibilities I mentioned before were just tools in your toolkit used to deliver your ultimate goal: an amazing prospective parent experience?

You get to shape parents first impressions. You get to hold their hand through their journey into your school. In case you (or others) question it sometimes, your job is pretty important!

So, if you’re thinking about Parent Experience for the first time – where do you start?

The best way to start ‘parent experience’ thinking is to map out all the different stages/experiences/touch points/infrastructure your school uses in the enrolment journey.

This is a critically important step, because it establishes both a linear and an experiential journey.

  • Linear: Parents must move through each stage in order.
  • Experiential: Our school engages with parents differently depending on the questions they’re asking and feelings they’re experiencing.

The simple act of understanding and mapping all the different components of your marketing and communication will set you up to start optimising them for an excellent AND cohesive parent experience.

As you do this, you’ll start seeing where your school’s journey is weak and strong.

Keep it simple and start strengthening the weak areas. Do the simple things well, and you’ll be kicking marketing goals in no time.

P.s. The initial mapping can be pretty overwhelming, so I’ve built out a full enrolment journey map with everything you need to get started. It’s free!