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What’s a Brand Promise and Why Does Your Education Program Need One?

Brian Rahill

May 2, 2023

Geico promises you will quickly save 15% or more on car insurance. Walmart assures you that their low prices help you live better. Canva claims their online graphic design platform makes it easy to create professional designs. These companies have built reputations around their brand promise—their commitment to their customers.  

Your organization should have a brand promise too. Being able to articulate what makes you stand out from your competitors and what students can expect from your program is critical to building a successful brand and establishing long-term student loyalty. We’ll share the steps for finding your brand promise and offer some examples to help get you started. 

What Is a Brand Promise in Education?

In education, a brand promise is a commitment you make to your students about the quality, value, and benefits of your classes. It’s a declaration of what a student can expect to experience when they register. In short, it’s the foundation upon which your brand is built. 

A strong brand promise can help you establish brand awareness, student loyalty, and a competitive advantage.

A strong brand promise can help you in several ways. It builds brand awareness, increases student loyalty, and establishes a competitive advantage. Ultimately, a brand promise helps to foster trust with students by setting clear expectations and consistently delivering on those expectations over time. 

Examples of Brand Promises

Your brand promise should capture your program’s unique value proposition—the thing that sets it apart from others offering similar courses—and set clear expectations for what students can expect to gain by attending. 

Here are a few examples of brand promises used by educational programs: 

  • The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Arts promises to help students “train their eye” and “challenge them … to become more fully conversant with the language of painting.” 

  • The Learning Space in Southern Utah is a resource for homeschool families. It promises to encourage “the love for learning in a social atmosphere among friends.” 

  • Keystone College’s brand promise is that “within six months of graduating you will have received at least one job offer or been accepted into a transfer or graduate program.” That’s a bold promise! 

Other possible brand promises for education programs could include a commitment to personalized learning, a focus on innovation, or a dedication to helping a certain population of people succeed. 

How to Find Your Brand Promise

If a prospective student asked you what makes your classes unique, how would you answer? That question is a useful starting point for finding your brand promise. 

Define your brand promise by pinpointing the benefit students gain from your classes.

Start by pinpointing the benefit students gain by registering for your classes. To do that, you need a deep understanding of your target audience, your program’s strengths and weaknesses, and how your competitors position themselves. 

Here are some steps to follow to help create a strong brand promise:

  1. Gather information about your ideal student’s needs and wants. Use student feedback, social media listening, and student personas to understand what motivates your students to choose your program.
  2. Identify your unique selling proposition. What sets your program apart from others? What value do you bring to the market that no one else—or at least no one in your area—does?

  3. Define your brand’s personality and voice. What is the tone and style of your brand? How do you want your students to feel when they interact with your brand?

  4. Craft a clear and concise promise. Your brand promise should be simple, memorable, and easy to communicate. It should also be realistic and achievable. Aim for no more than a sentence or two.

  5. Communicate your brand promise consistently. Make sure all of your messaging and marketing, from your course catalog to how you interact with students, reflects your brand promise.

By following these steps, you can create a brand promise that resonates with your students and helps differentiate your program from the competition. 

Going Deeper: Defining a Class Promise

Your brand promise applies to your whole program, but each class should also make a promise to students. This class promise tells the student what they will gain by taking a specific class. 

Maybe they’ll learn how to make their art more eco-friendly or prepare for a test that will earn them a certification. Whatever you commit to providing, think about how this class promise supports your overall brand promise.

  • Brand promise: Make art and arts experiences accessible to all. 

  • Class promise: Learn how to “read” paintings by understanding the visual language of the post-impressionists. 

Try the SWBAT strategy: this stands for “Students will be able to …” by the end of the class.

If you’re struggling to find a class promise, try the SWBAT strategy. SWBAT stands for “Students will be able to…” It’s commonly used by teachers to explain the skills and knowledge students can expect to gain from the class. For example, “At the end of the course, students will be able to take the state exam for EMT certification.” Or, “Upon course completion, students will be able to speak foundational Spanish.” 

Of course, whether you’re writing a class promise or a brand promise, you have to make sure you deliver. Keeping promises builds trust and improves the student experience. When students get everything you’ve pledged to provide, they’re more likely to enroll again or recommend your classes to a friend.

At CourseStorm, we promise to streamline access to education. We deliver on that promise by providing a seamless class registration and checkout experience for educational programs of all sizes. To see our promise in action, start your free trial or contact us today.

Brian Rahill

Brian is a scientist-turned-education technology executive. He has founded and led technology companies for more than 20 years and uses his analytical mind and experimental approach to spur growth in small and medium businesses and start-ups. He is passionate about using technology to enhance access to lifelong learning.

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