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Guest Post: Four “ISMs” On In-School Marketing

Ads in schools

Today’s guest post comes from Mindelle Ziff, President & Founder of Kaleidoscope Youth and Family Marketing. Mindelle explains how brands can benefit from in-school marketing if they work with schools in the right ways. She provides several “ism’s” about how to do this from enhancing an existing environment to being adaptable for each setting. These frameworks can help ensure a beneficial relationship between brands and schools as Mindelle explains below.

Guest Post: Four “ISMs” On In-School Marketing

During the last decade, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. This is most obvious in the world of youth marketing. Technology has certainly played a large role in changing the way we engage, while social issues — like the obesity crisis — have made us all more aware of the impact of our influence.

As the landscape has changed, it has required us — as youth marketers — to change with it and to act as counselors to our clients. They are the experts on their brands, therefore we must be the experts about the audience and the environments in which we work.

At Kaleidoscope, we often focus on in-school marketing and to do this, we share with clients and partners what we like to call our “Smart-ISMs” (smart in-school marketing…get it?!):

  • Smart-ISM #1: Symbiotic relationships are the best. Any brand looking to engage schools should find ways to bring tangible value to the space and enhance the current environment/content/activities. Schools are looking for partners who understand their world and, as a result, can provide truly valuable resources and support.
  • Smart-ISM #2: Put the schools first. Schools are sensitive spaces and have a very different set of priorities than that of your brand manager, boss, celebrity spokesperson, or media contact. The wants/needs/wishes of the school should always come first.
  • Smart-ISM #3: Adaptability is key. Each school is a unique microcosm that operates in its own way. Do not expect the same thing to happen in the same way in every school, or you will likely be disappointed.

If you’re finding these hard to swallow, you may need to consider…

  • Smart-ISM #4: Recognize square peg, round hold syndrome. Let’s face it, in-school marketing is not for every brand, campaign, product, or promotion — even if you want it to be. Approach school programs with a clear vision for if/how your brand can add true value to the school environment. If the answer is that it can’t, don’t force it.   

Hint: you may have noticed, these Smart-ISM’s aren’t unique to in-school marketing. They are actually very good rules of thumb for all forms of online or offline community marketing. Just substitute the word “school” for “community” and voila!

Yes, the youth marketing landscape will continue to change. We know that, and we see it happening every day. But done right, with the direction of channel insights and experts, in-school programs provide a direct and deep connection to your audience in a meaningful, purpose-driven way.

     Mindelle Ziff

MindelleMindelle is a national leader in youth and family marketing, with a focus on cause marketing and health and wellness. She has built her career creating and implementing integrated brand strategies for Fortune 500 companies, government entities and non-profit organizations. Pragmatic business savvy, insight, energy and focus enable her to navigate the ever-changing youth marketing industry while consistently delivering results for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bic. She is passionate about families and marketing, particularly about melding the two in a benefit-driven, cause-oriented manner that reaps tangible rewards for both.