Often when I talk about branding, people conjure up images of their logo. They think of the color palette of their website. But branding is more than just the colors you use, it’s the ‘personality’ of your business. It encompasses your personal and business values, your mission, the service you want to offer and – most importantly – how you want your customers to feel.
I was chatting with my daughter earlier this week about the fact that sometimes people will forget a daycare name but they’ll remember the owners. While a name may be forgotten they remember the WHO – the “Who” that runs that business. And if they had a positive experience, they’ll remember how they FELT.
One of the ways you can help them remember the experience of being in your daycare – whether that’s for a tour or once they’re moving on – is making it sensory. And that’s what I’m focusing on in today’s blog and over on my YouTube “Monday Moves
“. Read on!
Using your five senses to up your branding game
You’ve got an opportunity to really hit your clients and potential clients in all their sensory areas with your branding!Ad agencies and marketing businesses have been talking about this for a while. Sensory branding (also known as multisensory marketing) is proving to be a very effective way to captivate your audience. This can be a marvellous way to make your childcare brand unforgettable.
The reason it’s so impactful is that some people love looking at visuals, while others prefer audio, and then you’ve got others who are attracted to touch or smell. All these sensory preferences can be utilized in your marketing. You can grab their attention by creating products and services that tap into their sensory leanings. It’s all about enhancing your customer experience.
Sight and visual branding
Think about the experience you want your families to have in your care. What do you want to be remembered for? If you’re all about the fun and your personality is loud and proud, why wouldn’t you want your daycare to be the same? Let your personality shine through! Use color and materials to liven up the visual experience! Or if you’re a kinda zen individual whose whole being is about calm and meditation, let that come out in your decor.
Use light – from windows or from lamps – to make your daycare a feast for the imagination. Drape fabric from the ceilings to create a different look. Use mirrors to enhance the space and stimulate play!
And while we’re talking about visuals…I know I said logos aren’t the be-all and end-all, BUT…
Are you making sure your visual branding is on everything you do? You want people to remember you and your business. Ensure that your logo is on all your signs and posters. Put it on any window stickers you might have displayed. If you or the kids wear uniforms, is the color on-brand? Is your logo on the kit? Think about giving your children a special branded daycare tote or book-bag. This is essentially free advertising because they’re carrying it all round town before and after their day with you!
Make sure that your logo is on all your communications – paper or digital. Use it in your email signature (tutorial here
!). Is the logo on your header image of your social media? Do you use your logo and brand colors on things you share online?
Smell in your branding
Okay, I know this might sound a little weird. Bear with me! But y’all know that real estate agents often bake cookies in the homes they’re trying to sell, so why don’t we do this kinda thing too?!
When you consider the practical smells of a day care – diapers, concoctions of mealtimes, and all that jazz – you might want to think about the smell of your daycare. This is particularly important for visits, but branding your daycare smell matters all the time! You don’t want parents to be gasping for breath when they leave the space. Wouldn’t it be lovely for them to walk in and be given a totally sensory experience of a diffuser with essential oils that soothe the soul? It might also have a positive impact on the kids too! I know I love to walk into my daycare and breathe in whatever delights are in the diffuser each morning!
Taste in your branding
Speaking of baking…Imagine you’re taking your families on a tour around your daycare and having cookies to takeaway with your logo on!? You want to be remembered, and people remember what they’ve tasted.
You can get personalized branded candy or you could do it on a budget, by bulk buying penny sweets and putting them in a pretty bag with a logo sticker on! Or if you’re really focusing on healthy eating, have fruit with your stickers on! Bottles of water with your daycare name on work really well too!
Making your business memorable is what it’s about!
Touch in your branding
Have pens or pencils and other promotional items that you can put your business logo on. Whether you purchase these or DIY, using things they touch and hold to help people remember your childcare business is a great idea!
Parents can take these away, and will be signing checks or writing notes in meetings and someone might notice and ask them about your daycare. Being at the forefront of their minds is helpful when they’re in the process of decision-making where to send their precious kids off while they go to work. If you’ve made the parents feel amazing, and they’ve got something to physically hold and remember you by, they’re more likely to call you up and book on!
Sound in your branding
Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting you go and have a jingle made for the local radio station (anyone else now got Smelly Cat stuck in their head?). What I mean is using sound to enhance the sensory experience of your daycare. People tend to associate darcares with a screechy sound track of nursery rhymes that hark back to the 1980s. So why not think about what music fits the vibe of your daycare?
Think about your own favorite shopping experiences. What music do you hear in those places? Why does it feel good? And then consider how you want your kids and families to feel in your very own daycare centers. Perhaps your could play something that fits the theme? Ambient jungle sounds or rainforest background noise. Or maybe some calming Mozart? Or perhaps you love music from your country of origin and want that to be what people remember.
And of course YOU!
Let’s not forget what I said at the start. YOU are your brand. I think it’s important that you’re “branded” and visible in your local community so that both get associated with each other. I run into that a lot. People will say to me, “Oh yeah Miss Nyckie’s day care! I remember that place” and even though they may have forgotten the venue’s name they remember me and the way I made them feel!
So do make sure you get yourself out there and known in your community and be your brand! Branding isn’t just your childcare venue but it covers you too!
How do you feel about your current daycare branding? Are you utilizing all the sensory experiences you could be? I’d love to chat with you over in the Facebook group about it!
If you want to hang out with like-minded and aspirational childcare business owners, come and get involved in the community over on Facebook! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!
When you’re marketing your childcare business, do you stay true to your values? I’ve witnessed so many childcare owners who feel they can’t be themselves while they’re wearing their business hats. So I want to dive into this a little more in this blog.
It’s often said that opposites attract, but when it comes to business I’m not convinced. Over the last decade I’ve found that this isn’t true. Actually, it’s been quite the contrary in my experience and those businesses I’ve supported through mentoring and coaching.
I’m going to share with you how things began to change for my business and my clients when we’ve stayed true to what we believe in. And why I’ll be encouraging you to do the same…
What does stay true to yourself mean?
Sounds a bit wishy-washy doesn’t it, “staying true to yourself”? So what am I talking about? Well, what I mean is your values. The absolute non-negotiables in how you run your business. My own values are based on family, faith, hard work and commitment. All of them are vital ingredients to my day-to-day work and the way I lead in my daycares and in Childcare Ninjas.
What do they look like for you and your childcare business? Write down the values that you couldn’t function without.
What happens when you don’t stay true to yourself?
When you ignore what you believe, and don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, you business is misaligned with your purpose. This means that you’re leaving a part of yourself at the door when you got to work, which takes a lot of energy. Hiding a large portion of your personality or values isn’t healthy and can cause a lot of resentment.
I used to keep my faith hidden, as if it were not an essential part of my life. I didn’t talk about it, and I worried about sharing my beliefs with colleagues, families and employees. And when I was hiding a huge piece of my puzzle, I didn’t feel whole and I was not coming across as authentic. Which then had an impact on my success as a business owner, because people aren’t stupid. They know when something isn’t right.
And due to the misalignment I was portraying, the families who were coming to my doors weren’t the ideal clients I was wanting. Eventually it got to the point where it felt too important to leave my values out of my brand. I couldn’t hold it all back any more. My sense of purpose was renewed: I knew things had to change.
Soak it up
When you allow your business to marinade in your values, it soaks it all up! Your business benefits massively from having some depth and purpose, which comes from the beliefs you uphold. Just like me and my Christian faith. Once I allowed myself to share my beliefs and no longer hid them away, I found that I was attracting people whose views aligned with mine. They felt comfortable entrusting their babies to me because I demonstrated values they themselves believed in.
I’ve now built two successful businesses on the foundations of my faith and I’m proud of the fact that my values are so ingrained in every ounce of my little empire!
Getting the message right
I’m not saying you need to sing your faith from the rooftops, or start handing out pamphlets about your beliefs to parents. You don’t need to hammer your beliefs home to your families, merely embody the values you hold in the running of your business.
I mentioned that my values include commitment. Every day in my work I model this value in the way I support my families and go the extra mile to meet their needs. I am fully committed to being the best in the game and to making sure the kids in my daycare centers have the time of their lives while also learning!
How I market my business is the same. Not by writing all over my marketing materials about what my beliefs are, but instead demonstrating my values through the photos we use or the copy I write. I focus on the importance of family – my story – and the hard work of my teams and our commitment to the children and families we work with. I also give a nod to my faith in the quotes I have on the walls of my office, or in the cross I wear to work. It’s who I am. Something I can’t believe I used to hide!
The message isn’t always in the way you market, it’s in the crafting of your brand messaging and the way you grow brand awareness. And it’s really important that you get this right sooner than I did! When you nail your messaging, it gives families who work with you an awareness and understanding of who you are! And by doing so…
…You’ll call in the families you want to serve!
So in changing the way I do things, by being my authentic self and leaving nothing in the porch as I step into my business owner role, I am calling in the people I want to work with. I want to work with families who share the same values and beliefs that I hold dear to me.
When you attract those families, it makes relationships run much more smoothly because you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. They’ll know you and trust you, and will feel comfortable handing their little treasures over to you. And they’ll also stand behind you because they share your values and beliefs.
Share who you are
Basically, what I’m encouraging you to do is stop hiding who you really are. Don’t try to please everyone for the sake of it. And never be afraid of sharing your core values. These are the things that make you YOU. And those are the reasons people will seek you out.
So go ahead! Share you – the real you! The families who your values speak to will adore you and want to have you and your business in their lives. I know, because sharing my faith and my other core beliefs made such an impact on my business growth and also a huge change in my own well-being.
What’s stopping you from staying true to you? How can you quit hiding and instead grow into your purpose? I’d love to know. Leave a comment or head to the Childcare Ninja Facebook group to discuss. Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!
While you’re here, are you in the Childcare Ninja membership yet? We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! It’s full of exclusive resources and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.