In the ever-evolving realm of school marketing strategies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) bears the potential to redefine the landscape. Serving as a digital brainstorming and research assistant, AI opens up avenues for innovation, efficiency, and precision. Yet, as we stand on this new frontier, the introduction of AI is not without its complexities and concerns. It is, indeed, a double-edged sword, a tool that could either elevate brand messaging and escalate awareness or lead to the erosion of your independent school's distinctive brand identity.
This is the first of a series of articles about the possibilities and pitfalls of using AI in your school's digital strategy for enrollment, brand awareness, and HR recruitment. In this first blog, we look into using AI in the brainstorming and research process for school marketing strategy.
Broadly speaking, you've been using AI for years. You just didn't know it. The topic of artificial intelligence can, and will, go on for years as it becomes a part of every facet of our lives. For the purposes of this series of blogs, we are referring to utilizing ChatGPT and content writing tools that use ChatGPT as it relates to marketing, communications, admissions, and faculty recruitment for independent and international schools.
The Possibilities: How AI Can Enhance School Brand Messages
You've heard that AI, when harnessed effectively, can drastically enhance the impact of your school's brand messages, but how? It's good to remember that while doing a Google search has become intuitive, everyone has had the experience of refining their search terms repetitively to get the results they're looking for. AI is no different. There's a learning curve, and ultimately, no two individuals - or marketers - are going to dialogue with AI in the same way. Even if you leverage a list of prompts from "experts" or industry associates, you will end up crafting your unique way of drawing the content you want from AI. Like everything, using AI has a learning curve, and adoption of the tools will vary greatly.
ChatGPT is like a thesaurus on steroids. Instead of providing you with an exchange of one word for another, it can provide you with new ways of phrasing an entire sentence, paragraph, or series of paragraphs. As someone responsible for writing content for your school, your personal writing tone may vary from the tone of the school brand. The content tone may need to shift depending on whether you are writing to a multilingual parent audience, the board of directors, or prospective faculty members. Rarely, if ever, will you want to copy and paste directly from ChatGPT for any one of these audiences, but using AI can be equated to running your idea by a colleague or apprentice. The results can help you refine your messages.
The more information you provide to AI, the better your results. When creating brand messages for your school, you will need to summarize the school brand to the best of your ability in addition to the audience for the content piece you wish to create. One trick many people overlook is to prompt ChatGPT to ask you questions. After providing band and audience information, you may enter a prompt such as:
- Provide a list of topics that would be valuable for this reader
- What more must you know to help me write a blog on our school culture?
- Provide three potential blog outlines on how team sports enhance student confidence.
Tools like Jasper AI allow you to enter your brand details in the main settings, so you don't have to repeat the process over and over as you do with ChatGPT. However, Jasper and other similar tools are quite complex, and at IMPACT, we've found the results are more authentic when we tap directly into ChatGPT. We continue to explore solutions to simplify the process rather than complicate it!
Using ChatGPT as a tool for idea generation can help shake you and your team into thinking outside of the box - from what you've always done - while keeping the humans in the mix will ensure you maintain the integrity and quality of the brand.
The Risks and Pitfalls of Using AI for Independent School Brand Messages
While AI holds potential, it's crucial to approach it with caution. One of the primary risks of using AI in marketing is the potential to dilute your brand identity. Independent schools pride themselves on their unique offerings and culture, and a heavy reliance on AI could lead to generic, impersonal messages that fail to convey these distinguishing features.
Another pitfall is the risk of giving AI more credit than it deserves. While you may ask ChatGPT to provide frequently used keywords, ChatGPT is not an authority on search terms. However, it will provide you with a list! Additionally, the information provided by ChatGPT is at least two years old. Advice on best practices on anything is, at best, helpful and, at worst, outdated and harmful.
Finally, we understand how demanding marketing, communications, and admissions roles are at schools. It can be tempting to depend too much on AI for content provision when time and energy are at a premium. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, AI is not savvy enough to fill the content writing position at your school.
The Future of AI in Independent School Marketing
Looking ahead, the role of AI in independent school marketing will likely expand. We can expect more sophisticated personalization, predictive analytics, and automation. Schools will increasingly use AI to enhance their brand messages, engage prospects, and measure campaign performance. Remember, AI is not a silver bullet. It's a tool that, when used effectively, can enhance your school's brand messages and marketing strategies. But it's also a tool that requires careful management, ethical usage, and human oversight. By understanding and managing the dual nature of AI, you can ensure it serves as a powerful ally in your school's marketing efforts.