Alabaster schools building new ‘district brand’
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
From the moment a person pulls up the Alabaster City Schools website or views the district’s logo, they are forming an opinion about the quality of the school system’s education, a marketing company representative told Alabaster School Board members on June 19.
“Those first impressions are critical for school districts, especially a new district like Alabaster,” Roger Ellenburg with the 02 Ideas marketing firm told the Alabaster School Board members during a June 19 work session. “Every touch point of Alabaster schools is reflective of your brand, whether you want it to be or not.”
During the work session, Ellenburg and fellow 02 Ideas representative Bill Todd explained the importance of Alabaster City Schools developing an effective brand. Like companies such as Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A, Alabaster City Schools’ brand image must reflect the system’s goals, Todd said.
“What you’re selling is promise, hope and potential. We’ve got to sell confidence in Alabaster schools,” Todd said. “You’ve only got one chance to say hello. You’ve only got one chance to get your message across, and then that chance is gone.”
The Alabaster School Board agreed to hire O2 Ideas during its June 17 meeting to help the upstart school district develop everything from a website to a logo. The district currently is operating with a temporary website and logo at Alabasterschools.org.
Incoming Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said he would like to have the new brand image in place before classes begin in August.
“We are through talking. We are ready to get down and make this happen. We don’t have the luxury of a lot of time,” Vickers said. “We need a brand, because we’ve got letters we need to send out with our new letterhead.”
Todd said Vickers and Alabaster School Board members are planning to meet with teachers and administrators for a “brand workshop” to lay out ideas for the district’s brand identity before July 4. After the workshop, the district likely will unveil several logo options “in about three or four weeks” to gather public input.
“We respect (Thompson High School) and the tradition there. We are not looking to change any of that,” Vickers said. “We want it to all connect back to our district identity.”