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Preschool Brand Awareness or Brand Degradation: The Story of Betty

Have you heard about brand awareness or degradation? Essentially, these terms contradict one another. Brand awareness, as the name suggests, is the degree to which consumers are familiar with a brand and its associated products or services. On the other hand, brand degradation refers to the decline in the perception or reputation of a brand over a period of time. To better explain these terms along with other factors such as the negative impact that relying solely on paid ads has on your brand, perhaps it is wise to understand it from a real point of view. This is Betty’s story.

Betty is a millennial and a very modern young middle-class mom who had her first baby a few months ago. She has been enjoying her time with her baby girl Tessa, and is not worried about looking for schools at the moment. During her breaks from being a full-time mother, she enjoys grabbing her phone and scrolling through Instagram, as she follows several “momfluencers” and loves to learn new tips and tricks about motherhood. However, Betty has been bombarded by social media-targeted ads from the daycare around the corner and this annoys her very much.

“Can I have one day where I don’t get these annoying ads?”, she says out loud. In her mind, she wonders if perhaps it’s because of her location and the fact that she just had a baby. She stops and thinks that as time goes by Tessa will grow and therefore need to attend a preschool. Nonetheless, she has no intention of even considering the nearby daycare. Although the daycare’s owner probably believes he is attracting new parents with expensive social media ads, the truth is that many parents perceive this “brand awareness” approach as desperate, unattractive, and even unreliable.

A few months later, Betty decides to enroll baby Tessa in a Pre-K1 program. As this is an important decision, she takes her time to browse a decent pre-k option near her area. She has still been seeing the same ad from that daycare, and can’t help but think, “They’re still pushing this! How bad can this place be? Seems to me they’re desperately in need of getting some students.” Ironically, when searching online the daycare is nowhere to be found.

Drawn back to her search, Betty selects from the first few that look reputable on search results. She checks their reviews, visits their websites, and opens their social media profiles (making sure to discard anything that looks “fake” or “fabricated” like the branded ads with graphics). As the mother of a toddler, she is filtering and looking deep into options that look real, to see the school and environment, if the children look happy, if the photos are recent, and if there are any negative comments. After some time, she decides to call the two best ones she prescreened from the first few schools.

“Hello! I wanted to book a tour of your school”, was a great achievement for the preschool, especially because after that, Betty decided to enroll Tessa. Mrs. Owens, the school principal and owner, was thrilled to receive yet another new parent who will probably stay with them for an average of 4 years. In the school’s monthly business meeting, she recalls that thanks to SEO efforts and having a great online ranking in search engines, many leads end up enrolling their child in preschool. Meanwhile, the daycare in the corner keeps investing (or perhaps spending) money on Instagram with flashy ads targetting Betty, without a clue that who they thought would be a potential new client is now getting tired of their ads and one click away from blocking them.

The moral of the story; sometimes, just having ads for “brand awareness” accomplishes exactly the opposite. It tells the audience how desperate an institution is, affecting its sales. Remember that as the first step in the customer journey, brand awareness can have a significant impact on acquiring new customers. Therefore, having a website with current information, a social media page with real and recent photos, and a good ranking on search engines can definitely make your school get leads that turn into long-term parents like Betty!