Digital marketing and communications have quickly become the best tools for studios to showcase their culture and put their best foot forward. Websites, social media channels, email newsletters, texts, and more—lead with your culture and use these to build camaraderie among your past, current, and potential dance families.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines camaraderie as “a spirit of friendly good-fellowship,” and that is exactly why it should be top-of-mind in all your marketing efforts. Let’s explore how to tap into your studio’s camaraderie-factor in marketing and encourage increased loyalty and strong sales.
Get clear on culture
Messaging won’t be consistent without clarity of culture. A strong culture defines a studio’s persona, sets it apart from other studios, and helps attract clients who share similar values. A strong culture provides a strong point of view, which translates nicely into marketing and communications.
Almost accidentally, my studio color—orange—has become a huge part of our culture and brand. It started when I would say to students “we wear orange” anytime they needed encouragement. Then I kept finding ways to apply it. If a student complained about having to finish a school project, my response was, “Well, you wear orange; you can do it.” If a group of students put forth less effort in class I would say, “Let’s go! We wear orange!” It became like a battle cry. Soon my older students were encouraging younger students with the same phrase.
Everything in my studio is orange: walls, pens, aerial silks, t-shirts, studio gear—even the snacks we serve at open house. I cannot tell you the amount of times people say, “I can’t see the color orange without thinking of your studio.” For me, this is the highest compliment. Orange is everywhere–basically, it’s free marketing! It gives people joy and makes them smile.
When incorporating color into marketing, my advice is simple: be creative. While it’s not necessary to go to extremes like I have, leaning hard into color can be an effective strategy for brand awareness. Think about all that goes into branding in addition to color: tagline, values, mission, and vision. All of these pieces help build brand loyalty if they are consistently front-and-center in marketing.
Share videos and stories
Social media videos and stories have become increasingly popular, both with consumers and the platforms’ algorithms. With the pace of life and so many things out there fighting for our attention, these short, bite-sized clips fit perfectly into a busy day and a constantly-changing world.
What makes stories fun in particular is that they are short videos that only stay posted for 24 hours. Perfection isn’t necessary, but authenticity is. Stories can be used to show off what makes a studio unique and fun, in a unique and fun way! Viewers can see how teachers teach, get a peek into a class’ atmosphere, and understand the studio vibe. Studios with specific uniforms can show students wearing them, or show parents perusing a lobby information or announcement board–subliminally getting out messaging about studio expectations and programs.
Videos and stories of short performance clips, shout-outs of student recognition, or parent testimonials show how students are valued and appreciated, or parental pride in the studio. When it comes to videos and stories, creative posting possibilities are endless. Don’t be shy about it! Any idea is worth a try.
Email newsletters keep families up-to-date with the studio calendar, deadlines, and events—and all of these things can be communicated with a studio’s culture and brand in mind. (And yes, my newsletter includes a lot of orange outlines, headings, and graphics as well as plenty of “we wear orange” references!)
Newsletters are also a great place to celebrate student accomplishments, such as “student of the month” or achievements at school or in other activities. This demonstrates to families that the whole child, not just the “dancer,” is valued.
Remember, studio owners spend a lot of time crafting a mission statement, choosing core values, and developing branding. All that effort builds up students and creates an awesome learning experience–unreplicable accomplishments that make a studio special. Market in a way that involves and entertains the entire studio—staff, students, parents, alumni—and creates that spirit of friendly good-fellowship.