What makes your school unique? What drives parents to choose your institution over other options in your region? Which factors contribute the most in a prospective families’ decision-making process? And what benefits keep existing families returning year after year?
As an admissions and enrollment professional who regularly engages with current and prospective families, you have more insight into these questions than any other employee in your school. But it’s not always easy to translate conversations and observations into a concrete strategy.
And that’s where a FAB analysis comes in handy.
Today we’re delving into this tried-and-true marketing and sales model, and how you can use a FAB analysis to highlight what’s best about your school in a way that resonates most with the families you serve.
What is a FAB analysis?
FAB stands for Features, Advantages, and Benefits. FAB is a model businesses use to understand why someone buys their product or service, and then align their sales and marketing tactics to those reasons. When it comes to admissions and enrollment, you can use a FAB analysis to identify your ideal families’ needs and discover how to position your school accordingly.
Let’s break down each element:
Your school’s features are the attributes or characteristics your school offers its students — such as extracurricular activities, cutting edge technology, or campus infrastructure. In most cases, it’s pretty easy to rattle off features. (As an admissions and enrollment leader, you probably know them by heart.)
Advantages refer to what each feature does and how it meets specific needs. It shows families why they should care about your school’s features.
Benefits are the long-term results of the advantages and, ultimately, what drives families to choose your school. It tells parents what they’ll gain from sending their child to your institution.
Now, let’s look at an example of what a private or independent school’s FAB analysis might look like:
- Features: Our school offers small class sizes, a state-of-the-art STEM lab, and a school garden.
- Advantages: Our small class sizes mean each student receives individualized attention, while our state-of-the-art STEM lab supports students interested in pursuing further education and/or careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. The school garden gives each student an opportunity to learn essential horticultural skills while contributing to the school’s garden-to-table lunch program.
- Benefits: When students receive individualized attention, they’re more likely to thrive, earn higher-than-average grades, and perform better on standardized tests. Access to a STEM lab gives students the foundational education they need to earn a spot in competitive post-secondary programs. Participating in the school’s community garden program helps students better understand how food is grown and harvested. That in turn sets them up to make better nutritional choices for the rest of their lives.
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How does a FAB analysis benefit my school’s brand?
Completing a FAB analysis gives you and your team a clearer understanding of what sets your school apart from the perspective of current and prospective students and their families. But while that’s certainly useful information, you’re probably wondering: what do I do with this?
Here’s how a FAB analysis can help your school meet its enrollment and retention goals:
1. You can use the learnings to help “sell” your school
Instead of focusing on features, you can hone in on the key benefits you know matter most to families considering your school. For example, if you know a student is interested in soccer, you won’t merely mention you have a new soccer field. Instead, you can explain why training at your school’s brand new facility will help them excel and better prepare them for collegiate-level sports.
2. It helps create better brand messaging (and overall marketing)
Many schools list their features throughout their website, brochures, and other marketing materials. But when your school addresses specific benefits in its messaging, you’re more likely to win over families’ hearts and minds by helping them envision what their child’s life will be like when they attend your school. Additionally, thinking through benefits can also help you elevate your value proposition, and ensure it adequately reflects the experience you provide.
3. It supports cross-departmental alignment around school branding
Sharing your FAB analysis across the school will ensure all faculty and staff use the same language and messages to describe your school when engaging with current and prospective students and their families. It helps ensure brand cohesion across your school.
Your school’s features aren’t what drive families to enroll — it’s the benefits those features afford your students. Taking time to identify critical advantages and benefits will help you lead more fruitful and engaging discussions with prospects and remind existing students’ families why your school surpasses other options. The more you focus on outcomes, the more likely you’ll meet your enrollment goals and retain students long-term.
Learn more about positioning your school and honing in on your messaging in ch. 5 of our Admissions Refresh Ebook.
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