-Coca-Cola marketing executive Sergio Zyman
I have run across this Sergio Zyman quote several times throughout my career in design, production, and marketing, and it rings as true today as ever. Who is Sergio Zyman? He’s the marketing executive behind “New Coke”, a product which is widely considered one of the greatest marketing blunders of all time. So why am I quoting him? Because he’s also had a lot of marketing successes at CocaCola, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Fruitopia, not to mention his own consulting firm which he sold for about $60 million. All because he was willing to take risks.
If you spend enough time looking at websites for international schools—really, any private schools—you might start to feel like each message just blends into the next one. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the fact that all great schools value things like academic excellence, well-rounded education, a sense of service, etc. But as the pool of international schools grows—and it is growing, fast—competition rears its head. That’s when these messages no longer serve as marketing tools, and differentiation becomes key. What must be emphasized is what makes your particular school unique? What advantages does it have over the competition? Why is it a better fit for a particular student or family?
You can’t sell sameness. At SSIS we have embraced this concept head-on, and we have resisted that “safe zone” of messaging that so closely parallels that of our peers. That “sameness”. We sat down and took a long hard look at our campus, our student profile, and our academic offerings, and we identified our unique qualities that no other school in the area can offer. Below you’ll see some of the marketing pieces I’ve developed to cast light on those special traits.
A Not for Profit School
SSIS is completely not-for-profit. See why that’s such a special thing:
We are lucky to live in what is probably the greenest, safest area in Ho Chi Minh City. In this video, Tanya, one of our very own parents takes us around Phu My Hung:
SSIS sits on a huge, 6-hectare campus in Phu My Hung. Explore the campus using this 360-degree VR tour:
Apple Distinguished School
SSIS is now the first and only Apple Distinguished School in Vietnam. Here’s how we got there:
Elementary School: Inquiry-based Learning
Check out how our Elementary School uses SuperUnits at the core of everything they do:
High School: Both AP and IB Offerings
SSIS graduates have had the choice of following the IB Diploma Program or AP Coursework:
School-wide: Experiential Learning Opportunities
Our students travel both within Vietnam and internationally to work on service projects and team-building/leadership skills:
There are a lot of great schools out there. There are a lot of great schools in Southeast Asia; even right here in Vietnam! But in no way is this a “saturated market”. The truth is, there is something for everyone. So in an age of heightened competition, as well as genuine diversity among schools, it only makes sense for honest marketers to point out the real differences that make us special. That is exactly what SSIS is striving to do.