How Custom Apparel Can Help Build School Identity – And Generate Revenue
Posted on 11 September 2023
Whether it's when students wear school uniforms, team jerseys, or branded merch, they showcase their school pride and commitment to the school's identity and values. Custom-branded school apparel creates an emotional connection, making them feel part of something larger than themselves and unifying students from various backgrounds under a common banner of school pride, promoting an inclusive team environment.
As one of Canada's leading suppliers of top-quality custom screen-printed and embroidered apparel, R & P Prints has partnered with educational institutions for decades to help them create on-trend school uniforms, team jerseys, custom t-shirts for schools, embroidered polos for staff and parents, branded baseball caps, and more.
Branded merch plays a significant role in fostering, and spreading, school spirit and identity, which can go a long way in recruiting new students. It's also a proven method for generating much-needed revenue.
The Power of School Spirit
School spirit gives a school energy through the collective pride and sense of belonging experienced by staff and students. It goes beyond mascots, school colours, and pep rallies; it impacts student engagement, motivation, academic performance, and lays the foundation for a close-knit school community — which is especially vital for colleges and universities with multiple, expansive campuses and departments.
When students feel connected to their school, they are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities, encourage their peers, take ownership of their education, and spread positive word of mouth about their school.
Teachers and support staff also benefit from a healthy school spirit as it contributes to a positive work environment that bolsters their morale and dedication. Apparel custom-branded with creative, stylish designs acts as a visible symbol of this spirit, and can become a necessary addition to any back-to-school wardrobe.
The Role of Identity in School Spirit
A school's identity combines its core values, traditions, and unique attributes. This identity is fundamental in nurturing a strong sense of pride and belonging among students and faculty.
Educational institutions are often steeped in tradition with mottos that lay the foundation for their identities. However, like mission statements, they provide guiding principles that inform operational and strategic decisions. A school's identity, to a limited degree, must evolve as it anticipates the future of work whilst also engaging current and coming student bodies.
And this is where branded apparel comes in. It's one of the easiest ways to communicate and propagate your school identity in a tangible way – one that also creates a much-needed revenue stream. As an added bonus, having students design a t-shirt, hoodie, baseball cap, etc., creates even more engagement and pride, and maybe a better idea for designing apparel aimed at students and prospective students.
How Custom Apparel Can Play a Role in Increasing School Enrolment
While custom apparel by itself can't make staff and students proud of their school or be the reason for prospective instructors and students to choose one school over another, it is a powerful marketing tool.
Whether we're buying a home, a car, a phone, or even lunch, despite all the research and logic that goes into making an informed choice, purchases are often an emotional decision. As part of an effective marketing campaign, your branded t-shirts, caps, jackets, tote bags, etc., should resonate with the many personas you're targetting, leaving a lasting impression that impacts their decision in favour of your school.
Here are a few other examples of how branded merch provided by a professional custom screen printing service can help your recruiting efforts:
- Visual Identity: Custom apparel creates a strong, recognizable visual identity for educational institutions. When students and faculty proudly wear hoodies or polos bearing the school's logo, colours, and name, it creates a sense of community and belonging. This can make a lasting impression on prospective students and their families.
- School Pride: Custom apparel fosters a sense of school pride and unity among the existing student body. As students exhibit enthusiasm for their school by wearing custom clothing, this positivity becomes contagious. Potential students are more likely to be drawn to institutions where they see a vibrant and engaged community.
- Marketing: Custom apparel acts as a walking advertisement. When students wear branded clothing off-campus, they market the school. This passive form of marketing increases the institution's visibility, sparking curiosity and interest among those who come across it.
- Open Houses and Events: During events like open houses, orientations, and tours, prospective students are more likely to associate the school with credibility and dedication when staff and current students wear professionally designed, fashion-forward branded apparel.
Generating Revenue With Branded Merch
- Retail Opportunities: By offering apparel and accessories custom printed and embroidered with school logos, insignias, crests, etc., for sale to students, alumni, and the wider community, institutions can create a steady revenue stream. Branded t-shirts, hats, and accessories can become popular choices for those looking to show support for the school.
- Fundraising Initiatives: Custom apparel is an effective tool for fundraising campaigns. Schools can design limited-edition apparel for specific events or causes. The exclusivity of these designs can drive demand, resulting in increased sales and revenue. A portion of the proceeds can then be directed toward fundraising goals.
- Alumni Engagement: Custom apparel serves as a bridge between the institution and its alumni. Schools can offer alumni-exclusive apparel that triggers nostalgia and a sense of belonging. This not only fosters strong alumni relationships but also generates revenue as former students purchase these items.
- Partnerships and Collaborations: Schools can collaborate with local businesses and artists to create custom apparel collections. These collaborations not only provide unique and attractive designs but also open up revenue-sharing opportunities between the school and its partners.
- Event Merchandising: Sporting events, concerts, and other school-related activities can be monetized through custom apparel. Offering event-specific designs encourages attendees to purchase memorabilia, thereby boosting revenue while also creating lasting mementos.
- Online Stores: Establishing an online store for custom apparel and accessories widens the potential customer base. Parents, alumni, and supporters from different locations can access and purchase school-branded items, contributing to revenue growth.
The bottom line is every school needs branded apparel as a way to market itself, bolster school pride, and create a revenue stream. Take a look through our catalogue of products and imagine the possibilities!