The decision to redesign your school logo can be challenging. If your current visual identity has fostered support from alumni, parents, or administration, there is always a nagging fear of backlash when considering a change. Including school community members in your final visual identity decisions could help prevent some headaches, but how do you know for sure if a focus group will be beneficial to your process? Read on to determine if conducting a focus group could help your team…

Team, Assemble!

Once you’ve narrowed down options for your new visual identity, assembling a strong focus group to assess your work could be a wise decision. However, in doing so, be sure to keep it a relatively small group. Too many voices may lead to confusion. Your focus group should be comprised of:

  1. People who are active in your school community
  2. Parents who embody the characterizations of prospective parents you hope to attract
  3. A relatively diverse group (age, gender, background, etc.)
  4. Important community members who may not be sold on the idea of a redesign
  5. Influential alumni

Keep The Secrets

When putting this all-star focus group together, consider using a non-disclosure agreement. Make it known to the group that they may not share any of the materials or information outside of the meeting. By setting strict policies during the meeting, you increase the importance of upholding your school’s story in the community.

The Process

  1. Assemble your focus group together in a room equipped with everything you need for the presentation.
  2. If you are unsure the best way to present to your focus group, consult with your design team for assistance.
  3. Choose a speaker from your team who speaks well in front of groups, is a good facilitator, and who has a great poker face. This person should remain neutral through all discussions.
  4. Begin the meeting by reminding the group of your school’s mission. It will set the tone for the goals your redesign needs to achieve.
  5. Ask all focus group members to hold their comments until you have finished presenting the identity options.
  6. The group facilitator will present all of the designs without divulging the details of how you got to the final options. This is very important since your identity will have to speak for itself once it’s published.
  7. Once everything has been presented, the facilitator should ask questions that warrant discussion. (e.g. Which elements appeal to our prospective families?) Choose someone to record comments by taking notes or recording audio.
  8. In the face of comments like, “I don’t like that color,” the facilitator should ask for further details to gather concrete reasons these reactions.

Making Sense of the Comments

Once your focus group has left the room, the coffee is gone, and the bagels are eaten, it’s your job to make sense of their responses. Consider who the feedback came from and how it aligns with your goals. For instance, if you are creating a new athletic identity, students or parents included in the group may have had the most pertinent feedback since they’re the ones going to the games and buying the merchandise.

You Got This

You can’t make everyone happy all the time, but you can do your best to appeal to the majority. If your team chooses an identity based on the ideals on which your community thrives, rest assured you’re making the right decision.

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