5 lessons the Chewbacca Lady can teach your school about marketing

Candace Payne’s hysterical viral video, “It’s the simple joys in life…”, recently put Candace on the social media map as the “Happy Chewbacca Lady“. If you haven’t seen the video, you have to stop what you are doing and take 4 minutes and get ready to laugh!

Watch the video on Candace Payne’s Facebook Page or catch it on Reddit.

Naturally, I think many schools may look at a video like this and immediately long for their own “viral video”. The concept of “creating a viral video” is almost impossible, because the true viral test is determined by the reaction of your audience. So stop trying the produce the next trending video and learn some important lessons from the Chewbacca lady. Here are 5 lessons that I think that every school should take away and implement in your marketing every day:

  • SIMPLE JOYS – Everyone needs to laugh! As Candace says in the video and every subsequent interview she has had on GMA or The Today Show, it is important for us to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously. Schools are notoriously stale on social media. Have some fun and showcase the lighter side of life at your school. Many of you will remember the fun that the Durham Academy administrator’s had with a snow day announcement back in 2014!
  • REAL-TIME – It appears that Candace’s video was truly unplanned and a great example of real-time, spontaneous authenticity. There are moments at your school where something happens during morning announcements, during your weekly chapel time or on the court that you want everyone to see. The lesson is to always have your smartphone on and ready to capture the moment so you can share it with the world (including your prospective parent audience!)
  • EVIDENCE – For years, I have told my Christian school clients that they cannot just “talk” about what makes them great, but they have to be able to “showcase evidence” of the marketing claims they make. Candace’s demonstration of the Chewbacca mask is the genius of this video and it is mixed with the contagious emotion of Candace. Emotional videos (tears or laughter) provide the platform to showcase the fruit that your school produces. Thus, video testimonials from parents are great examples of capturing evidence and emotion together in one piece of content. Here are 5 important things your school’s content should do well!
  • REPURPOSE – The initial “Chewbacca Lady” video has been viewed millions of times and shared all over every social media channel imaginable. But the marketing lesson is what happens after the video. Think of all the interviews Candace has already done or will do in the coming days and weeks. Learn to repurpose your own great content, recycle it, and extend the life span of your content by giving your audience multiple ways to watch it over and over. If you have a good online review come in from GreatSchools.org, then repurpose it and make a new blog post out of it, post it as an image on Instagram or paste the testimonial alongside your tuition to put your school’s price tag in context of the value parents receive. Learn more about reducing parental “sticker shock”.
  • RESPONSE – Candace mentions in the beginning of the video that she found the Chewbacca mask at Kohl’s department store. Then later in the video she reveals that she is not buying the mask for her kids, but keeping it for herself! Well, within hours of the original video going viral, Kohl’s responds and shows up at Candace’s house with masks (and more) for her kids, too! This is a great example of how an organization must stay aware of what is being said about them online. You can create a social media listening station through Hootsuite, systematically check for new online reviews every couple of days, or be aware from your parent ambassador group about what other parents or students are saying about you on various social media channels. When it is appropriate, you can comment on the Instagram post about your school, you can respond professionally to the online review, or you might just show up at someone’s house with a basket full of your school’s spirit wear!

While every organization wishes for a viral video to put them on the map, consistently strong enrollment marketing is more than just one moment in the social media limelight. Smart enrollment marketing is a customized system that is paired with an effective marketing strategy and the right marketing tactics for your school.

We provide customized marketing systems for Christian schools through 2 different ways:

  1. Our year-long “9-Steps to Marketing Your Christian School” or
  2. Our accelerated “Enrollment Marketing Roadmap

Whichever way works best, we would love to help you develop a customized marketing system that is right for your school!

Click here for a free 30-minute phone consultation with Randy!

Randy Vaughn, Christian School Marketing Consutant

Randy Vaughn, Christian School Marketing Consultant