What Are Full-Valet Communications?
An academy school, like any school, has one core function where competence cannot be compromised: producing high-achieving young adults. While a communications strategy is an important tool in that enterprise, it is only a support mechanism - a means for achieving the all-important end.
Academies often put a lot of high-powered effort into converting nebulous intention into effective communication, using management time and money as surrogates for effective planning. It would be great if Academies could instead rely on experts in the particular communication products and methods they need to use - but where are those experts? Communications Managers employed by Academies do not usually come from school backgrounds; they know the principles of communication, but not the specifics of how a school works. Educational Managers are often no better at understanding the specific needs of Academies: they know how to manage the communications for a standard school, but the needs of Academies are wider and more diverse.
A full-valet service would relieve the Academy of most of the non-core tasks of producing communication products, and it would leave them able to concentrate on the core task of producing communication content. Who, though, is in a position to offer such a service to Academy schools?
Some of the best producers of printed school materials (prospectuses, brochures, leaflets, stationery, etc) have a greater knowledge of the communication needs of Academies than the Academies themselves - they deal with a range of schools and they have useful experience of what is needed and when it is needed. Many already prompt their client schools about particular forthcoming communication requirements. These support organisations would seem to be ideally placed to provide a comprehensive communications package to Academy schools.
A full-valet service would mean that the production of diaries, prospectuses, handbooks, yearbooks, leaflets, banners, stationery, even newsletters, could become a semi-automatic process for the Academy. The printer would track the production calendar for the Academy, it would tell the Academy when it should start working on each project, it would initiate discussions about design, it would set schedules for the production of content, and it would ensure that communications are timely and to specification - in short, it would become the expert on communications production. It is very likely that, because of economies of scale, one of the larger printers could provide this service more cheaply than the Academies themselves can manage, creating a win-win situation.
It is therefore worth talking to your printer partners to see if they are interested in providing a full valet solution. You may find that their solution is cheaper and more effective.
An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
Edward de Bono
The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things--the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
Charles Grosvenor Osgood
An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.
Werner Karl Heisenberg