Adding Layers to Preschool Marketing with Storytelling: A Hero’s Journey

In 1949 Joseph Campbell published a work comparing mythologies from around the world and across time. Roman, Native American, Greek, Norse, Japanese; regardless of origin, many of the stories followed a similar structure. Campbell book was titled “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and depicted a framework called a Hero’s Journey.

Many famous Hollywood movies (ex. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings), including most Disney cartoons (ex. Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, Beauty & The Beast, and more!), follow the same Hero’s Journey structure.

You can also find the Hero’s Journey used in many TV ads, such as Mr. Clean, Tide, Pepsi, and Apple.

Below is a map of the Hero’s Journey that we will use for reference:

There are entire courses to understand the mechanics of how and why it works. 

Here are the relevant pieces for you: 

    • You / your center are NOT the hero of your marketing story.
    • The PARENT is the hero.
    • You are the MENTOR/GUIDE.

Let’s walk through how this would work for you:

  1. A parent (the hero!) receives a call to adventure (parent, do you realize the value of ECE?)
  2. The parent ignores the message (there are many dozens more references we push in front of them).
  3. Parent finally starts paying attention (by engaging with your content)
  4. Your Facebook/Instagram/Google accounts act as the mentor/guide. You’re now shifting them from daycare (ordinary world) to a special world (childcare/preschool).

Every parent is different. Some are convinced already that ECE is important, others need a little coxing as they sit on the fence. Some have grandparents telling them to not waste their money, and others have family members who’d judge them for leaving their child’s care to a stranger.

Your job as the MENTOR/GUIDE is to help the parent through the journey.

For some parents your ads just need to let them know you exist as a viable option (you’re a hidden gem they didn’t know existed). For others it’s convincing them why you should be their top choice. And some need a lot more convincing and need to go through the whole “ordeal” of battling their in-laws, or their own mom-guilt, and you’re there to guide them along the way.

That’s why you need ads beyond “hey we exist, here’s an offer” or “we’re awesome, you’re awesome, come check us out!” These classic ads are great, but they only hit upon ONE type of parent on ONE path of the parent’s hero journey.

At Grow Your Center we use a strategy called “Goodwill Hunting.” The Goodwill portion shares ideas, tips, and best practices, things that a MENTOR/GUIDE might share with a prospective parent. The Hunting content and ads consist of positioning your center’s unique selling points (USPs) – the things that make you the optimal choice.

Combined (Goodwill + Hunting), you have an outline of the Hero’s Journey. The PARENT is the center of attention, as we’re guiding them along and meeting them where they are at. Some are at the beginning of their journey, and some are far along and just need a nudge to get them over to your side.

Here’s one of our “secret” plans coming for 2022…we’re going to start making some of our Goodwill content more personalized and tell your origin story – how did you get into child care, and what motivates you on a day-to-day basis (effectively pushing the About Us section on your website through advertising).

The key thing to consider is that not everyone will care about your story – but some will – and adding another layer to your marketing hits upon those that do care, and those that do, will act.

Recruitment today is one of the biggest challenges you’re facing. Just remember, what attracts parents also attracts staff. People want to work for and with winners; a place they can be proud of, a place they sense does wonderful things and is in alignment with their values.

All of that is represented through your advertising and the content you push out with ad dollars.

Go forth and tell your story, inspire parents and staff to come to you, become the magnet in your community for exceptional, quality, premium child care and education.

Bruce W. Spurr
Co-Founder, Grow Your Center

WANT GROW YOU CENTER TO RECRUIT FOR YOU? We just launched our A+ Staff Recruitment Service so we can start pro-actively recruiting for you + complete the 1st round interview + provide a Predictive Index assessment and hand you qualified candidates on a silver platter! Book a call by visiting www.

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