Go fight songs! Go! Go! Go!
Can you think of a fight song of any of the schools you attended? For me, the first one that comes to mind is my elementary school's. Ours was so good that when we gathered at my high school reunion a couple years ago, do you know the one fight song we all remembered and sang? Yep, the one from elementary school! This got me thinking...school fight songs are fun to sing, and they certainly feel good to sing, so is a school fight song a helpful marketing tool? In other words, should schools purposefully create and introduce fight songs to further their recruitment and/or retention efforts?
Good for your School
The answer is YES, go for it, if you've got the time and desire. This shouldn't be your number one priority, but it's a nice extra. Having a fight song is a great idea for recruitment-related marketing. If your school is performing somewhere, you have a wonderful song at the ready that your students enjoy singing. It showcases the school's personality and naturally encourages the students show their school pride, which isn't the case with all songs.
It's also great for retention. I can't find any specific research on the benefits of fight songs (please enlighten me if you know of any!) but anecdotally, we know that singing fight songs makes us feel good. We feel enthusiasm and hope, we feel pride and we feel like we belong. Those are all good feelings we want our students to feel. Students who feel this way have got to be less likely to leave, right?
If you have a fight song, use it! Make sure every student knows it and use it a lot! If you don't have a fight song, see about getting one. This is a nice, discreet item to delegate...probably to someone otherwise less-involved with marketing your school. Talk to your music teacher, band or strings teachers, district music department chair, et al., until you find out how your school can get one, as in who can create one, any parameters, etc. Of course consider the message and your school's brand. If permissible and desirable, perhaps a parent volunteer could help. Did you send out a skills audit at the beginning of the year?
When to Use it
Once you have your fight song and the kids all know it (not just your chorus or music groups), use it! Sing it at assemblies, field day, athletic events, fundraisers, spirit Fridays, etc. This is a fun way to build school spirit and connections to the school. It's also great to sing at events where your alumni may be present.
Having a fight song for students always at the ready is smart from a practical standpoint as sometimes schools are asked to do events at the last minute. Whether it's a remote TV broadcast, performing during halftime at a nearby high school basketball game or a local parade, you'll be prepared. It'd be even better to make sure the student body learns a couple of different songs. Why?
Having a go-to song just makes school marketing sense. Less last-minute scrambling = better image/performance and less stress for organizers. Besides, performing these songs is great for retention, which is great for your school. Every little bit helps. It's also fun for alumni to sing at their reunions!