St. John’s Episcopal School

Project Description

Background
  • Pre-K to Grade 8, coeducational day school located in East Dallas, Texas.
Challenge
  • Soft enrollment in a growing area of Dallas with fervent loyalty to public schools.
  • Reputation as a “sweet neighborhood school” belied the school’s strong academic program.
  • Many in the internal community liked the unassuming idea of being “the best-kept secret” and feared losing their mission to an inauthentic “brand.”
Approach
  • Conducted internal focus groups and interviews with leadership, trustees, faculty, staff, and current families to better understand the school’s strengths, opportunities, and concerns.
  • Conducted in-depth interviews with target prospective families to identify primary motivations for considering independent school and their perceptions of St. John’s and its competitors.
  • Conducted interviews with feeder schools, placement schools, and families who were accepted but chose to go elsewhere.
  • Discovered that while academic strength was important, prospective families did not value a rigor-at-all-costs philosophy. But a “balanced education” felt too wishy washy.
  • Created five possible brand positioning concepts.
  • With the school’s project team, chose three concepts to test with prospective families.
  • Presented the winning brand positioning concept to the project team with three new Supportive Messages.
  • To turbo-charge word-of-mouth marketing, conducted Message Training with leadership, admissions, advancement, parent ambassadors, and faculty to craft a natural and personal way to infuse the positioning and messages into everyday interactions.
  • Developed a new tagline: “The love of knowledge. The courage to use it.”
  • Provided implementation guidance to St. John’s director of marketing while working with a local design firm to produce a new website.
Results
  • Greater awareness and clarity in the market.
  • Increased inquiries and a greater percentage of best-fit families year over year.
  • A more engaged pool of prospective families.
  • A more confident and energized internal community who felt that they finally had the right words to convey the special place that St. John’s is.
Want even more insight?

Listen to our podcast interview with Liz Hamilton, director of marketing and communications at St. John’s School.  Liz talks more about the work the school did with EdwardsCo and enrollment results.

Project Details

Client: St. John's Episcopal School, Dallas, Texas

Tags: Brand Strategy, Copywriting, Execution, Message Training

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