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Case Study: Northern Leaders Trust  

Introduction 

Northern Leaders Trust is a multi-academy trust based in Newcastle upon Tyne. It operates two schools: Studio West (Secondary School) and Kenton School (Secondary School and Sixth Form). As the most experienced regional marketing and communications consultancy in the education sector, we were brought in to completely reposition the Trust, following the arrival of a new senior management team, from the CEO downwards.

  

The project 

When several of our long-term education sector contacts took over the Kenton Schools Academy Trust, they were looking for marketing support to reposition themselves in the local public eye. We were tasked with completely re-branding and repositioning the Trust with a new name, a new team, a new vision and ambitious aspirations.

Services provided

We provided 360-marketing support including re-brand; three new websites; digital; student recruitment campaign; staff recruitment campaign; community outreach; and school prospectus design and creation.

Our approach  

The work was undertaken rapidly at the outset, beginning at the start of 2022. We were working from a brief to increase student numbers through a campaign which started in March 2022. The aim was to spark the interest of any unallocated students, who would be looking for a school in September of that year. 

 

A workflow plan was produced, which began with a re-brand. So that our designer had a structure to work from, we also developed a communications matrix, which allowed us to get a complete understanding of the Trust’s visions, values and aims, to create a cohesive marketing strategy. In order to do justice to the multitude of projects we tackled within this timeframe, we would need to produce a case study on each element of them, however, throughout this case study, we have highlighted the key parts of this project.  

We successfully hit the deadline of introducing the new name and new brand into the market by March, which included the following work from mid-January – April 2022: 

  

  • Redesign of the branding with a communications matrix and new names/straplines 

  • The launch of the new name/new brand internally and externally 

  • Ongoing work to update the websites for Studio West and Kenton School, as well as the overarching corporate website, while the new sites were being developed in the background 

  • Development of three new websites and extensive photography for use on them 

  • Development and implementation of a digital marketing campaign to increase student numbers, using geo-locational targeting 

  • A complete overhaul and rebrand of the existing social media channels 

  • Poster campaign at Metro stations and advertorial within regional business magazines 

 

From our perspective  

This work built on our extensive experience of working within the education sector, which allowed us to swiftly progress the task at hand. Although many aspects of education marketing are similar to mainstream business marketing, the main differences stem from contrasts in attitudes between parents/carers, the political landscape, the community outlook, and the regional media. There is also added stress of being an accountable public sector body which is responsible for school improvement. This makes dealing with school marketing a very challenging environment to work in, against a backdrop of potential Ofsted inspections at any moment. We drew on our experience of working in challenging circumstances, and created a rebrand that we, and the client, are extremely pleased with.  

 

The Results 

  • The rebrand is now very much established and the new name was adopted seamlessly by all.  The new website was built by a company that was subcontracted by the CEO, which included SEO-focused text, images and graphics provided by Clothier Lacey. The website launch is proving to be a success.

 

  • We conducted a review of the project and found that student numbers went up in September 2022. We also produced high-quality A-Level and GCSE results day videos just before the start of the 22/23 academic year, which get a lot of engagement from the local community. Although we cannot measure the impact that these videos had on student uptake, it is likely that they contributed.  

 

  • Our marketing and communications work for Northern Leaders Trust continued with the launch of the Community Champions Awards Programme, which highlights, recognises and showcases excellent examples of community achievements by students across Newcastle upon Tyne. The awards attracted a lot of interest when we launched them in February 2023, and we are currently working on the 2024 awards programme. 

  • The Trust is gaining community trust and attention, due to its outlook and objectives, and the numbers of students are continuously increasing at Kenton School. There are very few places available at Studio West, proving the success of our student recruitment campaign.  

 

If you are looking for marketing and communications support for your school, Multi Academy Trust, or educational body, we are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your goals. We can make them happen.  

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