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How To Turn A New Brand Into a Fresh Admissions Campaign

Posted by on September 3rd, 2015
Posted in Blog, Independent Schools, Nonprofit Branding   

Being crystal clear on the brand of your school—that single big, differentiating idea that you want to be known by—is how smart schools create an admissions campaign that excites everyone from faculty to would-be families.

No longer just a printed view book, today’s admissions campaigns include a well-conceived suite of communications that powerfully signal to students and their families what’s truly special about a school. The best admissions tools give prospective families a peek at the experience of being a part of the school community. What does your school, and yours alone, offer your students and how does it feel to be one of those students?

If you’re still cramming a list all of your school’s features, programs, clubs, and classes into a printed brochure, you’re missing an opportunity to help families gain a clear understanding about what truly makes your school unlike any other.

See how two very different high schools, both in the San Francisco Bay Area, leveraged their unique brands to create new admissions campaigns that powerfully signal to students what to expect from the experience of being a student there. Can you feel the difference?

Marin Academy

MA_logo_RGB_300pxMarin Academy was founded with a distinctly progressive vision of education. A community of life long-learners, MA (as it is lovingly known) believes educational excellence should push the boundaries of what is known today to prepare students for a world we can’t even imagine tomorrow.

Because Marin Academy aims to stimulate and stretch all the facets of a young mind, they believe that everything is a question. MA’s new suite of admission materials balances the school’s dedication to academic excellence with their happy, joyful environment. Each piece invites the reader to think, question, and even create as they consider what MA may have to offer—mirroring the school’s educational approach.

Take a look at this search piece.


A school that stretches boundaries shouldn’t hand out a traditional brochure or postcard at high school fairs. So we designed a fortune teller that unfolds and mirrors what being in class feels like…a series of questions that leads to provocative contemplation. Take a look at the whole admissions campaign here, and hear MA’s thoughts on our collaboration in the video below.

“From my perspective as head of school, I’ve learned that to understand one’s brand is actually to fully understand and embrace one’s self.”Travis Brownley Head of School, Marin Academy

Explore the Drew Dynamic

drew_logoDrew School believes in teenagers. That’s why they’ve created a school community that challenges the traditional definition of success and celebrates achievement one student at a time.

For Drew, believing in teenagers means allowing high school to be among the best years of a student’s life—not just a race to college. As part of their teenage experience, Drew students are encouraged to explore and experiment with new ideas, interests, and definitions of themselves. Drew students develop into fascinating individuals who are sought after by colleges, and who know themselves well when they step out into the world.

Look how this video helps students feel what it might really be like to go to high school here, while reinforcing the dynamism of Drew. You can also view the entire admissions campaign here.

What’s your school’s brand and how will you bring it to life for families this admissions season? Please explore our free resources, including our new guide for school websites, to help your school this admissions season.


Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.

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