The most successful brand refresh efforts have a few things in common:

  1. Strong leadership
  2. A plan for cultivating a brand-centric culture

This year, we admired San Francisco Day School’s masterful rollout of their new brand strategy, which they launched with on-brand messages, a new visual identity and family-centric website. Our year-long partnership with them led to development of a new brand strategy, expressed in the brand promise, where intellect and imagination intertwine.

When SF Day introduced their new brand, their community rallied around them and embraced the change. In just a short time, students, family, and faculty had adopted the new logo as if it had always been there, and their key messages became sound bites that took hold in the common vernacular.

So how did they drum up support and—more importantly—pride and ownership in their new brand? Read on for some inside tips we gathered from SF Day’s Director of Communications, Michelle Phillips, on how she and her team led a successful launch.

Getting the Board on Board

A week before launch, SF Day leadership presented to the board, reminding them of the project goals, the process, and the upcoming launch plans. The purpose of the meeting was to bring them deeper into the fold, generate support for the work, and hear the board’s thoughts and ideas for the future of the brand.

 

 

Create Student Stewards

SF Day turned their launch into a spirit day of celebration.

  • Student Congress planned the dramatic unveiling of the new logo: a student dressed as their mascot (a dolphin) ran through a giant banner printed with the old logo, while a student-led drum roll heightened the anticipation for the new logo. The kids became spirited brand evangelists.
  • Students received t-shirts, mascot stuffed animals, and sports socks with the new colorful logo.
  • The community watched a video giving a behind-the-scenes look into the school’s new illustration of San Francisco, the creation of long-time SF Day art teacher, Brian Herrick.
  • Students recreated the bright new SF Day logo as artwork to adorn the school’s walls.

 

 

Corral the Community

After launch, SF Day recapped the project’s efforts and the launch events in a newsletter to the broader community, including parents, alumni, and alumni parents. They very intentionally connected all aspects of the new look and feel to the school’s new brand strategy. They invited questions and were confident when fielding those questions about how and why they landed on these decisions.

 

 

Maintain Momentum

A month after the launch, when the buzz was dying down, SF Day knew their work was not complete. Head of School Mike Walker made a point to thank the community and their support of the work in his final blog post of the school year. Seeing every communication as an opportunity to strengthen the school’s brand, he shared, “The enthusiastic embrace of the new school logo and website was uplifting and rejuvenating. It was so pleasing to see how some of our youngest students captured the essence of the color scheme and shapes and incorporated the logo into some of their art showpieces. Showcasing art teacher Brian Herrick’s illustration on the homepage makes the story even more compelling, and is a beautiful expression of intellect and imagination intertwined.”

Congratulations to the San Francisco Day School team on their impressive launch. With a powerful new brand strategy and the strong leadership to bring it to life, we know there are great things ahead for SF Day.

You can read more about SF Day’s brand strategy and new visual identity here.

If you want to learn more about this project, SF Day’s Head of School Mike Walker, along with Mission Minded founding partner Jennie Winton, will present a workshop at next year’s National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference on the lessons Mike learned during the rebranding. The annual conference takes place in February, 2019, in Long Beach, California. Take a look at our Trainings & Workshops for more information.

 

 


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About the Author

Stephanie is a Mission Minded Brand Strategist and a huge Harry Potter nerd.
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