Telling Our Stories: Branding in Education

Education has become an increasingly complex industry. As districts compete for students – and the funding that comes with them – they often find themselves struggling with how to set themselves apart from neighboring schools and other educational options. It’s not always easy to assess themselves honestly, craft the stories that reflect their authentic strengths, and share those stories with the right people. But King Media has partnered with many Michigan school districts, giving them the branding tools they need to thrive.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (P-CCS) is one of the largest districts in Michigan. But like many districts, P-CCS faced declining enrollment and needed help attracting and retaining students.

King Media used in-depth research to identify the root of the problem and develop solutions. We found that some perceptions of the district didn’t match reality, and that meant it was time to do a better job communicating how the district embraced its core values: diversity, a wide range of cultures and the exploration of a different way of thinking.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools logo tagline

 

Armed with these findings, we developed a new brand identity focused on the district’s authentic diversity and natural global perspective. Globally Focused. Locally Connected. became the central brand message, and the new P-CCS logo celebrates the district’s blend of collective and individual strengths.

 

Everyone in the Plymouth-Canton area has a vested interest in having a strong school district. So we worked collaboratively with P-CCS to develop innovative ways to bolster community brand engagement and create enthusiastic “Brand Champions” to share our message.

Branded apparel designs for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools by King Media
Branding for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools by King Media

 

Lakeshore Public Schools

You won’t find a town called Lakeshore on a map, but Lakeshore Public Schools (LPS), nestled in scenic Berrien County, has a rich history of community support. While that support provided a strong foundation, LPS still needed to differentiate itself from neighboring districts and position the district for success in the face of regional challenges.

Our research revealed that Lakeshore offers a solid education and pride in the district is high. A new brand identity that resonated throughout the community would give the district a boost and pave the way for increased support down the road.

 

As we worked through our creative process, we discovered that our initial intent to create a single district logo would not serve our client’s best interests. Instead, we created a comprehensive brand identity package featuring one core logo and a set of complementary logos. We were so excited to show the brand in action that we even mocked up new football uniforms for our presentation to district leadership!

 

Lakeshore’s new identity was met with resounding approval. We had successfully captured the essence of the district, giving them a tangible way to express their Lancer pride. When LPS launched their new logo in conjunction with an open house that also showed off recent renovations to the high school, the community enthusiastically embraced the new brand and proudly donned t-shirts featuring the core logo and tagline: Grounded in Tradition. Committed to Excellence.

The new brand continued to enhance community engagement when the Michigan State University Marching Band performed at Lakeshore High School. King Media executed a public relations strategy that capitalized on the enthusiasm for the district’s new brand, and attendance at the performance shot past typical crowd counts for similar performances.

 


 

Michigan Association of School Boards

Individual districts aren’t the only ones working hard to share their stories with the world. The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) decided to serve its members by tackling a common challenge: how to effectively promote the positive impact of public education.
We believe in the importance of public education, and we all have our favorite stories of public school teachers who believed in us, too. Enter the campaign concept Public Education Believes In Me!

Using a series of vignettes, we created a video to tell stories that highlighted the positive impact of public education. Successful professionals shared their most powerful memories of public education, including teachers that inspired them and lessons that shaped their futures.

The campaign kick-off included statewide public relations efforts and debuted as the theme for the MASB’s most important and largest annual conference. It was met with resounding approval from attendees, who were encouraged to nominate their own graduates to share their stories. The campaign was an important promotional initiative for school districts across Michigan.