Think. Plan. Do.

Your school should not be a well-kept secret.

Independent schools and small colleges have powerful stories to tell, but resources and expertise can be limited. To thrive in a competitive environment, schools need to understand who they are, who they serve, and communicate their value proposition clearly, concisely, and effectively to the right audience.


Understand Your Core

Posted on April 14, 2016

Having a branding epiphany is exciting. They just don’t usually happen in the middle of your pastor’s sermon on Sunday. Such was the case when my pastor centered his message last Sunday around the idea that there many different interpretations, beliefs, and applications of faith that are causing division within the church, rather than unity. He submitted our faith must be rooted in one thing, and one thing alone: a relationship with Jesus. ...

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Managing Disruption With Your Brand

Posted on April 14, 2016

Michael Horn wrote this article in Forbes a few weeks after writing this piece on disruption in the independent school market caused by charter schools, technology, and the presence of micro-schools. Horn writes, “As many students and their families in the independent school world struggle with ever-rising tuition prices, institutions must figure out ways to rein in their expenditures and remain attractive while confronting the disruptive ...

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Empower with a Purpose

Posted on April 14, 2016

Strategic visioning is exciting. It allows you to operate at the 10,000 foot level, thinking ‘big picture’ of who you are and why you do what you do. You get excited about new initiatives, new plans you are putting in place, and the reaffirmation of your mission. But we all know the most difficult part of any self-reflection process is implementation. And we need help getting things done!  By the time your school reaches the ‘actin...

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Get Yourself Out of the Weeds!

Posted on August 13, 2015

Sometimes days go by and I feel like I am in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (remember that classic?). I am running around blades of grass and trying to avoid giant obstacles popping up everywhere. My vision is blinded by the handful of tasks directly in front of me. I’m operating deadline to deadline with no perspective. Processes do not change, I am simply stuck in the weeds. Anybody else been there before? It is at these moments I need a ...

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Overcoming Fear of Accountability

Posted on August 10, 2015

We all know the power of planning. Our Twitter feeds are filled with ideas on how to plan, what to plan, and when to plan. We know it should be a priority. The reality is, it is really difficult to gather the right people in one room during the summer months with enough focus to generate a comprehensive communications plan for your school. Unexpected emergencies arise, vacations and much deserved family time take precedent, and other obstacles ...

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Using Calls to Action to Guide Customers

Posted on August 10, 2015

After you have effectively segmented your admission cycle with your admissions and communications teams, you will need to figure out the best way to drive prospective families from one stage to the next. Effective implementation of Calls to Action (CTAs) on your website and in email marketing efforts is critical to shepherding your prospective families through the admission process. Here are four simple steps you can take when developing CTAs ...

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How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

Posted on July 6, 2015

I could spend hours and hours (that I don’t have) reading blog posts, viewing portfolio submissions, and learning from other marketers. What we all must realize, however, is that before we spend the time gathering resources, sample collateral, or reading blogs, we first have to know who our customers really are. We all claim to generally know who our prospective families are in the independent school world. The downhill skiing family. The ...

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Step 2 in Shepherding Your Flock: Segment the Admission Process

In this previous post I introduced the idea of the independent school admission office needing to serve as the shepherd of its prospective families. In this post, I lay out a few tips for becoming a more effective shepherd to your ever growing flock of applicants. After teaching a diverse body of learners for the past nine years at Proctor Academy, I have come to greatly appreciate the practice of ‘chunking’ large assignments to make them ...

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Independent School Admissions: Shepherding Your Flock

Posted on June 21, 2015

In early July, I will have the privilege of sharing some of Proctor Academy’s marketing and communication story with attendees at Blackbaud’s K-12 User conference in Boston. This post will give a quick preview of that presentation. In short, the lesson learned this year is that sometimes you need to shepherd your flock more than you think. The independent school admission process is incredibly competitive as the number the total ...

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Directing Your Marketing Choir – Part 4

Posted on June 18, 2015

As we gear up for a capital campaign at Proctor Academy, a recent conversation with a colleague sparked this post. We were discussing how to best market this campaign and what language we wanted to use (of course taking lessons from THIS POST) in order to be sure our messaging was consistent across the Admissions, Academic, and Development departments of our school. In my previous posts, I emphasized the need for effective internal communicat...

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