Successful repositioning through strategic marketing and effective communications
The Olympus Academy Trust (OAT) was formed in early 2012. High-performing and oversubscribed secondary Bradley Stoke Community School partnered with Abbeywood Community School, which was suffering from a historically poor reputation and an Ofsted ‘inadequate’ rating. Grebot Donnelly was commissioned to help OAT reposition Abbeywood as a school of choice in the local area; to develop a distinct brand identity for the Trust; and to raise the Trust’s profile by creating a comprehensive communications strategy through all media.
We began by performing a strategic review that carefully examined Abbeywood’s internal and external communications, as well as its competitors and the local context in which it was operating.
This research informed a short, medium and long-term strategic marketing plan aimed at repositioning the academy, raising its public profile and helping parents understand that its students access the same high-quality education as those attending Bradley Stoke Community School. Core areas were identified for targeted communications, e.g. building primary liaison, promoting the shared Sixth Form, establishing positive links with the community and using students as key ambassadors for the academy.
We helped the academy establish an in-house marketing team and worked with them to implement the marketing plan, as well as creating professionally designed marketing materials.
For the Trust, we carried out a visioning session to help OAT define its vision, unique selling points and key messages.
To embody the Trust’s vision and the individual academies’ strategic objectives, we developed a powerful brand identity for OAT. This helped bring a sense of unity and joined-up thinking between the two academies for mutual benefit, while respecting the unique offer of each. Clear brand guidelines were created to ensure that the brand was applied consistently through all PR, marketing and communications channels.
We developed a bespoke website for OAT, featuring a fresh, modern design, professional copywriting, and clear navigation aimed at creating the best possible user-experience. Alongside this, we reviewed and updated the two academies’ websites to reflect the Trust’s brand design and values.
We created a bespoke marketing strategy and good news campaign for the Trust to raise awareness, build a reputation of excellence and secure student, parental, community and wider stakeholder support.
We engaged and trained key staff and students at both academies to sustain the promotion of OAT and its academies in the long term.
- Abbeywood School’s latest Ofsted rating revealed a dramatic improvement from ‘Inadequate’ in 2011 to ‘Good’ in 2014.
- Admissions at Abbeywood School have increased dramatically, with first preferences up 52% and overall preferences up 38% from 2013 to 2014.
- The Olympus Academy Trust has established a positive reputation and high profile in the local community. Bradley Stoke Community School has been given the go-ahead to become an all-through school and the Trust has expanded to incorporate two primary schools.
“From the first meeting with Grebot Donnelly, we were impressed by the detail of their research and analysis of our schools’ local context. The team have worked with us for over two years, providing inspiring key ideas and suggestions that have made a real difference. As a result the repositioning of Abbeywood School has been a tremendous success – complete reputation turnaround, as proven by the increase in preferences and positive Ofsted rating. Grebot Donnelly has been a key strategic partner in helping us achieve this and we will continue to access its guidance and support as The Olympus Academy Trust grows and thrives.”
Dave Baker, Executive Headteacher, The Olympus Academy Trust