Increasing Grammar School admissions

The brief

Hipperholme Grammar School Foundation, an independent, fee-paying, coeducational school for children age 3-18 appointed Faith PR to deliver an integrated PR and social media campaign within one academic year.

The objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of the school to ensure that it was in the ‘consideration set’ among its core target audience, and increase admissions enquiries, and conversion to formal admissions.

Our approach

Research gathered by an external market researcher was used to identify the communication channels that would be the focus for activity. We established a clear set of corporate guidelines for the whole school (as well as junior and senior schools as separate sites), supported by separate messaging and positioning for both schools’ communications. From there we developed a multi-channel, strategic communications plan.

A new brand bible was developed that would ensure consistency for all marketing collateral. We also reviewed print advertising spend, reduced it to local publications and reassigned the remaining budget to social media advertising which offered tighter control over targeting and spend.
The school’s social media accounts were overhauled and we replaced one Twitter account and one Facebook account with individual accounts on both platforms for the junior and senior school, allowing for more audience-specific, relevant content.

We also developed a schedule of regular, proactive press releases communicating positive news about the school and worked hard to build a close relationship with the local media outlets. This further enhanced the school’s USPs to their target audience as well as increasing overall brand awareness. Alongside the ongoing media relations we implemented a weekly blog schedule and created a glossy new professional newsletter (also available digitally) that is distributed on a termly basis.

The results

HGS reported that September 2016 was the highest intake of new pupils in ten years and has cemented its reputation as one of the leading grammar schools in Calderdale and the wider region.

During the campaign period from June 2015 to July 2016, admission enquiries, open day attendance and number of admissions increased by at least 20% compared to 2014/15.

Overall the campaign delivered on all objectives, the social media engagement increased by over 110% on each channel/platform and the PR coverage reached a total of more than 12.5million people.

The school continues its relationship with Faith PR and now works with us on a retained basis to deliver all PR and marketing communications campaigns both on and off line.

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