Holy Child School at Rosemont

The Goal

To find a new, stronger, more resonate institutional voice with which to make the case for this small (and fabulous) Age 3 to Grade 8 school nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s Main Line and surrounded by powerful independent schools serving students in PreK through twelfth grade.

 

The Challenges

Many private schools these days are challenged to fill their lower-school grades, as parents are reluctant to start paying tuition bills so early. Holy Child School faced additional challenges, though. Some parents, concerned that their child might not be admitted to their college-prep high school of choice if they weren’t already enrolled as middle-school students, were electing to pull their children out of Holy Child school before starting sixth grade. This drop in enrollment had the additional negative side-effect of changing the class profile (i.e.; the ratio of boys to girls) to the point that other parents might opt to remove their children, too. Thus, the School had both an external marketing need (to recruit more of the youngest students) and an internal marketing need (to convince parents to let their children stay through to 8th grade graduation).

Another dilemma the School faced was defining its position in the crowded and competitive Main Line market. Simply put, Holy Child School was wedged between the many, very fine preK-12th grade independent schools and the Catholic parish schools, whose academic reputations were modest.

Exasperating this situation was the fact that the School community was split in how it referred to the school. When our engagement began, the name of the School was Rosemont School of the Holy Child; a name which emphasized its Main Line location but not its unique and compelling brand of Catholic education. Some parents called it “Rosemont” while others referred to it as “Holy Child.” This made it a challenge to define its brand identity and turn the collective parent community into an effective army of brand champions.

 

The Solution

A path forward about the name–and the brand–revealed itself during our in-depth discovery process. Findings showed that all parents were united in their belief in the quality and positive effects of the educational principles espoused by the founder of the Holy Child network of schools, Sister Cornelia Connelly. We, therefore took the unusual step of recommending that the School change its name to Holy Child School at Rosemont. They did, and announced the decision at an exciting and fun-filled assembly of students, faculty, staff, and parents.

Additionally, we recommended a more engaging way of “packaging” this particular educational experience that begins in the third year of life and concludes (for most), at age 13. Rather than talking about grade ranges within a particular division of the school, we decided to talk about stages of growth through childhood. We did this by identifying ages 3 to 6 as the “Wonder-filled Years;” ages 7-10 as the “Foundational Years;” and ages 11-14 as the “Achievement Years.”  This provided a solid basis for story development, and an easier platform on which to convince parents to remain enrolled in the School through to eighth grade graduation.

With the name and a new logo set, brand tools were crafted. The brand signature, “The joy of achievement,” reminds parents that, unlike eighth-graders in a K-12 school environment, eighth-graders at Holy Child School are revered by the younger students and experience a graduation ceremony that honors their perseverance through the Middle School years.   

And, as we do with all Market Voicing engagements, we developed the Key Messages that would drive the communications program; messages that provide the “three reasons” why to choose Holy Child School at Rosemont:

“Because we are experts in childhood education.”
“Because we are a Holy Child School.”
“Because Middle School is our Upper School.”

 

The Results

The above work on the brand provided the basis upon which to build a content strategy and a robust marketing campaign. After two years of the campaign, Holy Child School at Rosemont reported an increase in enrollment and a waiting list for lower school.