Posted on March 07, 2019
Clongowes Wood, an all-boys, full-boarding Jesuit School in Ireland and admittedly, a well-renowned school outside of Dublin, came to us to have a look at their marketing, their brand and to create a stunning film that would celebrate their brand and spearhead a new era for the school. Challenge accepted!
A thriving school with an incredible history and well known alumni, Clongowes had gone through a period of change with a new Headmaster, its first lay Head, and was on a path of change, modernisation and a more active marketing function. This was an incredible opportunity for the school. One of the oldest rules in the book of Independent School marketing is that if you don’t give people a narrative about you they will quickly develop one for themselves. And Clongowes had long relied on tradition, reputation and word of mouth marketing, hesitant to seen to be 'selling themselves'. However, in today's modern digital age, not saying anything, in marketing terms, can do more damage than good.
The biggest potential threat to Clongowes outward messaging was that it had remained relatively passive - albeit for various understandable reasons - and allowed shifting audiences to decide what the school was for themselves. It was time to define and command the brand they wanted to be. So any outward marketing had to make a conscious move from a passive to an active marketing attitude.
Through research, we were astonished and incredibly impressed by the camaraderie, sense of community and respect that existed amongst the boys and staff at Clongowes. The older boys were so supportive of the younger ones and so the narrative of the film and their marketing approach took on a path of 'mentoring at Clongowes'.
For concept development, we explored the concept of 'Sixth Year Speeches' whereby the eldest pupils had a responsibility, one by one, each week to get up in front of the entire student body to tell their own personal story - their Speech. They tell tales of inspiration, challenge, obstacles, success, achievement and joy. It's an emotional experience for both the orator and the audience. We wanted to tell that story for Clongowes.
Clongowes Wood is such an amazing school, one that I would send my son to (if I had one!) from any corner of the world. The ethos, the Jesuit faith and what it means to the boys and the amazing staff at Clongowes inspired me. This is a school that should have more global recognition than it does, and we hope the active brand voice will facilitate that!
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