The Council Bluffs Community School District (CBCSD) offers more for students — more choices, more opportunities and more ways to succeed. In spite of rising graduation rates, innovative programs and the ability to attract top teachers, the district continued to lose students to other surrounding schools. Emspace + Lovgren was engaged to build a brand that would connect the Council Bluffs community to the many reasons why CBCSD is the better choice, encouraging families to be part of the district’s dynamic future.
During our research, interviews indicated, time and again, that the teachers and their culture are a key district asset. Teachers appreciated the support and opportunities the district provides to them — and this compared very favorably to other area districts. We then created a brand analysis and landscape review, and all signs pointed to the organization needing a new brand. We recommended that this brand, which included a new logo and tagline, would support the overall District goals with a bold campaign that makes it clear why CBCSD is the right choice.
The central idea surrounding the new brand and the campaign family was that CBCSD offers more. They offer more extracurricular activities, more classes to choose from, more athletic opportunities, more early childhood education choices, and on and on. However, some parents in the area saw the district as not rigorous or focused enough. To address both of these misconceptions, we created a new tagline: Achieve More.
We invited the community of Council Bluffs to learn more about how their hometown school district offers a breadth of choices, opportunities and ways to succeed. But even more than handing students a menu of options, the teachers, staff and administrators are actively involved in helping them accomplish their goals and giving them the best foundation possible for a rewarding, meaningful life.
To internally launch the new brand, we created an animated video, a poster and stickers to be distributed, along with a letter and email from the superintendent to teachers, staff and administrators. We wanted them to have these materials before the end of the year so momentum wouldn’t be lost over the summer.
When it came time for the public launch, we promoted this video on the CBCSD’s social media. We also gave their staff a social media content calendar and ideas on how to express the new brand using stories from the district — how students, teachers and the district itself are achieving more. We encouraged them to use the tagline as a hashtag, and we outfitted them with new social media headers and profile photos. Each of the district’s schools was also given these assets for their social media accounts.
The new brand is now permanently installed in every school on a wall near the doors as a welcome and credo for students, teachers and administrators.
The project was enthusiastically received and greatly effective. Kindergarten Roundup, the second campaign using new brand elements, was declared a success by CBCSD administrators. They registered 441 students, which was 37 more than the previous year — a 9% increase. More than 700 adults attended the roundups, and administrators received lots of great feedback about the brand and program. Open enrollment out of the district (students leaving CBCSD) decreased 2% from the previous year, a move in the right direction. Even better, open enrollment to the district (students coming in from other surrounding districts) increased 9% over the previous year.
After launching “Achieve More,” CBCSD returned to our team to rebrand its unique dual-enrollment and professional training offerings. After extensive research, we developed “Plus One Pathways” as an umbrella brand and designed new logos for its programs. At the beginning of the school year in August 2019, CBCSD’s marketing team rolled out Plus One Pathways to students and their parents on its website, in-school publications and broadcasts — and received an overwhelmingly positive response. An impressive 380 students enrolled in the newly created TradeWorks Academy in its first year. In addition, the TradeWorks Academy secured 13 private donors, who raised nearly $2 million to support this program.