The Blake School in Minnesota offers a top-tier college preparatory program with famously rigorous academics and a wide array of athletic, artistic, and community service opportunities. It is highly regarded nationally and locally.
In the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, public schools provide a solid education, making an independent school education, no matter how good, a tough sell.
To step up its messaging and strengthen brand identity, Blake turned to Neustadt Creative Marketing.
Our research team started out by fielding surveys and conducting interviews with Blake alumni, current students and their parents, faculty, and staff members at feeder schools. After a comprehensive study of Blake’s audiences, we developed a brand strategy and set out to build buy-in with the Board of Trustees, school leadership, and senior staff. Everyone needed to be on the same page when it came to talking about Blake.
To that end, we simplified and streamlined the messaging. Blake materials and representatives would speak plainly and amicably about Blake’s top-notch academics, the well roundedness of its graduates, and the opportunities available for students to develop a global consciousness. These three points stood out as the most important characteristics of the Blake experience.
Once the school was on board with the messaging guidelines, it was time to update the visual identity system to maintain a unified look across all communications. A wordmark replaced the phrase “The Blake School” with simply “Blake.” The typeface connotes the excellence and tradition of the school, and the use of the abbreviated name conveys a friendliness and straightforward confidence that make Blake more inviting.
In addition to the logo, the school needed a set of typefaces and colors. We carefully outlined best practices for using these elements in an identity manual for internal use. With clear guidelines and explanations of the new system, everyone—teachers, administrators, parents, and alumni—could convey the same strong message about Blake, improving public perception and strengthening the school’s brand identity.
We put the visual identity system and messaging guidelines to work in a set of new admissions publications, a redesigned alumni magazine called Cyrus, and a print advertisement campaign in local magazines and newspapers. We also collaborated with Finalsite to launch an updated Blake website. With a simple, clear message and a sophisticated new look, the Blake School had the tools it needed to bring in the best and brightest of the Twin Cities’ students and prepare them for lifelong success.