Santa Catalina School is an independent, Pre-K−12 school in Monterey, California. Founded in 1950 by the Dominican Sisters as a school for girls, Santa Catalina now encompasses a Pre-K−8 coed Lower and Middle School and a single-sex boarding and day Upper School. Offering a bounty of athletic and artistic opportunities and grounded in superb academics and Catholic values, the school is well loved by students, alumni, families, and faculty. Many consider the campus a home away from home.
Santa Catalina has always been an extremely well managed institution and has never needed to concern itself with marketing. However, changes in the economy and a general low awareness of the benefits of boarding school on the West Coast led Santa Catalina to Neustadt Creative Marketing to develop an effective brand marketing platform.
We started with a survey of current parents and alumni, an environmental survey, competitive analysis, IDIs with attitude shapers in the community, and focus groups of prospective families to gauge the market environment of the school. When the research was complete, we developed a brand strategy and built buy-in with the school’s Board of Trustees and faculty and administrative leadership.
The first step was to separate the two schools in order to tailor materials to their respective markets. Since the divisions operated in distinct markets, each needed to be clearly defined as a separate entity.
For Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School, the strategy was to emphasize the quality of the academics and the exceptional range of opportunities and special programs offered by the school. The school also needed to position itself as a values-based environment that nurtured the whole child.
The upper school needed to distinguish itself among California boarding schools by touting the value of its single-sex environment. Strong academics are still the most important point, but the full Santa Catalina experience includes the social and intellectual growth, maturity, and self-confidence that comes from an all-girls environment, as well as the self-knowledge and compassion fostered by the school’s values-based education.
The strategy came to life in a full suite of admissions brochures for both divisions, as well as a polished new website. Sophisticated visuals and sparse text gave the upper school materials the look of a posh magazine, while the lower and middle school materials were infused with new energy, color, and creativity.
Because of the distinct marketing strategies for the two divisions, creating one website wasn’t an option. Instead, collaborating with Finalsite, we developed two separate sites with a shared landing page so that visitors can easily find their way to the information they need. Each school’s site maintains its particular strategy, colors, and visual style.
With a strong, clear message and quality materials to match its reputation, Santa Catalina is ready to meet its fundraising and enrollment goals and garner long-deserved recognition.