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Branding and Marketing Advisors to Independent Schools


Turnaround Marketing Communications' goal is to help your school attract the qualified students you want, motivate the donors you need, and make connections with the alumnae/i you hope for. Sensitive to your needs and constraints, we work diligently to deliver marketing solutions that exceed your expectations.

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Branding and Marketing Advisors to Independent Schools


Turnaround Marketing Communications' goal is to help your school attract the qualified students you want, motivate the donors you need, and make connections with the alumnae/i you hope for. Sensitive to your needs and constraints, we work diligently to deliver marketing solutions that exceed your expectations.

Turnaround Marketing Communications is an award-winning consulting firm with two decades of experience in independent school branding and marketing for over 85 institutions including K-12, K-8, 9-12, coed, single sex, boarding and day, as well as faith-based and non-sectarian schools. 

We know independent schools well, and work diligently to understand each individual school in particular. We look at every school with fresh eyes and assume nothing. Turnaround holds a mirror up to our clients, and offers creative solutions to unique challenges. Our goal is to position schools in their best possible light—showcasing their strengths, elevating their image both to internal and external audiences, and delivering results.

For One Office or the Whole School

We work with Directors of Advancement, Admission, Development, and Marketing Communications. Whether partnering with one office, or working for the school as a whole, our objective is to help schools overcome challenges, reach new goals, and solidify their image. 

Experienced. Collaborative. Attentive.

Since 1991, Turnaround’s perceptiveness, knowledge of the field of independent school marketing, and character with which we do business have created enduring relationships with schools across the country and have led us to be sought-after speakers at national conferences.

Effective. Results-Driven.

Whether working on brand development, enrollment marketing, campaign marketing, a website assessment, or any other of our varied services, Turnaround is guided by a “form follows function” philosophy. We strive to assist schools in marketing that is not only creative and compelling, but also effective and results-driven. 


The branding project paid for itself in one year. And you can quote me on that.
— Brad Rogers, Headmaster, The Gow School, South Wales, New York
Turnaround has provided nothing short of exceptional insight, professionalism, creativity, and support. Your work on Ridley’s behalf will ... leave us stronger and better positioned. For that, please know that Ridley College and I are most grateful.
— Andrew T. Weller, Ed.D., Executive Director of Advancement, Ridley College, Ontario, Canada
I just received a call from an alumna regarding the case statement. She told me she had been planning on leaving the school a very modest bequest, but because of the case she has increased her estate gift to $50,000.
— Doreen Rice, Director of Advancement, Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City, Missouri

Featured Posts from the Forward-Thinking Blog

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What Do You Need?


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What Do You Need?


Turnaround helps independent schools market themselves in various ways. Sometimes the best way to discover how we can help you is to ask yourself the question, “What do we need?”


We need a brand.

Perhaps you don’t have clear brand messages and graphic identity, your old messages no longer ring true, your internal audience has ideas about what makes your school distinctive but can’t articulate them, or your external audience has an unclear or incorrect image of your school or no image at all. You may not even know why your school needs consistent brand messages and graphic identity. You need Brand Development, the foundation upon which all other marketing efforts should be based to help them be as successful as possible for 3-8 years.

We need help with stewarding or sustaining our brand.

You are clear about what your brand messages and graphic identity are, but you are having difficulty with buy-in from your internal community or with consistent branding across all departments, you find that your brand has not taken root and is not driving all of your communications, or you realize that your brand has lost its way. You need assistance with Brand Stewardship.

We need help with attracting the kinds of families who we will choose and who will choose us.

You aren’t getting enough inquiries or the right kind of inquiries. Your application numbers aren’t high enough, or your yield is too low. The school isn’t known for what you want it to be known for, there are misperceptions in the market, or your school is “a hidden gem.” You need Admissions Marketing.

We need help with framing and marketing our upcoming capital campaign to prospective donors.

You need a partner to help market your campaign, give voice and passion to your case, make your objectives come to life, and draw donors in, and strategize a marketing plan for the span of the campaign. You need Campaign Marketing.

We need help with our graphic identity.

Your graphic identity was never established, it was only established for one department, or it isn’t as strong as it should be. Your graphic designer doesn’t “get it,” different offices have different ideas about your look, your visuals are all over the place or always changing, and you have no idea what a style guide is, let alone how to use one religiously. You need help directing and managing a graphic designer. You need Creative Oversight.

We need help with assessing our marketing materials.

Your marketing materials are not effectively conveying your brand messages and/or do not have a consistent look, quality, or voice; you’re not sure which marketing efforts are working; or you don’t know what you should be doing that you’re not. Your process for developing materials needs to be reviewed to insure that you’re making the best use of personnel and have the most effective process. You're not sure how social media fits into the mix and how to use it effectively. You need a Communications Assessment.

We need help with creating our marketing materials.

You've done research with us, but now you need designers, copywriters, photographers, digital developers, and other talent to create your materials. You don’t want to manage the process yourself, and you need the advice of experts in marketing for schools. You need Creative Oversight.

We need help with the impact of our website.

The visitor experience on your website is less than optimal. Your visitors aren’t sure where to navigate, they miss key information, they leave unclear about your brand and why you’re different, and they aren’t taking the next step that you want them to. Your inquiries are lower than you expect, your connections with your alumni could be greater and deeper, or your online giving is weak. You need a Website Assessment.

We need help.

If you’re still not sure what you need, please contact Rob, and he will talk it through with you. 

 

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Services


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Services


Turnaround offers a wide range of consulting services. Feel free to contact us to determine your specific needs. 

Marketing Research and Analysis. Through interviews, focus groups, and individually designed surveys, we uncover your constituents’ mindset and opinions along with other information needed to set goals and move ahead.

Brand Development. We help identify and frame your school’s distinguishing characteristics in a way that clarifies the school’s message, differentiates it from the competition, and makes it memorable to both internal and external audiences. Turnaround’s brand development process results in a comprehensive report that covers your school’s situational analysis, market position, unique defining characteristics, and a recommended brand position and strategy.

Brand Rollout. We conduct a formal rollout of the brand with faculty, administration, staff, select parents and board members. When buy in is achieved, constituents are much more likely to embrace the brand. During the rollout, Turnaround explains why brand is important, the process used to determine it, what the newly developed brand is, and how it looks in practice through comps Turnaround creates as examples. The session ends with a Q&A where everyone gets a voice. If done well, the audience leaves knowing what the brand is, feeling positive about it, and knowing how to support it by telling stories of their own. 

Brand Stewardship. Once a school’s brand has been developed, we provide individualized consulting on how to manage that brand. This can include office structure, hiring qualified personnel, workflow management, adhering to brand messages and graphic identity, and managing the brand when working with outside suppliers (designers, photographers, copywriters, printers).

On-going or Project-Based Consulting. We advise schools on marketing efforts and challenges on an on-going or project-based engagement. 

Message Testing. We provide necessary research to determine if your current brand messages continue to ring true to your constituents and advise what adjusts should be made (if any).

Admissions Marketing. We take the time to learn your enrollment goals and challenges, and then create a goal-oriented marketing plan, position, and materials to achieve your desired results.

Campaign Marketing. We strategize and map out your campaign marketing for both the silent and public phases, either following your existing branding or developing a fresh approach. With your objectives in mind, we are with you for the duration of the campaign as it takes the inevitable twists and turns, advising you and your committee on how best to attract and motivate donors. 

Communications Assessment. We provide an objective and analytic evaluation of a school’s current marketing materials in order to define criteria on which to base future efforts. We also review the process and personnel involved in creating those materials and make recommendations for improving brand adhesion, efficiency, cost-containment, and turnaround time. 

Website Assessment. We develop an objective, analytic evaluation of a school’s website in order to improve brand adhesion, consistency, marketing messages, specific constituent communications, and to maximize visitor experience.

Marketing Plan. We create a blueprint for marketing your school over a year’s time, suggesting ways to integrate efforts and align personnel to accomplish effective, consistent, timely projects that achieve pre-determined goals.

Creative Oversight. After our research for your school, we work with one of our select graphic designers, writers, photographers, copywriters, interactive developers, and other creative talent to produce the quality, award-winning, results-driven pieces Turnaround is known for. We can also work with talent of your choosing (including in-house). Our goal is to manage the process smoothly for you, maximize creativity, production time, cost-effectiveness, and workflow. Our 20 years of experience as principals of a design firm will benefit your school immensely.

Faculty, Staff, and Board Workshops on Marketing. We make presentations to a targeted audience within the school community to inform and/or influence stakeholders. Frequent topics include the value of brand development and the actual rollout of a brand, a marketing campaign, or capital campaign marketing.

Presentations on Marketing for Your Organization. We create conference presentations on hot-topic issues in marketing.

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The Benefits of Turning to Turnaround


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The Benefits of Turning to Turnaround


There are many fine firms across the United States that work with academic institutions. Why would a school choose Turnaround from among them? Because Turnaround is…

Knowledgeable. We know independent schools and speak your language.

Passionate about our work. We believe that independent schools change lives.

Focused. We’re the only firm working exclusively with independent schools on marketing.

Collaborative. Your work is our work. This is a partnership.

Small by design. You deal directly with the principals.

Recommended. Independent school professionals like you have used our services and recommend us highly.

Attentive. You will be treated as if you’re the only client we have.

Professional. We pride ourselves on the character with which we do business.

Forward-thinking. We are frequent, sought-after speakers at TABS, CASE/NAIS, SSATB, and other national conferences. Our sessions are packed and audiences give us high marks.

Award-winning. Our work has earned national recognition from CASE, Educational Advertising Awards, and more.

Results-oriented. It’s pretty cool to win awards, but what matters is, “Did it do what we wanted it to do?”