About the Client
Lewisham Southwark College is one of London’s largest further education colleges - formed from the merger between Lewisham and Southwark Colleges - with campuses in Lewisham Way, Deptford Bridge and Southwark.
Post-merger, Lewisham Southwark College undertook an extensive re-branding exercise, which resulted in the launch of the ‘LeSoCo’ concept. This brand relaunch was unfortunately considered a failure by the college’s senior stakeholders, with a lack of traction in the local community and some criticism in the Press in a time where public spending was under scrutiny.
With subsequent changes to senior management and strategic direction for the college, the in-house marketing team were seeking support with the evolution of the new brand; to help update and enhance its best features and nurture better engagement with teachers, students and the local community alike.
The Glassup & Stoski Plan
The team at Glassup & Stoski recognised the sensitivity of the brand evolution, proposing a plan to leverage all the best parts of the new brand image, whilst engaging with stakeholders to understand what needed to change. This new approach would place the true spirit of Lewisham Southwark College front and centre, and aimed to align the brand with the exciting new direction the college was taking.
Phase 1: Community engagement & focus groups
To gain an understanding of the local community and insights into opinions on the brand was a clear first step for Glassup & Stoski. The team visited all three campuses and took part in focus groups with different cross-sections of stakeholders, including students, teachers and management.
The output of these focus groups made it clearer than ever that students, staff and the local community would play a key role in the brand evolution, and that their ‘buy in’ was vital for successful deployment. The ideas discussed also provided great inspiration for the concepts and visuals to be developed.
Phase 2: Brand Compass Document
The result of focus groups, campus visits, community visits and input from the creative team was the ‘Brand Compass Document’. This document gave the stakeholders scope for feedback and involvement from the onset and, coupled with the ‘Brand Evolution Blog’, ensured they remained involved every step of the way.
The Brand Compass Document:
· An overview of the community engagement process, including topics of discussion at the focus groups
· Summary of feedback from the focus groups and how this translates into brand concepts
· What motivates students – things to celebrate about the college and what they expect
Phase 3: Brand Toolkit & launch
Once the marketing team and Principle were happy draft designs, the staff and students were approached once again for feedback. The final designs were presented to the Governors before roll out began, meaning that everybody involved was on board and excited for launch.
The Brand Toolkit provides Lewisham Southwark College with context behind the brand evolution, as well as clear guidelines on how to use the brand day-to-day. This document will therefore be a useable ‘go to’ for the marketing team and all staff moving forwards.
Speaking about the success of the brand evolution project and working with Glassup & Stoski, Sonia Furley, Head of Marketing at Lewisham Southwark College, says:
“Working with the G&S team was fantastic from start to finish. They acted like an extension to our internal team - and really cared that not only did we get a good-looking brand, but also that it worked for our hugely diverse target audiences. They don’t come with large design egos - and therefore feeding back was really easy, and you could see through the draft versions that they’d definitely listened. I couldn’t recommend the team more highly.”
Since the brand relaunch, the marketing team at Lewisham Southwark College have scooped two national industry awards at the College Marketing Network’s FE First Awards:
Gold Award – Marketing Team of the Year
Silver Award – School Leaver Recruitment Campaign
The judges commented:
“In a very short time, a new marketing team facing massive challenges has pulled together to develop a strategic approach to marketing and improving reputation in the community. The team has shown a determination to embed marketing across the organisation and meet stretching targets in terms of student recruitment.”
Recognition for the school leaver recruitment campaign is an important milestone for the College in terms of their reputation in the local community, and the judges praised a “very impressive submission which described a fully integrated campaign, with clear objectives based on research and an understanding of the target demographic. The section on how the College went about changing local opinion was particularly noteworthy.”
The Lewisham Southwark College marketing team were short-listed for the TES FE Awards ‘Marketing / communications campaign of the year’ 2017 for their Brand Evolution and Implementation project.