Branding and Promoting an Educational Leadership Program

Posted on 14. Jun, 2010 by in Education, Portfolio

University of Connecticut — Neag School of Education Educational Leadership Department

TL2C Brochure


The Department of Educational Leadership in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut was charged with coordinating the rollout of a statewide program to create systemic school change to enhance teaching and learning through leadership development to support technology integration. The initiative was funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation State Challenge Grant for Leadership Development and supported by the Connecticut Consortium for Technology Integration in School Leadership. A four-day program was pilot tested, modified based on participant feedback and six cohorts were scheduled beginning in the fall of 2002. Participation is voluntary and is encouraged as a team approach with five members from each school district, including a superintendent or senior staff person and at least one principal. We were engaged to promote the program to the educational community.


TL2C Home Page

Home Page

A thorough information review of data, program (or “cohort”) materials and grant specifications was performed. The target audience was identified by the requirements of the Gates grant: school superintendents, elementary and secondary school principals. Our next step was to analyze evaluations from the pilot program participants. We discovered the ratings in certain areas were low and learned this had prompted a revision of the program. However, a background meeting with the client revealed that the pilot participants were not aware of the revised program. From FEC’s prior extensive work within the educational system, we were sensitive to the strong “grapevine” of communication that exists in Connecticut’s educational community. Primary research was done conducting phone interviews with pilot program participants for feedback and supportive promotional quotes. Negative feedback surfaced in the phone interviews about certain aspects of the pilot program, but when superintendents and principals were informed of the changes made as a result of their written feedback, they were pleased. We used the information learned to identify our initial strategy of “managing the grapevine.”

Planning and Objectives

First Experience Communications identified the following objectives and challenges in the planning process:Objectives:

  1. Get 400 educators (80 five-member administrative teams from school districts throughout Connecticut) to participate in leadership/ technology program by end of2002-03 school year.
  2. Strategically position and market the program so educators will see value in its potentialimmediate and long-term benefits.
  3. Build ownership of the leadership/ technology concept at the school level to transition

from “program implementation” to “standard operating procedure.”


  • Getting the attention of key administrators especially superintendents
  • Superintendents commitment for involving other key administrators for 4 days
  • Learning concrete and specific tools and devices that can be implemented immediately
  • Sustaining long-term interest and participation to create systems change.Understanding our target audience and the influence of its grapevine on success and failure of past programs, our project team put a priority on stemming negative talk about the programfrom pilot participants. Significant changes had been made to the “roll-out program”, which addressed all major concerns that arose from pilot participants. They needed to know they hadbeen listened to … and they needed to know it quickly. To differentiate this program frominnumerable others that had been marketed to this audience in the past, we needed to look likewe had our act together right out of the starting gate. Key to our success would be to developan identity, a professional look and carry that through every facet of the marketingcommunications campaign.


A. Launch Image and Awareness Campaign

Build a high quality program image with educators and the general public to cultivate interestand maximize capacity for participating in the initiative.

Preempt possible negative grapevine and misinformation.

  • Action (Immediate): Drafted letter to pilot participants. Thanked them for their input; letthem know their insights led to an improved, redesigned program. Included book“Lincoln on Leadership” as a thank you gift for their leadership in participating in thepilot program
  • Action (Immediate): Sent letter with program flyer to prospective participants building
  • up the redesigned leadership/ technology program..Create program identity and marketing materials.
  • Action: Developed name and logo for Connecticut’s leadership/ technology program.Name: “TL2C: Technology for Leadership & Learning in Connecticut.” Logo:“Appears to be a flower about to blossom but turns out to be a mouse emerging from between the pages of an open book. This TL2C symbol does double duty by leveragingthe flower image as a metaphor for potential and achievement, while the mouse/book image alludes to the integration of technology and tradition in the TL2C educationalmodel. The connection to the TLC acronym for “tender loving care” is particularlyappropriate to the symbol of a budding plant.”
  • Action: Developed program tagline/compelling message: “For our children’s future”
  • Action: Created promotional materials/ participant kit (fact sheet, image brochure, CD)
  • Action: Redesigned website to be more interactive with prospective participants
  • Action: Designed tabletop tradeshow display

B. Call for Enrollment Get people to sign up. Make it easy for them to register.

  • Action: Use direct marketing, internal communication vehicles, and e-mail to promoteprogram participation and facilitate sign-up.
  • Action: Enhance website to allow for online enrollment.


Every scheduled session was filled to capacity; three had waiting lists. Sign-up has exceeded the goal of 400 participants and school districts are asking to send additional teams. Extrasessions have been scheduled beyond the intended end date to accommodate demand. Onlinesign-up through the website drew high numbers and the program coordinator was thrilled tohave the problem of juggling scheduling as opposed to beating the bushes, which was herinitial fear. The program’s academic oversight committee agreed the use of a sharp logo, taglineand visual image coordinated through every facet of the campaign (brochure, envelopes,letterhead, business cards, premium giveaway items, slip covers for course notebooks),elevated the image and value of the program to their educational colleagues. The program costswere on budget, at $25,000 plus production costs. FEC was able to provide more client servicewith premium items, e-mail counsel and web development than originally planned byeliminating a second brochure design (since the first one met the registration goals). FEC is looking at a Phase II with the client to sustain the program long-term, so this is still “work inprogress.”

First Experience Communications has realized tremendous value from the educationalgrapevine, starting with the program coordinator publicly stating to her academic colleagues onthe oversight committee, “the best thing we did on this project was to go to First Experience.”The logo and materials have generated new business for FEC from educators who “wantsomething like the Gates brochure.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.