Lutheran West is a private high school in the Cleveland suburbs. For years they had been “the best kept secret” on the west side and it was time to let the secret out. With enrollment hovering around 450 and traditional feeder elementary schools experiencing smaller class sizes, Lutheran West embarked on a comprehensive branding and marketing campaign to increase awareness in the community and boost enrollment.
Looking back to almost a year ago, I am very thankful that we found Joe Watson and embarked on a partnership to bring The Lutheran West Promise to life in a wide variety of ways. In addition to a wide array of technical skills, Joe brought an outside strategic mind to the table as we turned to the critical implementation phase of this branding effort. Joe was not a simply a “yes” man in this process; he questioned, challenged, encouraged and prodded us to consider the “what” and the “how” of our various implementation steps, but more importantly the “why” behind our decisions along the way. Does this take time? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! In this age of highly technical experts, it’s quite unusual to find someone that is not only conversant in a variety of areas, but able to deliver also. We found that whether it was CMS evaluation / implementation, logo design, collateral material graphic design, photography or copy writing, Go Big was able to pull it all together in a way that enhanced our professional image among our various stakeholders and prospects.
Tom Ford, Director of Educational Advancement, Lutheran West
Lutheran West had already developed a comprehensive outline of the schools features and benefits. Termed “The Lutheran West Promise”, this list of six key tenets clearly defines the school and what differentiates it from other institutions.
The Lutheran West Promise:
Christian principles guide every aspect of the educational experience.
Rigorous academic preparation readies students for both college and life.
Promise #3: Community
Each individual is valued and nurtured in a caring Christian community.
Promise #4: Servant Leadership
Students are encouraged to lead by example and reach out to meet the needs of others.
Promise #5: Co-Curricular Activity
Students are involved in a wealth of challenging activities that develop the whole person.
Promise #6: Life Purpose & Vocation
Each student is encouraged to discover God’s purpose for his/her life.
With the Lutheran West value proposition clearly defined, we were tasked with creating a strategic marketing plan and deploying visual communications in all mediums out to the community.
- New logos and identity system
- 8-page overview brochure
- Complete web site overhaul and relaunch
- Environmental graphics and signage
- Defined color pallet and brand standards guidebook
- New tagline that encompasses the Lutheran West message and is outcome-based
- New photography and development of an image bank for all future collateral
- Material for special programs like The Honors Academy
- Promotional videos
- Email and e-newsletter templates
- Flyers, inserts, posters and other collateral material
The previous Lutheran West logos were clearly modeled after the Wisconsin Badgers and University of Texas logos, respectively.
Environmental Photography Sketches
As a first step in collecting inspirational material for the new logo, we photographed the interior of the school and used the architecture as a jumping off point. We then developed additional concepts that related to the other features of the school: community, spiritual life and empowered students.
These initial logo concepts were presented to key Lutheran West personnel as a starting point for discussion.
Logo, Tagline & Identity Materials
Once the direction was determined, the final logo was developed and implemented into the identity system. A tagline was developed to define the core Lutheran West message:
Inspiring Scholarship, Faith and Community
This tagline relates to the Lutheran West promise and can be used to further explain the promise’s 6 key principles. The tagline is also outcome-based in that it can be specifically applied to a student that has been through the Lutheran West program.
Lutheran West’s color pallet was primarily red, black and grey. For brand continuity, we kept these as the primary colors. The color pallet was extended to include secondary, tertiary and complementary colors. These additional colors speak both to the physical and community environment of the school. The colors also help to soften the stark red and black of the primary colors.
Brand Standards Guidebook
A brand standards guidebook was created to clearly define the different ways the mark and logotype can be used. This is a key component to ensuring brand consistency.
Photo & Video Shoot
Lutheran West students did not like the fact that current marketing materials featured photos of old students instead of current photography. We coordinated a full-day photo and video shoot to begin updating the Lutheran West image library. Lutheran West is fortunate to have talented staff members who lent their abilities to this project. We worked with Kurt Maechner, teacher at Lutheran West, to capture raw footage and audio for a series of Lutheran West promotional videos. Kurt then produced final videos, a sample of which can be seen here.
Web Site Design & Development
The Lutheran West web site needed an upgrade in both brand messaging and technology. The current site was built with a combination of Adobe Flash and Microsoft Active Server Page (ASP) technology. Flash is poor both for search engine optimization (SEO) and universal access reasons. ASP has been upgraded by Microsoft with the .NET framework.
Again, Lutheran West is fortunate to have staff members who supported key functionality of the current site. After researching a number of content management systems (CMS), Saremo recommended utilizing Kentico as the platform for developing the new web site.
The next step was to outline the entire site and create wireframes of page content. This is a crucial step in the process; a solid roadmap ensures success and reduces redundancy in workflow processes.
Besides being a robust CMS, the new site offers increased functionality and scalability, while it also brings the visuals consistent with the rest of the Lutheran West brand. Importantly, the site also functions now as a true marketing component and lead generator.
The 8-page overview brochure that tells the Lutheran West story and further extends the brand message. It includes a spread on The Honors Academy, the curriculum tract for high-achieving students.
Environmental Graphics and Signage
The Lutheran West entrance way is obviously the first impression for visitors to the school. The foyer was brown brick with numerous holes and an old pay phone back. There was a small sign that was often covered up by students gathering in the foyer. The doors and windows were covered with student posters and advertisements. We modified the entrance and foyer to liven up the area, increase visual impact and bring the entrance in line with the look and feel of the rest of the school.
Using colors from a new addition to the school, we painted the back wall, overhead octagon and soffit areas. We then produced graphics for the front doors and a logo for the soffit. Finally, we created oversized banners that were then hung in the foyer. As they are ceiling mounted, the banners are not covered up by people congregating in the area. Lutheran West added track lighting to spotlight the banners and increase dramatic impact.
Additional digital, environmental and print collateral was developed for Lutheran West. Email templates, banner stands and even simple inserts for church bulletins extend the LW brand message.