Brand and Communications Support

Brand is a critical driver of organizational alignment. While strategy plans, program delivers, and culture reacts— brand expresses it all, serving as a tool to help all your stakeholders, internal and external, pull together.

Creative determines whether your brand will survive—or thrive.

“Creative is the least important, most important department” says Don Draper—and he’s right. Often treated as the “end of the line”—a place to announce institutional decision-making—savvy managers and administrators know that communications is the beginning of how your ideas impact your audience, stakeholders, and (dare we say) customers. Communications strategy is incredibly important, but it can be lost in an instant of poor execution.

For most independent schools and colleges, the right place to start is with a communications audit. We’ll review your communications—content, format, strategy, and structure—to help identify new opportunities for greater alignment and effectiveness for your whole organization. Admission and advancement are clear foci of an audit effort since those departments manage the “promise” of your organization to its constituencies… but we also examine the supporting documents and internal communications that help or hinder your ability to deliver on that promise. This match between promise and performance, between expectation and experience, is the essence of brand.

Crisis Communications

Aptonym offers extensive expertise in balancing the legal, ethical, and brand considerations of crisis communications

Most school communications simply mimic other schools—but brand is about difference. Let us help you express yours.

  • We know how to bridge the gap between planning and execution, business and creative—and we know how to create new, high quality, clutter-busting ideas that set you apart and deliver results. We’re happy to work with your internal team, or if they need extra support we have a network of outstanding creatives on which to draw. Our work has won a countless awards, but more importantly it’s delivered thousands of increased efficiencies, hundreds of thousands of applicants, and hundreds of millions in donations. Examples of communications and creative projects we’ve performed for schools:

    • Interim Communications Director and CMO support.
    • Comprehensive communications audits and competitive analysis.
    • School magazine redesign, adding an issue and doubling of total page count—at a lower cost.
    • Brand promise, essence, and visual identity design.
    • Social media strategy and technology workflow.
    • Design of creative process workflow, maximizing output with the fewest possible resources.
    • Brand design for intra-campus program marketing (e.g., inclusion, sustainability, professional development, strategic priorities).
    • Campaign communications strategy, case statements, video series, content, and material support.
    • Templates designed to deliver great customer experience combined with efficient administrative processing.
    • Efficiency development via digital asset management systems (on the cheap), appropriate equipment specification, strategies for in/outsourced production processes, and project portfolio management systems.
    • Effective nametags—an important, time consuming, and almost-always-overlooked design challenge.
    • Reimagined annual fund materials, ranging from high level annual fund messaging strategy to the details of direct mail and electronic solicitation components.
    • Rebuild of college profile—a document that singularly represents your institution to what might be considered its primary customers.
    • Internal communications design, creating an effective strategy of email, newsletters, intranet materials, and printed documents.
    • Website and intranet redesign with new content management, form engines, and email integrations included.
    • Rebuild of “back to school” intake and onboarding process.
    • Electronic form systems, ranging in complexity from event registration to course registration materials to full-scale electronic attendance/signout systems.
    • Crisis communications support.

    Contact us. We’d love to talk about your project.