How We Helped a Private School Get a More Qualified Pool of Candidates

Private Schools Marketing

Discover how a new and impactful creative approach was capable of recruiting key candidates that would stay enrolled through high school and how taking risks through an unexpected campaign helped a school get different results.

Glenlyon Norfolk School is a JK-12 International  Baccalaureate World Continuum School located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - right on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. 

Being a medium-sized independent school, GNS provides plenty of options for students looking to take part in programs and sports, leading to more opportunities for leadership. 

As a school they are moving away from the traditional measure of success (academics alone) and are instead looking to educate and support each child as a unique individual, rather than expecting all students to fit in the same mold.



We needed to help Glenlyon Norfolk School better position themselves in the local market and increase the pool of qualified applicants for the day school, especially from intake years: JK, Grade 6 and 9. It was important to find students and families that would stay enrolled long-term. 

However, there were some challenges that needed to be addressed. First, there was a misconception around IB Continuum education. Many parents think that IB is only a grade 11 and 12 diploma program.  We needed to destigmatize the fact that students don’t need to be highly academic to be enrolled in an IB program. Also some families see private schools as inaccessible and elitis and avoid private schools as a result, while others might not fit in, but accept that discomfort as the price they have to pay to have their children in a school that sets them up well for the future.

On top of that, GNS had run campaigns in the past but never had brand presence across multiple channels and had a lack of reporting from their analytics not being configured which added some data limitations.



After lots of internal research  we obtained valuable information about the market, competitors and audiences. We conducted interviews with GNS staff and their board of directors and were able to identify the opportunities that could help GNS stand out from the competitors and achieve their marketing goals. 

We discovered that this particular market was very focused on school facilities (large campuses, gyms, or dining halls) and recognized that the school’s size and impressive buildings were something that reflected success and a more visible return on investment for parents. This meant that a school’s campus and size was put ahead of the students and having more students was perceived as a benefit to many families. Meanwhile, when class sizes are large it’s harder for schools to recognize students as individuals with potential.

This is where GNS has a huge differential.

GNS puts the student first, with a focus on each individual’s uniqueness, potential and opportunities. Students are prepared to face the future because of who they are and who they have become during all of their school experiences. At GNS teachers call students by name and are able to identify and celebrate their individuality. Every single student is distinctive and has the power to be truly unique.


You understand a student by the content of their backpack. At GNS every student’s backpack content is singular and very unique which demonstrates their individuality and true passions. 

All the digital ads we created drove prospective families to the GNS landing page where interested families could register for open house or contact the admissions office. For this stage of the process, we made it easier for parents to schedule school visits into slots to limit each to 4 families.


It is a common practice in the education industry to use students as the core of a concept.  Thanks to an approach that didn’t require the use of students, we had an excellent response.

Not only has open house attendance increased, but the quality of candidates is remarkably better.

  • Paid search drove 595% new users and 507% increase in sessions to website YoY
  • Clicks increased 16% increased and phone calls increased 66% YoY
  • Paid users drove 147% more conversions to the website


You can learn more about the private and independent schools we’ve helped here, view other marketing campaigns we’ve built and executed here, or click here to learn more about our partnership approach and  discover the difference we can make for your school.

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