How we helped a school find a new campaign direction

Learn how we leveraged campaign data and a new strategic direction to help a longtime client reach prospective families with a fresh and powerful message.


Hillfield Strathallan College (HSC) is one of Canada’s largest co-ed independent day schools, welcoming over 1,200 students to their 50-acre campus in Hamilton, Ontario each day. They offer personalized learning through Junior, Montessori, Middle, and Senior Schools along with exceptional extra-curricular activities. Their 18 month to 18 year continuum is unique in all of Hamilton.


HSC and Metric have run years of successful recruitment campaigns together. Our existing campaign had been successfully optimized, expanded, and improved over a few years – but after some changes in the market, and with a new strategic direction for the school, we knew we had an opportunity to leverage all of this knowledge to create a new campaign for a new chapter at HSC. When HSC approached us about working on a refreshed recruitment campaign together, we jumped at the chance.

HSC was looking for a more modern message to reach new audiences – something that spoke to their leadership position, their commitment to innovation and technology, and their ‘four schools, one college’ pathway that offers students an exceptional experience as they progress through specialized school levels within the larger umbrella of HSC. We especially wanted to help them find a marketing message that would resonate with potential middle and high school students and their families.


As one of the only schools in their area offering Pre-K to Grade 12 in both Montessori and traditional academic streams, they had a great story to tell – and years of being in-market together offered a rich history of data and insights we could draw from.

Competitors in the region focused on character development and academic achievement – but HSC could uniquely own a more holistic position, speaking to personal growth and development, leadership, and making a positive impact on the world.

Our new campaign message – What’s Next – was developed to speak to prospective families and other target audiences on multiple levels. 

  • First, we wanted to highlight that HSC offers a pathway between four schools that literally guides each student to what’s next. What’s Next at HSC happens when students are prepared for each step along the way – from 18 months to 18 years and far beyond.

  • We also wanted to show that HSC is what’s next, speaking to their commitment to innovation, technology, and excellence. As a school, HSC is always looking ahead to the skills and knowledge that will be valuable to universities and to employers and they are continuously evolving teaching and learning approaches according to the very latest ideas in education.

  • It also speaks to families who are looking to make a change – especially at a middle school level. When they might be wondering what’s next for their child’s education, we want them to know that what’s next is HSC.

  • Finally (and most importantly), we wanted to center HSC students – because THEY are what’s next, ready to take on any challenge while they’re at school and far, far beyond. 

All of this is captured in two short words that are full of energy, underlined by the shape of an arrow – which also calls back to illustrated arrows in HSC’s existing recruitment campaign.

Visually, we wanted to focus on showcasing HSC students pursuing their passions – on the sports field, in the music room, and in other places on campus – in a striking photojournalism-inspired style that really stood out from HSC’s competitors. We applied HSC’s signature recognizable brand colours to the concept creative overall, and tied in other brand elements. In the final ads, we show the HSC shield supporting the student from behind – encouraging them to look ahead to their futures while staying grounded in where they've come from.

Our campaign headlines used dynamic, confident statements from a student perspective: See What I’ll Do, Watch Where I’ll Go, We Are What’s Next. Together with the bold visuals and photography, it tells the story of students who are going somewhere – launched by a school that equipped them for success from that very first day on campus.


The refreshed HSC recruitment campaign has been in market since October 2023. Since then, we’ve seen excellent results:

  • Campaign leads overall increased by 35% year over year

  • Paid advertising channels brought in 10% more users to the website compared to last year

  • Search campaign impressions decreased by 53% while the click through rate increased by 98% – indicating the campaign is targeting the right audience and the ads are resonating with users, encouraging them to take the next steps

  • Similarly, we saw paid social impressions decrease by 41.% while the click through rate increased by 48%

“We've been partnering with Metric for years, and this latest campaign has truly been a game-changer. With a strategic focus on Middle School recruitment, we needed a fresh approach. Metric understood our vision from the get-go and delivered beyond our expectations.

Their expertise in crafting a modern, compelling message that resonates with our target audience has been invaluable. The 'What's Next' campaign not only captures the essence of our institution but also speaks directly to prospective families and students, guiding them towards a brighter future with HSC.

The results speak for themselves – a significant increase in open house leads, improved engagement and a noticeable uptick in click-through rates. Metric's strategic insights and creative execution have truly set us apart in a competitive market.

We couldn't be happier with the outcome of our collaboration and look forward to continued success together. Metric has been instrumental in helping us shape the next chapter of HSC's journey.”

Sheriann Heath-Johnston, Director of Enrolment Management

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