How We Helped a Military School Redefine Themselves as More

Private Schools Marketing

Learn how we helped a boarding school for boys increase enrollment by redefining and repositioning their brand.


Founded in 1907, Riverside Prep is a private boarding school in Gainesville, Georgia that offers a military model of education to bring out the best in young men from 6th to 12th grade. They focus on – and have a proven track record of – unlocking students' potential, fostering exemplary character development and preparing young men for a lifetime of leadership, excellence and brotherhood.



Riverside Prep (formerly Riverside Military Academy) was facing a challenge that many military model schools do: namely, the uninformed perception that their school was only meant for boys who are interested in joining the military or who were struggling and in need of a more disciplined environment. This misconception limited Riverside Prep’s audience and prevented the school from introducing prospective families to their outstanding academic, athletic and leadership programs – well suited for a wide range of young men who seek adventure, brotherhood and challenge in a structured and supportive environment.

To help Riverside Prep increase enrollment, we needed to shape and share the message that their military model school is beneficial to all boys, regardless of their career aspirations. We wanted to show families the innate potential in their sons that Riverside Prep can help bring out, and that the structure and challenging experiences Riverside Prep offers will equip young men with the essential skills they need to succeed in all aspects of life – wherever they go and whatever they choose to pursue. 


Through our campaign development research, we knew our audiences were seeking an educational experience that would push their sons to the next academic level, develop strong morals and leadership skills, and reinforce the value of consistent structure. To do so, our creative team put their best ideas forward to create a visually striking campaign concept that would first catch the eye of prospective families – then hook them with messaging to encourage action.

Excellent foundational brand messaging work conducted by our friends at EdwardsCo – and clearly-defined goals of driving families to inquire, begin their application, or register for Open House events – led us to develop a campaign that would feel personal to every family’s goals for their sons’ next educational adventure.

Prospective parents want their boys to leave Riverside Prep as skilled, well-rounded, employable young men who have developed a desire to push themselves. Our families believe their sons’ personal growth can be discovered through challenge and camaraderie. With this in mind, we developed the campaign concept, “Boys Will Be.”


Our concept of "Boys Will Be" seeks to showcase the potential within each student and redefine what boys can become. In building this concept, we are reclaiming the often-negative expression “boys will be boys” to mean something new and something positive. By adjusting its tone and replacing a word, these headlines invite prospective students and their families to want to discover their full potential at Riverside Prep.

Our primary campaign headline – “Boys Will Be Brothers” – embodies what every student at Riverside will gain as a result of his experience. In other targeted ad placements, the word “brothers” is interchanged to include other views of what boys at Riverside will become:

  • Boys Will Be Brothers

  • Boys Will Be Leaders

  • Boys Will Be Explorers

  • and so on

By changing one word in our dynamic headline – and the accompanying photos – we are able to create an impactful and memorable campaign while also highlighting the multitude of leadership and out-of-classroom opportunities graduates of Riverside will have had by the time they graduate. 

This campaign was executed over existing digital and social channels – including Google Search, Google Display, Google Smart, Google Discovery, Facebook and Instagram – as well as new channels like Bing, YouTube, Amazon DSP and Spotify. Each one of these measurable ad placements contained messaging tailored to specific audiences and specific stages of their customer journey, and directed them to a new landing page built for Riverside Prep’s new recruitment campaign. 

The landing page includes high-level information about Riverside, serving to introduce families to the school and encourage them to take the next step in their customer journey, using “Inquire Now” as our primary call-to-action (CTA). 

The landing page – and all of our ads – made use of strong photography provided by Riverside Prep to highlight the school’s programs and differentiators. Throughout all campaign touchpoints, we worked to balance photography that showed students in moments of military stoicism, academic excellence, deep brotherhood and high-action adventure – representing a full picture of the holistic, rigorous educational experience they’ll find at Riverside Prep.


Our full campaign launched in early 2023 and is still in market. Please check back to hear about the full results!

“Metric Marketing has become an extension of the Academy and especially our marketing team. Our partnership is one of shared goals and trust. Although our campaign has only been in market for a few months, we are already seeing evidence that our fine-tuned message is reaching, not just users, but students who seek mentorship, brotherhood, and academic achievement – which is what we offer.

Valarie Reeves, Director of Marketing/PR
Riverside Prep

Discover the difference we’ve made at other private and independent schools here or learn how we can help your school by contacting us today!

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