Learn how we helped Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) shake up the education scene in Calgary with their innovative new hybrid school: STAND. From concept to execution, we took an idea and worked with the STS team to create a brand identity, landing page, and digital campaign – all in the name of innovation.
Located in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) is an independent school well known for their longstanding commitment to excellence in academics, leadership, and character. With a sprawling 220-acre natural campus and cutting-edge facilities, STS provides K-12 students with the tools they need to become confident, well-rounded individuals who approach challenges with curiosity and determination.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Canada in early 2020, it disrupted traditional ways of learning, leaving many students struggling to adapt to remote education. As we pivoted and adapted to remote and hybrid ways of teaching and learning, some students struggled – but others thrived. The leadership at STS realized that students want to learn in ways that work for them.
Research shows adults are more productive when given the option of how they want to work. Some choose traditional in-office environments, some thrive in fully remote environments, and others do their best work (and live their best lives) in a more flexible environment that accommodates their unique preferences and circumstances. Teens are no different – and if a new world of hybrid work and flexible schedules awaits them after graduation, why not start them early?
Unfortunately, there wasn't a program on the market that offered in-person collaboration and learning, with a flexible hybrid schedule that prioritized academic growth. STS saw an opportunity to innovate and create something truly game-changing: a school of the future.
This school – located one day a week at the Platform Calgary and four days a week whenever students learn best – focuses on giving teens the opportunity to specialize in programs like Sustainability and Stewardship, Design Technology, Computer Science, and Digital Arts in a flexible, hybrid environment.
The STS team approached Metric and asked us to work with them on a name, along with a brand identity and accompanying campaign – a project we were incredibly excited to jump into.
To create something truly innovative, we knew we needed to start by thoroughly assessing the brand, the education industry, and the remote learning industry – as well as potential competitors (including fully online schools, homeschool, magnet programs, and families who were doing their best to make it work in traditional school settings). Interestingly, there wasn't anything like this in Alberta or even in Canada, and the industry was just waiting for something like this to come along.
Our research – and insights from the STS team – determined that the potential target audiences for a school like this were incredibly diverse, including:
Elite athletes with intensive training and travel schedules (including hockey, dance, golf, and many other sports)
Actors or artists who are accommodating work and rehearsal schedules
Students dealing with social anxiety or other challenges who do better in remote or hybrid ‘classrooms’
Students balancing school with work or post-secondary opportunities
Students who are immunocompromised and require a mostly-remote learning environment
Students who see themselves pursuing careers in tech, entrepreneurship, or other fields that will require them to be successful in a hybrid environment
We also know that teens are becoming increasingly involved in the process of choosing their own school experiences. For this reason, we needed to build a brand that would appeal to both parents and teens.
Armed with this knowledge, we developed a unique brand that would set STS apart from the rest – and launch a new category of school into the Alberta market for the very first time.
To do that, we started with the main STS school’s existing “Say YES” campaign, and this became our launching point. We evolved it into the perfect messaging and positioning for their new school: The School of Yes. But we didn't stop there. We took inspiration from the world of improv, where the phrase "yes, and..." is used to keep the story going and build upon each other's ideas. We wanted to bring that same collaborative spirit to STAND, encouraging students to not only say "yes" to their futures, but to also embrace the power of "and" to expand their options and possibilities. The idea of ‘yes’ would be particularly impactful for students who have often been told ‘no’ within a traditional school setting.
STAND: The School of Yes, And…
This is where the STAND name and brand was born. By combining “STS” with the word "and," we created a brand that emphasized collaboration, innovation, forward-motion, and flexibility.
Imagine the excitement and creativity that comes with launching a brand new school – that's exactly what we experienced when bringing STAND to life in partnership with the STS team.
We knew from the start that our strategy had to be reflected in every aspect of the brand, starting with the logo. We even included the ampersand symbol as part of the logo to drive home the "and" message.
When it came to colours, we looked to the main STS school’s marketing – especially their “Say YES To The Future" marketing assets – for inspiration. We chose their existing bold, neon green as our primary brand colour, and added a palette of purples and teals to make the brand feel fresh, new and exciting for both parents and teenagers.
Our font choices were also clean, modern and unexpected – reinforcing the innovative feel of the brand.
We thought of everything, even down to the new school’s potential new uniform. We wanted to show the client exactly what this new school was going to look like from a higher perspective. We branded sample water bottles, notebooks, stickers, tees – basically everything a brand would need to establish itself in a teen’s world – all while keeping our brand strategy of “yes, and…” front and centre.
With no photos of the school or its students available yet, we opted for a text-heavy, modern geometrical approach for STAND’s first ever marketing campaign. This allowed us to play around with text movement, placement, and copy to bring the campaign to life. The fast-paced videos and clean design were meant to convey the excitement and energy of the brand. Every decision we made was intentional. From colour choices to fonts, copy and layout, we aimed to create a brand that truly represented the future of education. The school of the future – and whatever comes next. The school of yes, and…
This recruitment campaign for STAND has been in market for one admissions season, leading into the school’s opening in Fall 2023. Here are a few data highlights from our campaign so far:
- 13,000+ UNIQUE VISITORS to the campaign landing page
- 200+ admissions INQUIRIES
- 11 full-time students ADMITTED for the school’s first year
We’re looking forward to working with the teams at STAND and STS to plan for their second school year.