Grand Columbus International School is situated in Faridabad, a suburb of Delhi, and is part of the national capital region [ Delhi NCR ]. The School was founded in 1994. It's spread across about 2 acres of land at sector 16, one of the prime locations of Faridabad city.
The approximate strength of Primary, secondary, and senior wing students in 2022 is 1250.
The School has excellent infrastructure. It has a Robo Genius lab for robotics, Atal Tinkering Lab [ ATL ], a vast indoor facility for Table-Tennis, and one of the best science labs in Faridabad are a few of the features of Grand Columbus International School.
The School has about 80+ certified teachers and sports staff for three wings.
In the last 30 years, the School has given 100% results more than twice in the 10th and 12th exams. Their students have won various competitions at district and state-level sports competitions.
Tuition and other fees are relatively higher, as the maximum student base is from the middle and upper middle class. This School attracts students from all over the city, where school buses ply as far as a radius of 10 km.
In its 25th year, Grand Columbus invited School Saarthi to do space designing and makeover of a few public spaces like the reception and waiting area. During our discussion, the promoter also shared their pain points and future aspirations, which were not limited to beautifying the school building. A few of the challenges were as follows.
- After reaching a certain number, new enrollments have stagnated for a few years. Also, there was a high withdrawal rate between the 6th-8th standards. School infrastructure was underutilized due to low enrollments. Moreover, despite new registrations, high withdrawals kept total strength as the previous year.
- With IT companies and MNCs entering Gurgaon and Faridabad, many New-Age schools were coming up in the city. With the privilege of significant infrastructure, new schools could demand high fees, which traditional schools could not. Hence it wasn't easy to meet the standards of new schools.
- Another concern of the promoters was that School management could not increase the fees and other charges to meet the inflation rate. The same was resisted by the existing and new parents whenever the school management proposed hikes.
Stagnated enrollments, withdrawals of students, and resistance of parents have one common issue. Parents did not see enough value in the school, and we broadly concluded it was the problem of branding and positioning in the market. We proposed repackaging the brand. Grand Columbus, and promoters showed their willingness and excitement.
- The foremost requirement of repackaging was a new visual identity for the institution. As the current version lacked the parameters of minimalism, uniqueness, and solidity, our designer came up with four options.
- As the education sector was gearing up for New Education Policy [ NEP ], Schools had to adapt to new teaching methodologies. 21st-century skills for students were at the center when the Ministry of Education designed the New Education policy. Saarthi's team went into many rounds of agreement and disagreements with school leadership and finally drew a three-word positioning statement. ‘Nurturing Future Leaders.’ After that, our team and School leadership were in synch to keep this positioning statement loud and clear in every communication.
- A marketing agency becomes more effective when a school gives the liberty to its marketing team. At our request school bought outdoor media for almost a month. We divided the launch campaign into two phases, the first as anticipation and the second as a launch campaign. Saarthi's team included Outdoor media, English-Hindi dailies, and digital channels to go big in Faridabad city.
- Website, Social Media, Stationary, and Transport branding
A brand repackaging can be considered successful only when it is consistent on all the touch points. In this quest, a new website was designed, and social media channels were filled with new content in a very short span. It was essential to push old branding to the bottom of the social media pages. School Saarthi also designed office stationery like prospectus, welcome books, fee Chart, business cards, etc. School buses also got a makeover; after all, buses ply all over the city, twice a day. Did we miss something?
Low enrollments and high withdrawals were the core issues the school was facing. Our strategy was to claim a clear positioning in the market by repackaging the brand. Though it took some time, our marketing strategy did the same. We did not reveal the name and logo during the anticipation phase, but school management was able to hear the buzz. After a few months, newspapers and school magazines, while reporting on branded schools in Faridabad, Grand Columbus International School was on the list. And it was not PR or paid advertising.
Having fresh and creative content on Facebook and Instagram channels, School was getting praise and engagement from existing and prospective parents. The brand perception was improving, which will eventually help the school in student retention.
During our review and feedback phase, we learned that School counselors experienced increased inquiries. Visiting parents were aware of the school and showed faith in it. The School counselors and managers shared that visiting parents compare their school with the new-age schools. Brand and value perceptions of the school had increased.
Now going forward, it is the job of brand management and marketing.
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