Nike of Education
Working inside a school system, I realized that people outside of the school system really don’t understand what makes a school system “good” or “bad”. They think that simply referring to a schools graduation rates constitute whether or not the school is successful or not but those statistics are only a fraction of what really makes or breaks a school. The downfall of relying solely on statistics like these is that a city’s success can be weighed, or determined by referring to its public school system. Big businesses do not want to move to a city where a failing school system lies because this implies that the people of that area are uneducated and therefore, if hired, the workforce would be weak. This is a big problem for cities and yet they combat it with data that does not serve to help its citizens.
This got me thinking that I maybe the school system was facing a branding problem. This may seem like a problem only for big businesses and conglomerates but really, branding issues affect a much larger scope of jobs and professions. The school system in my community did not take the time to shape the image they portrayed and as a consequence, they allowed the public to do so for them. Just like any business that isn’t faring so well, the school system needed a new image, something refurbished and more informed so that the public would respond well to it.
With this thinking in mind, I decided to work with Fresh Start Alternative Elementary Program, an aspect of the school system that I felt I could really help steer in the right image direction. The director saw that many of the problems that faced the school system lied within the elementary school system so, why not create and alternative program where the younger kids can go? He wanted to tackle the problem early and create preventive services rather than intervention services. It’s for more beneficial to fix a problem before it happens than to scramble together to remedy something that could have been avoided sooner. I admired this forward thinking and proactive behavior. I felt the brand should match the attitude and direction the director wanted to g!o in, especially since I saw first hand the kinds problems the school system was facing.
We wanted to make Fresh Start the NIKE of education. Celebrating it’s teachers and leading the pack in innovation. We didn’t want to dwell on the fact that these children had made mistakes, but that we were giving them a fresh start on the right foot. This led to a more appealing print logo and online collateral as well, and environment design initiatives to change the environment of these young children. It was great experience and changed the outlook on how the public understood what the alternative program was all about and the students that attended it.