Since 1925, Tanglin Trust School (Tanglin) has been educating a diverse cohort of students in Singapore, and now, 92 years later, close to 2,800 students and a staff of more than 600 are fortunate to call this school home. We recently interviewed Mr. Peter Derby-Crook, CEO, along with his stellar marketing team to get a look inside their latest successful marketing and communication initiatives.
With the growth of international schools in Singapore, Mr. Derby-Crook commented that Tanglin "no longer could be complacent and realized we had to fine tune our messaging to showcase our quality that permeates across all areas of the school. From our academics, marketing and communications, to how visitors are greeted at a reception, to print materials and our online presence, we wanted to look at every facet to insure that it met our high standards."
Their first step was to engage a local consultant to help with their rebranding effort. One key element of this process was to engage the entire community and use this feedback as a foundation for crafting their new message. One major change was an update to their logo to make it more crisp and relevant while also showcasing the tagline: "Generations of Excellence". Furthermore, the three key values, "Respect, Responsibility and Purpose", were articulated to truly define the essence of Tanglin. "Our website redesign followed our rebranding exercise as our website did not reflect our new brand and messaging," Mr. Derby-Crook stated. "And even more importantly, our old website was not as distinctive and certainly did not reflect the visions we had for our school's future."
He wanted their new website, created in partnership with Finalsite, to bring to life their school's vision: "We aspire to be the best school in the world, with a dynamic learning community which nurtures and inspires every individual to be the best they can be."
From all signs, Tanglin's new website achieved these goals. The site not only captures a visitor's attention on the homepage but the design flair and attention to detail, well-crafted content and vibrant imagery throughout the site invoke emotion and encourages visitors to further engage with the school.
Mr. Derby-Crook and his team, consisting of Fiona Shaw, Marketing and Communications Director; Nur Firzillia, Communications (Technical) Executive; Caroline Patterson, Content Producer; and Lizzie Brewin, Personal Assistant to the CEO, should be commended on their stunning new website.
1. They collaborated with other departments to move redesign project along.
Tanglin had a very intensive, eight-month build period which turned out to be practically a full-time project for the team. During this time, the team worked closely with faculty, admissions, and other business teams to improve the user journey for various sections of the website, as well as develop existing content and create new content. Content Producer Caroline Patterson remarks, "It was important for us to understand the information visitors to our website required, and then to make this easily accessible by reducing the number of pages on the site. We began working with staff across the school early in the re-design process to review the existing content and to ensure specific information on the new website was relevant, concise and up-to-date."
Ms. Shaw summarized: "The new site is visually appealing, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly and engaging. Furthermore it gives a clear sense of the culture of our school and emotional insight into our community and what we offer." Throughout the site, visitors are presented with attractive calls-to-action for admissions providing prospective families a clear path for learning more about the school. The school has noticed a substantial increase in inquiries, registrations for open mornings as well as campus tours and applications. Nur Firzillia, Communications (Technical) Executive, takes a keen view of the website analytics. "Based on a recent study, visitors to our curriculum pages have doubled since the site launch, bounce rates have dropped by at least 30 percent, and the number of school tours booked online has increased significantly. We were also delighted to record a high number of registrations to our recent Nursery Open Morning, with the website supporting an extensive Admissions team effort."
With Finalsite's Forms Manager, forms have been embedded throughout the site to encourage visitors to easily take action.
The new site also helps families looking to relocate to Singapore gain a more authentic understanding of all the great qualities the school possesses both in and out of the classroom.
Ms. Shaw also highlighted that parent feedback has been positive as it is much easier to navigate and the content easier to digest.
2. They kept their website engagement in mind throughout the process.
Like all the activities going on at a busy international school, a school's website should be a living testament to the daily vibrancy of a school. Tanglin is committed to keeping their site up-to-date by utilizing Finalsite News Manager where the school posts regular articles about the community. "There are many tools that we can utilize to showcase the variety of activities taking place across the school in real time. News Manager enables us to provide more detailed information on school activities, events and announcements, and we can include photo galleries and videos. This gives our visitors a real insight into what it is like to be part of the Tanglin community", adds Caroline Patterson.
The 'Week in Photos', created with Finalsite Posts, is also a great tool for attracting parents to the site.
One page that really stood out during our interview was the History of the School which is content rich, engaging and also interactive. Mr. Derby-Crook stated, "Everyone that visits the site is impressed by our rich history and how it has been visually documented both as a timeline and with photos. We are very proud of our rich heritage."
3. They integrated a solid social media strategy to complement the new site.
Social media is a key component of Tanglin's marketing and one in which they want to further develop. They currently use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube at the whole school level, while using Facebook and Instagram to showcase their robust community as well as drive traffic to their admission's page.
They also cleverly use Twitter for year groups and faculty/department channels to enable these groups to also have a voice and stay connected, in line with the school's social media policy.
4. They trusted a knowledgeable project management team at Finalsite.
Tanglin was assigned a Finalsite project manager, designer and developer based in Finalsite's office outside of London. "Finalsite was very responsive," said Nur Firzillia, "and we found using the online project management tool easy to use and good for dialogue. We were able to track project milestones, log any concerns and communicate with the support and design teams." Lizzie Brewin added "Overall, Finalsite was supportive and kept the project moving so that we could meet our deadlines, very important for a busy school and Communications team."
5. They are continuing to strategize for 2018.
"Finalsite is a great platform for video," Ms. Shaw said, "and we are looking to further develop the use of video in our site. Since the site launched just several months ago, we want to fine tune various content pieces and also marry it up more with our content marketing strategy. We are also looking more closely at our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to see how we can improve upon it as well."
Mr. Derby-Crook was interested to hear about the feedback he would receive from potential faculty on his upcoming recruitment trip. He had already been told by potential staff how valuable the information on the website was and how impressive the school is.
The Tanglin team should be proud of their successful rebranding and website redevelopment, which illustrates their Generations of Excellence and commitment to their core values of Respect, Responsibility and Purpose. They are well positioned to continue this tradition!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As part of Finalsite's marketing team, Debbie has worked with international schools for the past 7 years while living in both Asia and Europe. From conference planning and presentations, to association events, and client success stories, she helps schools understand how they can maximize their web presence while partnering with Finalsite. In her free time she enjoys traveling and attending events at her children's school in Berlin, Germany.