Improving Schools By Attracting "Change Makers" To Teaching

Research shows a highly effective teacher can overcome many of the issues facing classrooms today, such as poor student performance. For this reason, the Bush Foundation partnered with 14 Midwest universities and provided $40 million to transform teacher-preparation programs. Bush chose Padilla Speer Beardsley to help the partnership develop its name and brand, and create an umbrella marketing strategy to reach "change makers" — those with the qualities and characteristics that make for great teachers.

After naming the partnership, "Network for Excellence in Teaching," or NExT, Padilla created a brand identity designed to appeal to both students and educators. Focus groups with students led to a two-phase marketing strategy. First, an online viral video contest asked current students and teachers to tell us why they were passionate about teaching. This helped identify the relevant key messages that would resonate with students and begin creating buzz about the new program.

Phase two included an integrated multimedia campaign. Two award-winning television spots, a Facebook page, online advertising and publicity all worked together to drive people to an interactive website where viewers could take a quiz asking "Are You Wired to Teach?" and also learn more about the NExT program and link to participating universities.

The campaign garnered nearly 380 million media impressions, including 15,800 unique visitors to the NExT website. The contest alone earned more than 23 million impressions, and the website has received more than 20,000 page views and more than 7,000 visits.

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