The mission of Brooke Weston Trust (BWT) is to “transform educational performance across our local communities”. Based in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire, BWT has 10 state primary and secondary schools which collectively educate more than 7,000 students each year. From pre-school to sixth form, the Trust has expertise in all areas of 3-18 education.
The Trust identified a requirement for “a more coherent communications strategy to ensure: the promotion of our ‘brand’ is clear and visible within the communities in which we operate; the schools and Trust are using up-to-date technologies to communicate with our stakeholders; and our messages are in keeping with what our stakeholders expect from us”
BWT therefore sought two areas of external support:
To identify and evaluate current perceptions of the Trust amongst internal and external stakeholders through both qualitative and quantitative research.
To develop a two-year communications strategy and action plan to support the Trust’s business objectives and understanding of the BWT brand.
Athene Communications was appointed to deliver this requirement in August 2016 following a competitive tender.
Research was undertaken in September and October 2016 amongst over 200 BWT senior leaders, teachers, professional and administrative/support staff and governors; as well as a representative group of external stakeholders deemed important to the Trust’s reputation.
Our research was qualitative (comprising in-depth, face-to-face or telephone, discussions and exploration) and quantitative (comprising surveys) in approach. The research tested perceptions of the Trust’s role, the Trust’s benefits and impact, and the Trust’s approach to stakeholder communications and engagement.
We analysed and presented our research in a comprehensive summary report including an executive summary, context, methodology, and key findings – general and segmented by audience – and outline themes for consideration.
These considerations were discussed with BWT’s executive team at a workshop. They were then refined, further developed, and formalised into a two-year communications strategy informed by a wider communications audit. The strategy covered: objectives, target audiences, key messages, tactics, measurement and evaluation, delivery plan, a flow of information chart, and an audience and relationship matrix.
The strategy, and delivery plan, is now being implemented by the Trust’s in-house communications team.
The outputs of this work provided BWT with:
- Increased awareness and understanding of how the Trust is currently perceived amongst key stakeholder groups: internally – amongst senior leaders, teachers, professional and administrative/support staff and governors; and externally – amongst a representative group of target stakeholders who are deemed to be especially relevant and important to the Trust’s reputation.
- Insight on stakeholders’ existing views, thoughts and feelings about the ‘value’ of BWT (as a Trust, as an employer and as a partner organisation) – and a clear measure of engagement in the Trust’s vision and values.
- Intelligence on what stakeholders want to know about the Trust (especially what matters to them), the ‘added value’ benefits they are gaining or would like to gain from BWT, and how and when they would like to receive communication going forward.
- An overarching Trust ‘reputation’ strategy and marketing communications action plan – which support the Trust’s key strategic priorities (as identified in its business plan).
- Increased awareness of, and engagement among, target stakeholders in the mission of BWT (through the process of this consultation).