School Marketing and Communications Best Practice
Nanjing International School
March 16-17, 2020

2-Day Agenda

Day 1

Day 1: How to Build a World Class Reputation for your School

While reputation is a very old concept there is a genuine lack of focus and responsibility in schools to build, manage and evaluate it. Reputation should not come to the table only when there is a crisis in a school!

The reputation of an international/private school constitutes its most valuable asset – nothing is more important than building, managing and evaluating reputation. It must be a formal management and Board function, and shape future strategic priorities.

As school audiences become more discerning, and as choice of school becomes more scrutinized, a planned and strategic approach to reputation is increasingly relevant to international schools. Reputation management in schools requires a robust approach that closely aligns what a school says (its marketing) with what it does (reality in delivery).

Dr Holmes has been conference speaking, researching, consulting and measuring reputation specifically in schools around the world for over a decade. This unique interactive workshop will provide a comprehensive toolkit and resource for school marketers and communications and other leadership staff to put reputation management centre stage in their school from the acknowledged and long-standing expert in the field.

This workshop answers many key, but, elusive questions including – What does reputation management look like? How is a good reputation forged? How can it be protected and sustained? How do we communicate a good reputation to stakeholders? What are the components and strategies for reputation measurement? What are best practice examples of reputation management in schools?

Day 1 workshop objectives:
  • What is reputation and what are the drivers of a good reputation?
  • Approaches to build and sustain a first-class reputation for your school
  • Frameworks and tools to build, manage and measure reputation
  • Informed strategies and tools to strengthen whole of staff approach to reputation
  • Techniques to stimulate and build word of mouth and referral
  • Undertake a reputation self-assessment using a renowned reputation tool developed by Dr Holmes (The Reputation Assessor)
  • Best practice metrics and benchmarks for schools to focus on their reputation
Key areas covered include:
  • What is reputation and what is a good reputation to teachers, parents and students?
  • How do marketing and reputation interact and best work together?
  • How to improve reputation through school planning
  • A robust tool to develop, manage and evaluate reputation in an international school.
  • Internal and external strategies international schools can use to build reputation including word of mouth referral.
  • How to make all staff responsible for reputation
  • Key metrics to measure (monitor) reputation over time so reputation can be benchmarked through a reputation plan.

Day 2

Day 2: Differentiate your School: Build a Distinctive and Marketable Identity

Many schools I work with around the world have realised that times have now changed- competition and parent choice have moved marketing and enrolment centre stage.

Schools are also being increasingly scrutinized as they expand their services and seek stronger stakeholder relationships.

In response, the focus on marketing in international schools is growing along with budgets. However, I find growing uncertainty among so many schools as whether the spend is ‘right’ and whether marketing is impacting (ROI) – do you have the right messages and marketing approaches? Is there any meaningful evaluation of marketing activity/practices being done?

Generic marketing (messages) is common in schools. It reverberates and is a direct source of a lack of differentiation and identity between many international schools. What are the components of marketing that work best and impact most in schools?

What do parents most want to hear? School research consistently shows that teachers and teaching quality rises to the top of the list for parents. Most international schools have genuine difficulty in knowing how to market and communicate strength around curriculum, teachers and teaching pedagogy. In the absence of this being incorporated, there is a striking sameness and lack of differentiation about their marketing messages and communications. It is a missed opportunity.

This second day will offer an innovative perspective on how international schools can develop a compelling and cogent market positioning and messages to differentiate their school and create a distinctive identity. This workshop will offer a comprehensive road map to more successful and cost-effective marketing that can be trusted and respected across the school community.

No one has been working longer in school marketing (3 decades) or is better credentialed than Dr Holmes (a PhD in school marketing) to answer this and take participants through what counts most to differentiate and build distinctive and marketable identity in schools.

Day 2 workshop objectives:
  • Approaches to build and sustain a best practice marketing function
  • Frameworks and tools to build, manage and measure marketing
  • Informed strategies and tools to strengthen differentiation and identity
  • Techniques to stimulate and build word of mouth and referral
  • Undertake a review of marketing using a renowned tool developed by Dr Holmes that can be applied to your school
  • Best practice metrics and benchmarks for school marketing
  • How to design, implement and measure a marketing plan for your school.

Key areas covered include:
  • What is best practice in marketing and communications for schools
  • Parent choice- what matters most to parents
  • School identity- self evaluation
  • How to effectively position and differentiate school
  • How to market teachers, curriculum and teaching pedagogy
  • A robust tool to develop, manage and evaluate marketing practice in an
  • international school.
  • Internal and external strategies that can build word of mouth and referral.
  • How to make all staff connected to and responsible for marketing in schools.

Speaker Bio

Dr Stephen Holmes is Principal and Founder of The 5Rs Partnership established in 2004 (

Dr Holmes is widely regarded to be the most experienced, credentialed consultant/facilitator in the world in the related concepts of marketing, reputation management, and strategy for the school sector. Stephen is the only full-time practising consultant in the world with a PhD specific to school marketing.

In the late 1990s, Stephen significantly defined the role of a responsive approach from schools via the 5Rs framework (recruitment, retention, referral, relationships and reputation) in his seminal PhD study on creating a market orientation in schools and school systems.

Now based in Singapore, and with offices also in Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia, Stephen has since consulted, researched, published and spoken globally with schools, colleges and universities at the highest levels with an unmatched client base in breadth and depth spanning three decades. Research evidence has always informed his practice, something that helps to forge trust with education sector clients globally.

In 2018/19 alone, Dr Holmes has been commissioned for major international and independent school projects in each of: Asia, Australia, Africa, UK, Middle East, Europe, South America, the US, UK, and New Zealand. Stephen was the first member of the Council of International Schools (CIS) Consultant Network (preferred consultant status).

With a professional education background in schools spanning teaching, administrator, Board member, and in universities as an academic and executive director of strategy, Stephen brings a unique depth of global insight and culturally grounded sector expertise and perspective to drive development in schools.

Sample Publications 2016-18

Host School

Nanjing International School
Xue Heng Lu 8, Xian Lin University City
Qi Xia District, Nanjing PRC 210023
Tel: +86 25 8589 9111

Hotel Reservation

The host school has recommended the following hotels:

No. 9 Suning Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province (Xuzhuang Software Park, Nanjing)
Tel: +86 (25) 85208888
Fax: +86 (25) 85200066

Notes with hotel reservation:
  • You need to make your own hotel reservation (or for your colleagues who are going to attend the workshop).
  • Transportation will not be provided during the workshop days. You and/or your colleague who registered the workshop will receive a notification email approximately a week before the conference with workshop information and direction to the host school.

Register Here!