Los Angeles, CA
Archer was born in 1995 when three searching mothers asked themselves, “What if we could create the exact school where our daughters would thrive?” Then they took away the “what if” and turned their vision into an ambitious, joyful learning environment that makes anything possible for a girl. But despite the school’s measurable success, routinely sending graduates to many of the finest colleges and universities in the country, a significant portion of L.A.’s elite families considered Archer “too young and contemporary” while many progressive families falsely equated “all-girls” with “old-fashioned.”
Our team quickly arrived at two related realizations. First, Archer could compete based on its own strengths rather than play by the established L.A. rules. Instead of occupying the middle ground between old-guard and new-age, Archer could establish an altogether new axis on which the school could stand out. Second, and the biggest surprise to Archer stakeholders: the school’s defining features weren’t, as many assumed, simply gender and culture, but rather pedagogy, culture, and gender— in that order. We taught community members to use this P-C-G hierarchy when explaining the school to prospects as a way to both establish a shared lexicon and to directly dispel the myth that girls’ schools are academically soft or primarily about comfort and community. Highlighting Archer’s unique brand of girl-centric pedagogy and culture could establish the school’s rightful position in the competitive L.A. market.
What if?—these two words, we realized, open the conversation about Archer’s difference in an utterly natural and evocative way. We began by developing a series of pointed What if? questions that allow the reader to imagine the experience girls have at Archer that they couldn’t receive anywhere else. The questions, in each case, were then followed by: What if you could take away the what if? At Archer, what if becomes she can.
Archer exemplifies the positive transformation that comes from authentic brandwork: doubled attendance at open houses and parent coffees, an immediate 10%+ enrollment increase, a heartened faculty, and an exciting new buzz through L.A.
The sheer unity the branding program has given us–not to mention the abundance of new students–has had an amazing impact on our school already, even after only a year.
head of school