Ipswich School brand development work by Mackman

Branding & Marketing Project - Ipswich School

Mackman was approached in the early spring of 2019 by Ipswich School to review its marketing, brand and open day proposition. A thorough programme of insight, strategy and planning was conducted before working closely with the head of marketing to progress their position in the marketplace. This was a significant step for the school, as they had previously outsourced work to multiple agencies.

Our challenge was to maintain the heritage of the school while progressing their messaging and brand identity. Over time both internal stakeholders and third-party agencies had diluted their visual language and material. Staff and teachers had become confused with the school's marketing and needed clear direction of the brand's values and promise to its audiences.

Academic & Education



  • Ipswich School was established circa 1399, with notable alumni including Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry Staunton and Ian Hendry.
  • They are consistently ranked in the top 150 schools nationwide based on their excellent academic results.
  • The school is committed to providing events, networks, volunteering opportunities and key fundraising initiatives to support their community. 
  • Ipswich School already had a strong and established brand, but were looking to engage the services of a full-service marketing agency to take them to the next level.
  • They approached Mackman with two key aims: one being to launch a tailored campaign to encourage prospective students to attend the September Open Day, and the other being to bolster their market position through a comprehensive brand development programme.


Creating extraordinary futures

In January 2019, Peter Gray, Director of Marketing at Ipswich School, invited Mackman to tender for a brand development project. Peter explained that he wanted a young demographic to sit up, listen, and engage. Mackman was carefully selected from a pool of leading regional agencies, and we were perfectly placed to help. In the past we have worked successfully with several educational institutions, particularly focusing around driving public interest in events such as intake and open day campaigns.

As part of our rapid response, our solutions needed to consider the needs of multiple stakeholders within the school, as well as prospective students, parents, and local businesses. Peter was concerned with using Ipswich School’s existing resources more effectively, in the form of collateral as well as personnel. Peter was about to retire, so he wanted to leave the school in the best possible shape.


Showcasing academic excellence

Nick Weaver, the Headmaster, wanted the school's outward image to reflect its status as a leading independent provider of private education. The great pride he took in the school’s educational offering and achievements needed to be communicated to the public.

Moira Bryan, Ipswich School's Communications Manager, needed templates and toolkits that were standardised so that she and her colleagues could ensure the output among all departments was on-brand. This emphasis on organisational unity was a key aspect of the brand development project, and required a clear set of brand guidelines to manage consistency.

Meanwhile, Natasha Sones, Digital Communications Manager, had to be able to content manage the Ipswich School website without going to an agency every time changes needed to be made. Not only was each action taken by the agency billable, but it also took valuable time. It was identified that this process should be streamlined through a flexible website solution, and for Ipswich School to be in control of their own content management system.

  • What do you offer?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • How do you deliver on your goals?
  • Who are your competitors?

Tone of Voice: Developing consistency of language

We worked together with staff at the school to form key messages which must be conveyed each and every time they speak or communicate with both the internal and external world. These reflect the Ipswich School vision to be the leading independent school in Suffolk, embodying the statements:

  • Where passion creates success
  • Creating extraordinary futures
  • Turning potential into reality

photography: Reinforcing the brand messaging

Our Creative Director visited the school to take professional photographs of students for use in all marketing collateral, including the new prospectus. These photographs reflected the image that the school wanted to promote within the community:

  • People know who they are
  • They recognise the Ipswich School brand
  • They associate it with excellence


Our team spent time working with a range of staff at Ipswich School to develop their understanding of where the strengths in the school were and how they differentiated themselves from their competitors. We gained very positive feedback and found that all staff members were invested in the wellbeing of the students. This insight was used as the foundation for both the evolution of their brand alongside developing the marketing communications plan to promote and support the Open Day campaign.

The Results

We continue to work closely with the school’s head and marketing team to ensure consistency in the new branding is maintained. Mackman's digital team conduct regular website performance reviews and hold update meetings with the team at Ipswich School to report progress against targets.

The results were defined as a new brand package consisting of:

  • A brand roadmap allowing the senior team at the school to understand the project's pace and deliverables.
  • A robust marketing strategy and multi-channel plan bridging digital and print.
  • A coherent brand voice and identity including strapline messaging.
  • A professional library of photography giving the school a fresh image for their website, prospectus and other marketing material.
  • A clean new content managed website allowing for campaign landing pages and refreshed brand messaging.
  • An open day campaign platform delivering a 120% increase in attendees against their original target.
  • A clearly defined brand guidelines solution and support framework for managing their brand.

We have been very pleased with Mackman's recent work on logo iterations. They worked methodically through a detailed brief and the end result combines our heritage with a distinctive and engaging design.

Saskia Jordan, Director of Admissions, Marketing & Outreach - Ipswich School
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