Oak Hall School has been dedicated to offering students a unique, educational experience for more than 50 years. For students ages 3 through 12th grade, Oak Hall is empowering them to pursue their academic, artistic, and athletic passions and has consistently produced outstanding graduates who are well-prepared for college and successful careers.
Although OHS has the reputation as one of Florida’s premier educational institutions, when approaching PHOS Creative, their online presence and experience was far from “best-in-class.” With the goal of appealing to two unique audiences (current and prospective students and families), the website failed to speak strongly to either. Bogged down with content, the user journey was unclear, and the overall messaging and visual brand were not selling the greatness of who Oak Hall School is. Simply put: the ideal customer was presented with a less-than-ideal user experience. As a result, Oak Hall School had fallen behind their competition.
Over time, the OHS website became a repository rather than a resource. It was more of a formality than an inspirational marketing tool. With a diverse range of content, it was a challenge to know how to prioritize what. Oak Hall needed help identifying what to keep and what to remove while bringing to life a compelling visual brand.VISIT THE WEBSITE
Chiefly, it was our goal to redesign and reactivate a digital presence that aligned to their reputation as a best-in-class school. Beyond that, it was our vision to capture the essence of the OHS brand—a place that isn’t just a school, but a community where students can flourish—so that the greatness of the on-campus experience was felt online.
We instituted a web design that instills trust and confidence in Oak Hall’s target audience. The design elements and messaging work harmoniously to project professionalism, expertise, and reliability—qualities that many people have long associated with Oak Hall as a school but weren’t necessarily reflected in their digital presence.
Greatness exists inside any organization, but over time, it can sometimes get overshadowed and lost as was the case with Oak Hall. In order to amplify the OHS brand, we first needed to take a “keep, combine, or kill” approach to content. In the end, a lot of content needed to go in order to preserve a clear, concise, and compelling user experience.
Ultimately, the essence of the Oak Hall School brand resides in its people. We kept this at the heart of every creative decision, recognizing that Oak Hall is only as strong as their experiences. Whether it was students, parents, or faculty, our approach was to consistently step into their world and discover the unique needs and opportunities of each user group.
During our engagement with Oak Hall School, our focus was on improving the design and experience of the website with a comprehensive approach to learning the best ways to represent OHS. Our full scope of services included messaging and content, a logo refresh, print design, as well as photography and videography.
Before any creative work was done, it was our goal to develop a deep understanding of what makes the OHS brand unique. We dug for insights in our Focus Day with the Oak Hall School team, and our workshop revealed a set of 4 core characteristics of the brand. Together, these attributes would lay a foundation for establishing a purpose-driven brand system that could inform the visuals and develop messaging that resonated with the right audience.
The primary issue with the previous website’s content strategy was that it became too much of a repository for internal needs and, therefore, failed to speak effectively to both prospective and current families. Our new approach was to start thinking of the OHS website primarily as a sales and marketing tool and shift the balance of content to appeal primarily to prospective students and families. With clear objectives for the website solidified, we could make informed decisions on how to structure content, making it clear which audience was to go where.
Our primary goal for Oak Hall in the web design process was to reinforce the school’s position as a leading private education institution in north central Florida. This meant generating curiosity and interest among prospective families, encouraging them to reach out for more information and showcasing Oak Hall’s unique academic, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities. Additionally, the site needed to serve current families of Oak Hall by providing easily accessible resources.
Full Page Navigation
As a robust site with a deep sitemap, it was imperative that the user did not get overwhelmed but had quick, easy access to relevant content. To solve for this, we designed and developed a full-page mega menu that facilitated a clear user journey and introduced empathy with dynamic video content for each navigation item.
Campus Tour Signup
With prospective students and families being our primary audience group, the site needed to provide clear next steps for expressing interest in the school. In our discovery, we learned that the best call to action to engage these students and families was to “schedule a tour.” We elevated this in the user journey through a prominent “VISIT” button and an intuitive tour scheduling landing page.
Current Families Hub
While our content strategy for the site was primarily focused on prospective families, the website still needed to function as a resource for current ones. Our solution was to develop robust, yet focused “hub” pages for each school level — “Lower School,” “Middle School,” and “Upper School.” This helped to provide even greater clarity on where parents should go for relevant downloads, events, and forms.
A unique value proposition for Oak Hall is its beautiful campus, which strongly exudes their brand attributes of vibrant and welcoming. Our goal was to capture the dynamic, friendly energy of the campus and its people, so that Oak Hall’s online presence would be an accurate reflection of what a future student sees and experiences in person. From environmental campus shots to the in-classroom experience, as well as special events and extracurriculars, we developed a robust package of photography that could be strategically implemented throughout the website and other digital marketing outlets.
Like photography, our goal with video was to visually and verbally reflect the exceptional experience that students and their families receive on our campus, ensuring a consistent and high-quality educational and inspirational journey for all who visit the website. Empathy was the key word for us when crafting our videography plan, asking ourselves, “What does a prospective student or parent care about, and how might we use the medium of video storytelling to hit on these curiosities?” This led to the production of three videos that were strategic content and messaging tools on the new website.
The result of this work with Oak Hall School wasn’t just a new and improved website, but an entirely enhanced visual identity and experience that matched Oak Hall School’s already stellar reputation. Our work produced a level of consistency and credibility that the school’s brand was lacking. From video storytelling and photography to print collateral and logo design, Oak Hall School is now equipped with a cohesive package of tools for telling their story with confidence. This has laid the foundation for a more intentional and refined content strategy that cuts the fluff and compels the right audience groups in the right ways. Serving as the primary extension of the brand, not only does the new website reinforce Oak Hall’s position as a best-in-class educational institution, it also streamlines their admissions process, introduces empathy at every level, and removes barriers to engaging with the school.
—Corinna French, Marketing & Communications Coordinator