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Bank Street College of Education

How do you create cohesion for a brand that offers many distinct programs and offerings? Our research sought answers to that very question. The solution was to create three separate, yet interconnected websites with streamlined messaging and complementary visual elements. Find out how we helped Bank Street rebrand and reorganize their organization's web presence.
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A Progressive Education Pioneer

Bank Street College of Education is a private, non-profit educational institution located in New York City. A diverse organization, Bank Street consists of a premier Graduate School of Education, an on-site independent School for Children, professional development and social programs, and partnerships with school districts, colleges, cultural institutions, hospitals, community service organizations, and educational media corporations. Bank Street is also a well-known pioneer in the field of progressive education and champions a social justice-focused educational philosophy. 

Clarifying the Bank Street Brand

The first step in SAI Digital’s process was to launch a brand strategy initiative focused on distilling the essence of the Bank Street College brand, as well as sub-brands such as the Graduate School of Education and School for Children. The process began with an in-depth research effort which included over 100 interviews and focus groups, a survey, and broad competitor research. The outputs included brand messaging for the organization, as well as multiple dimensions of that message to clearly speak to each key audience.

Distilling the Message for a Complex Organization

The diversity of Bank Street’s services and programs made it difficult for the organization to clearly communicate its value proposition to a diverse range of audiences. The Graduate School of Education had to attract and engage prospective students, competing with other top-tier graduate education programs. The School for Children needed to stand out in the competitive Manhattan independent school market. The range of Bank Street’s professional development programs, consulting and research efforts also needed to be clearly communicated to teachers, school district leaders, and policymakers. The challenge was to distill this organization's complexity into simple and effective messaging.

Digital Strategy and Website Design

For Bank Street College, the former website was the nexus for its digital communication needs to all audiences. Much was being asked of it...too much. The result was an experience that proved difficult to navigate. By trying to communicate too many different messages to too many audiences, the website had become confusing and ineffective. The solution was to create three integrated, but distinct, websites: one each for the Graduate School of Education, the School for Children, and for the organization’s administrative, research, professional development, and consulting services. This approach allowed for a simplified and more focused experience for each key audience. These three websites, or entry points, to Bank Street are integrated to ensure key content can be shared across all and that the site search is able to search all sites or any individually.

Why Bank Street?

A significant component the content strategy we delivered to Bank Street was to implement compelling, inspiring messages that set the organization apart. To answer the question "Why Bank Street?", we provided carefully crafted brand messages to accompany stunning, authentic photography. We art-directed the photo shoots with a professional photographer onsite and made recommendations for images that would complement the website's visual design. The new website messaging clearly articulates the mission of Bank Street, and accompanying photos reinforce the message.

The Results

Launched in Summer 2018, the three new Bank Street websites represent the organization through a refined, consistent, visually appealing approach. According to Chief of Staff Katie Connelly, the site possesses a "fresh, clean look and a simplified structure that will help our audiences navigate the site and learn more about the Bank Street’s important work supporting children, families, and communities."

"All three sites are unified by a cohesive visual brand identity to help key constituents instantly recognize Bank Street out in the world and easily identify the broad scope of our work."
Shara Benison, Assistant Vice President of Communications Bank Street College of Education