Renaissance Learning

Background

Renaissance Learning is a global educational software company working with over 2,500 UK primary and secondary schools. One of the company’s key products is Accelerated Reader which helps schools develop better and more tailored approaches to teaching literacy and reading based on assessing each child’s ‘reading age’. This ensures better engagement from children, while making sure their reading ability is gradually stretched and challenged to enable them to develop.

Brief to CubanEight

Renaissance Learning tasked CubanEight with raising and maintaining its profile across key audiences – teachers, parents and education industry influencers. In addition, Renaissance Learning wanted to convey specific key messages regarding the importance of children reading for pleasure and its core product offering, ultimately positioning the company as experts in the fields of literacy and education. Assisting with specific, quantitative marketing objectives such as improving web traffic and encouraging readers to download its annual What Kids Are Reading report also formed part of the brief.

Campaign strategy

To focus the media on specific angles of debate where Renaissance Learning could offer real insight and expertise, CubanEight devised a strategy which focused on factual, research-based content. This research was largely extricated from existing data that Renaissance Learning held, which CubanEight mined for interesting media angles to support the campaign’s key messages.

Tactics/activity

Analysis of client data – primarily Renaissance Learning’s annual What Kids Are Reading report, which reveals the reading trends of the 300,000 schoolchildren that use Renaissance Learning software. Key media angles were then highlighted that would support campaign messages.

Content creation – a range of media content supported activity including a list of the most popular children’s books and how this differed to the most read books, as well as a news story that focused on the key trends in school reading in 2013 compared to previous years. A further news story was also created focused on research into GCSE-level texts demonstrated they were inaccessible to a wide range of GCSE-aged pupils because of a lower-than-expected reading age in these year groups.

Spokespeople – the campaign included securing independent spokespeople including children’s authors, representatives from organisations including CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and information Professionals) and the National Literacy Trust, and Keith Topping, a Professor of Educational and Social research at Dundee University.

Campaign outcomes

Website traffic increased from 4,406 in 2012 to 4,612 in 2013. On the day the What Kids Are Reading report was launched, web traffic was 68% higher than the day the report was released in 2012.  An article secured on The Guardian’s website was ranked as being the fifth most influential referral to the client’s homepage during the campaign.

Coverage targets were exceeded by 256% with a total of 107 articles. Coverage also achieved its objective to convey Renaissance Learning’s key messages around reading for pleasure and its products, whilst positioning its key spokespeople as experts across literacy and education-related topics.