Case Studies


Columbia University

Project: Undergraduate admissions publications including overall viewbook, engineering viewbook, science viewbook, search piece, travel piece, junior viewbook for Columbia College, junior viewbook for Columbia Engineering, yield piece.

Partner: Luke Hayman, Pentagram Design

Using stunning photography, textured covers and dynamic infographics among other special touches, this extensive suite of materials tells the story of “Columbia Blue.” The series starts with a central concept: Columbia offers undergraduates an exponential education – “Every aspect of the Columbia experience opens doors to an ever-deeper set of opportunities. Each of these beginnings is the tip of the iceberg, the first domino, the catalyst in an education with unending exponential power that builds throughout a Columbian’s life. It’s Columbia to the power of infinity.”  Each of the books in the series invite prospective students to dive into this Columbia Blue.


The Hotchkiss School

Project: Viewbook and Travel Piece

Partner: Matt Ralph, Plainspoke

In creating a new viewbook for The Hotchkiss School, we had two primary charges:

  • to build on seven key Hotchkiss attributes that the School’s community has deemed the most compelling and essential to communicating the value of Hotchkiss.  
  • to create a viewbook that was exciting and lively for students

The result is Hotchkiss’s “Take a Bold Step” viewbook with +1 pullout pages designed by Matt Ralph of Plainspoke.  The book’s content re-interprets the seven pillars of the school’s strategic plan into the following chapters and call to action:

  • Be Inspired by a Spectacular Place. 
  • Learn to Be a Resilient, Flexible Thinker. 
  • Become a Citizen of the World in Real and Thrilling Ways. 
  • Be a Smart, Brave Doer. 
  • Engage in Rigorous, Relevant, Restless Academics. 
  • Build Bonds of Friendships and Community. 
  • Prep for the Planet. 
  • Don’t Leave Your Parents Behind. We Won’t Either.  

Take a Bold Step to Becoming You. 

Prospective students also were invited to “Look for the +1 throughout these pages for some extraordinary Hotchkiss above-and-beyond pluses.” The viewbook received a CASE national silver award.



Ridley College

(Canadian Day and Boarding School)

Project: Brand Development and Enrollment Strategy

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications

As one of the oldest and most prestigious independent schools in Canada, Ridley College has educated generations of Canadians. This pre-k through postgraduate year boarding and day school in St. Catharines, Ontario, hired Andrea Jarrell and frequent partner Turnaround Marketing Communications to develop a brand campaign. Our goal was to define Ridley’s most advantageous market position for recruitment and advancement success and articulate compelling brand messages to help this Canadian legend strengthen its brand presence in U.S. and global markets and gain even more momentum at home. How to accomplish this? Start with a head of school from the British system and an admissions dean fresh from East Coast U.S. prep schools, and add marketing expertise and communications strategy.

The results of this project came in stages.

Brand Development

Brand building is a long-term process that takes community buy-in. After Jarrell/Turnaround developed the Ridley brand and story, they were enthusiastically embraced by the headmaster and board of governors. Next, the administration took ownership of it, and new materials were developed, including a "pocket primer" (pictured here), which was distributed at the brand rollout, led by the Jarrell/Turnaround team, to help internal constituents remember and absorb the brand messages. As Ridley began to use the new branding, the community learned to be consistent in its messaging and the benefits of a Ridley education became even clearer to all constituents.

Enrollment Strategy

Our goal was to help this Canadian legend strengthen its brand presence in U.S. and global markets and gain even more momentum at home. Ridley has a powerful story and heritage. To introduce the school, we created a “brand” book that offers a sweeping overview of the Ridley experience for prospective families, but that can also be used to generate loyalty and interest among donors and alumni.

The Ridley brand book tells the Ridley story in five “chapters”—Timeless Tradition, World Prep, Engaged Ridley, The Houses of Ridley, and A Legacy That’s Yours. Depending on the age of the prospective student, this introductory book is followed by either “Engaged Ridley: Where a Legacy Begins” about the Lower School or “World Prep: A Tradition, A School, A Ticket to the World” about the Upper School. Upper School prospects also receive “The Houses of Ridley: An Insider’s Guide for Day and Boarding Students to School Life.” Each of these books serve as a bump piece to keep communication open. The series also includes a light search/travel piece. 

During the first year that Ridley’s admission office and headmaster began using Ridley’s brand story in conversations, presentations, letters, and online, newly enrolled students increased 30 percent. During the second year, when Ridley had print materials in place with the new brand story, the school had an additional 19-percent increase in new student enrollment. 

The strategy behind Ridley success is featured in detail in “From Marketing Strategy to Brand Story: Telling the Story of Independent Education” by Andrea Jarrell (The NAIS Enrollment Management Handbook edited by Christine Hailer Baker; 2012; The National Association of Independent Schools).


Flint Hill School

Project: Brand Development and Enrollment Strategy

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications 

Flint Hill School, a pre-K through 12th-grade day school in Fairfax, Virginia, had a chameleon reputation – star Latin program, techy school, jock school, all of the above and more? Flint Hill’s brand story needed to find a way to give the school’s chameleon reputation coherence. It also had to prove that the school prepares students for selective colleges not just as well as its public and private competitors, but even better. Its brand story needed to answer the question: What makes your school worth it? Flint Hill’s answer: the drive for relentless quality. 

In partnership with Turnaround Marketing Communications, we turned that chameleon reputation into a positive, leveraging the school’s Husky mascot and motto “home of the driving spirit” to capture the idea of Flint Hill's relentless quality.  

Here are the first lines of the school’s new brand story:

Flint Hill School is Home of the Driving Spirit. One of the first things visitors ask us is how do you do so many things so well? Like our Latin program and our literary magazine, both award-winning, and our champion athletics. The answer is, “We’re driven.” 

Driven to put our students first. Driven to relentless quality in everything we do, from academics to arts and athletics. Driven to game-changing innovation. In fact, other schools around the country visit us regularly to study our methods, program, and use of technology. They want to know about our seamless responsive teaching to meet the learning styles of all students. They want to observe the advances our partnership with Apple, Inc., has brought to learning in the classroom.

The school’s brand has five chapters (Students First, Relentless Quality, Game-Changing Innovation, Living the Husky Promise, and Purpose-Built Campus) – each is proved with stats, testimonials and details from the school’s program.

A main viewbook was designed to appeal to both parents and students, while a small, fun student pamphlet tucks into the front cover. Accompanying these two pieces is a brochure about outcomes and college that reinforces Flint Hill's academic quality and outstanding college prep. By the end of the first admission cycle with the new brand story in place, Flint Hill’s yield for ninth grade was higher than it had ever been and the school had a deep wait list with families calling board members to try to get in.  

The full Flint Hill School brand story and proof points are featured in “From Marketing Strategy to Brand Story: Telling the Story of Independent Education” by Andrea Jarrell (The NAIS Enrollment Management Handbook edited by Christine Hailer Baker; 2012; The National Association of Independent Schools).



Scripps College

Project: Scripps College Inauguration Theme and Messaging

Partner: Michael Bierut, Pentagram Design

For the 2010 inauguration of Scripps College’s eighth president, Lori Bettison-Varga, Andrea Jarrell worked with the college to develop the inaugural theme, which resulted in "The Genius of Women.” She also worked with President Bettison-Varga on her speech, “Cultivating the Genius of Women,” and wrote the story of the inauguration’s emblem, which was designed by Michael Bierut of Pentagram Design. 

The Story of the Genius of Women Inaugural Emblem 

Inspired by our seal La Semeuse – she who sows the seed of thought, of action, of life – the emblem of our new president’s inaugural year joins eight seeds, one for each president of Scripps College since its founding in 1926.

Together, these seeds assert the potential and the fruition of the genius of women educated here at Scripps College. The emblem’s font is our own Scripps College Old Style, designed by legendary type stylist Frederick Goudy for the college in 1947.


“Here begins new life,” states our motto Incipit Vita Nova – new life for each of our students and for the worlds they will lead and transform. As we herald a new era in Scripps leadership, our inaugural emblem celebrates the genius of women and this great College’s ability to nurture it. 




Yale University

Project: Yale University Undergraduate Admission Publications and Website


Publications Partner: Michael Bierut, Pentagram Design


Website Design: Pamela Hovland


Goals and Approach: From the start we wanted to create a piece that conveyed the stature of Yale but the down-to-earth nature of Yalies. As one student said, “It’s about the people, not the prestige.” We wanted the viewbook to feel like an insider’s guide and a keepsake. Andrea Jarrell developed a four-section structure for the 120-page book (Lives. Studies. Pursuits. Places.) An historic quote from Yale historian George Pierson became the essence of the story the piece tells: “Yale is at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.” Each section includes multiple chapters of varying lengths and content type from photo essays to infographics, layers of voices on which readers “eavesdrop” and intriguing “insider” details. The following year, Jarrell wrote a companion piece showcasing Yale as a premier institution of science and engineering. She was also hired to develop the voice and messaging for primary pages of the new undergraduate website and the admit packet messaging.


William Penn Charter School

Project: Viewbook

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications

The Strategy behind the Story

Revelation: Especially in a constrained economy, we wanted to make sure that access was a key message and that the viewbook did what the School itself does – opens its doors to reveal a friendly community, energy, opportunity and excitement inside. 

Abundance: Penn Charter has many of the qualities of an Ivy League university – a distinguished history, superb curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students, a community peopled by top students and faculty, and a state-of-the-art campus. We wanted to create a viewbook that unpacked this abundance in an exciting and accessible way.

Personality: Penn Charter people are extraordinary. The viewbook is infused with the voices, personal stories and photos of the Penn Charter people – students, faculty and coaches, parents, and graduates.


The Story

The dream of the classic education is very much like the American dream. The classic education doesn’t care where you were born, where you live, or what you wear. The classic education teaches how to think, not what to think. It’s an education that brings together your intelligence, new ideas, optimism, and work ethic so that you can go wherever you want in life. Penn Charter’s “Reinventing Classic” viewbook included six chapters: A History of Access, Reinvent Classic with Us in which “old” and “new” teaching methods and experiences were compared; All Three A’s – Academics, Arts, and Athletics; A Quaker Moral Compass to Find Your Way; Welcome Inside – a look behind Penn Charter’s red doors through photo overviews of Lower, Middle, and Upper School; Timeless Skill Set – short, quick profiles of a first grader through alumni and their takes on the Penn Charter skill sets they’ve acquired.


Project: Campaign Communication Strategy and Materials

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications

The campaign series that Jarrell and Turnaround developed to promote the $47 million "Frameworks for the Future" campaign for Penn Charter went beyond the realm of the traditional case statement. Donors were inspired to participate not only in the campaign but in the mission of the school. We started by engaging Penn Charter constituents in facilitated conversations about the school’s culture, their definitions of success, and their hopes for the future. These conversations were filmed and what might have been just research became content for an unconventional case statement that received the CASE national silver award, as well as a campaign video.

The four-part case statement of small keepsake books were titled:

Book I

Are You Part of Penn Charter’s Counter Culture?

Book II

How Do You Define Success?

Book III

What Gives You Hope?

Book IV

Will You Step Out of Line?

Each book involved potential donors in Penn Charter’s mission by asking a provocative question – while the reader and the alumni, parents, students, and teachers featured in the books bring their own hopes and beliefs to each question, their answers make the case that an investment in Penn Charter is an investment in a better world. Books III and IV also included donor stories and a detailed giving guide for donors at all levels. An overwhelming success, the campaign kickoff event was originally planned for 400 but 600 RSVPd and attended. The campaign closed in 2007, surpassing its original $40 million goal at $47 million.



NYU Abu Dhabi

Project: “Vision” Brochure

Partner: Michael Bierut, Pentagram Design

When NYU launched its Abu Dhabi campus – the first in its “global network university” model, we were asked to create a publication that would excite and inform multiple audiences – opinion makers; secondary school heads, and college counselors; and prospective students, faculty, donors, and partners – about New York University’s new undergraduate honors college in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD.

The challenge was to create a piece that would help recruit future students to a college that did not yet exist, as well as to help establish the new entity within the world of academia. Many big ideas propelled the founding of NYU Abu Dhabi. Our approach was to represent these big ideas as key plot points in a big story – a global university in the heart of a changing world, a dream school comes to a dream city, embarking on the most ambitious endeavor in NYU’s history. The approach was to create the institutional heft, mythology, purpose, and history of a college that did not yet exist.


Carnegie Mellon University Campaign

Project: Campaign Case Statement

Partner: Rick Landesberg, Landesberg Design

Many schools and universities search in vain for what makes them different from other institutions. More often than not it isn’t one thing but a collection of attributes in combination. Behind this special combination is an attitude – an institutional point of view. Stellar campaign communications capture the combination and the attitude. 

In working with Carnegie Mellon on communication strategy for its $1 Billion capital campaign, Andrea Jarrell identified six truths that drove the University’s campaign story, each of which could be supported with compelling proof:

  • Carnegie Mellon is a league-of-its-own dynamic maverick rising farther, faster, than any other university.
  • Alumni are part of this dynamo in a big way – the University’s success has been built in part on their smarts and creativity.
  • Carnegie Mellon chooses not to study everything. Where it does focus, it excels. The University fearlessly reinvents its centers of excellence, moving to new fields to pursue the next big strategic bet and to lead.
  • One of the main ingredients of Carnegie Mellon’s “special sauce” – as the provost called it – is that it works the way the world works. Rather than disciplinary silos, Carnegie Mellon’s specialty is multidisciplinary solution invention. Everywhere you look on campus, multitalented dream teams are making life better for all of us.
  • The hitch: these amazing teams are at risk due to lack of resources. The work these individuals are doing cannot continue if they move to another university because no other institution works the way the world works like Carnegie Mellon.
  • The magic of Carnegie Mellon is its people (faculty, students, alumni), especially when they work together.

These truths were refined into a campaign message toolkit that celebrated Carnegie Mellon’s unique formula for success and Carnegie Mellon’s attitude about its achievements became its campaign rallying cry: “We stand today among an elite group of top-tier universities that shape the world through education, research and outreach, yet we don’t operate like other universities, and we don’t plan to start anytime soon. . . . A philanthropy that prizes guts, audacity and hard work – this is the legacy we ask you to be part of.”