The Pelican Nursery was established in 2008 by a father who had seen
his own young daughter flourish at a local Montessori Nursery. He was so inspired,
he decided to retrain and set up his own school in Kennington, South London,
providing full day care to children from 6 months to 5 years.
The School has gone from strength to strength and has ambition to
expand further, but the investment required to provide the best facilities
and care needs to be supported by a growing intake. While word-of-mouth
recommendations and referrals provide an excellent foundation,the Nursery needed
a stronger local profile to build their admissions to the levels needed.
We began by working with the founders to tackle one of the challenges
many small companies face: being able to define those qualities that are often seen
as ‘just the way we do things’ but are often the very traits that make them special
and different from other nurseries.
We listened to their story: from their first day to their ideas of what day care
could and should be. We spoke with the staff, analysed parent surveys
and read their Ofsted reports. Our insights helped them see where they wanted
their nurseries to sit in relation to the competition and provided a clear
framework for the brand to address three strategic initiatives.
Continually demonstrating the nurseries’ relevance to modern family life
was essential to establishing trust and building long-term relationships.
We built their brand around a simple but essential truth: giving parents the confidence
to return to work. Being explicit about the emotional pressures parents face
and addressing that at the drop-off and pick-up helped reinforce a more
We brought together the founders’ experiences with a clearly defined set
of values and a clear vision for the future to create a great brand story.
A narrative that all staff could understand, rally round and use as a guide to consistently
provide the best experience for the children and their parents.
With family and compassion being central tenets of the business it was clear
that a new identity that more accurately reflected the new brand was needed.
Using the founders’ family iconography of a ‘pelican in her piety’,
we designed a new symbol that speaks to their caring and nurturing approach.
Accompanied by a soft yet fresh colour palette and a series of curves,
the result is a more grown-up approach – appealing to parents – in a sector
that is dominated by childlike images and objects.
We looked at what was needed, rather than what could be redesigned and
developed a new prospectus, parent handbook that could be put together in-house
along with templates for letters and policy documents that would create
a consistent house style.
We’ve taken the brand across the business from the stationery and prospectus
to the website and nursery environments including windows, signage and posters.
With its in-built variety, this is an identity system that is as flexible enough
to appear as a hand made piece on notice boards as professionally printed window decals.
As a result, it’s never corporate, and always in touch.
Staff engagement has improved and a more consistent induction programme
has been implemented, current and prospective parent feedback has been
very positive and the founders’ commitment to implementing this work
has resulted in them being able to secure capital investment for a third nursery.
Photography by Simon Jarratt