Higher education com strategy: Sweet Punk gives its master class.



The stakes around post-bac studies are getting higher and higher. With the mixed results of Parcoursup, and many students finding themselves without relevant options for the new school year, private education has strengthened its position as an alternative to the traditional system. With courses that are often more professionally oriented, it has even become the most obvious option for some.

More choice, more affordable: private schools are turning the heads of students and their parents. The market has grown so fast that it is now difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold, or for long-established players to catch up.

To break through as a school, you need to stand out from the crowd in order to better reach your target. Surface” communication is no longer enough. The battle is waged on both the content and the form of the message, but above all on the coherence that leads from one to the other.
This concern for consistency and homogeneous impact calls for a synergy of communications expertise: strategy, copywriting, editorial, web and social media must all work together to build a solid brand that expresses itself with the same intensity across all channels.

As a 360° communications agency, and with a wealth of experience to draw on, we felt it would be beneficial for Sweet Punk to share what we’ve learned and give a few examples of its success stories.


Post-baccalaureate enrolment starts with a presence in the mind.


To make a place for yourself in the higher education landscape, you need to work on your presence in people’s minds.

How, for example, can you attract students with an “artistic” profile (film school, animation, 3D, video games…) if you’re unable to take care of your school’s image and make it attractive?

For CinéCréatis, we reworked the brand in depth, making it emerge right down to the smallest detail.

By focusing first on a new brand platform, “L’ecole du cinéma de terrain”, which values practice over theory, we had a solid foundation on which to build the rest of the brand. This angle, which puts the spotlight on the concrete, enabled us to develop a whole graphic universe that draws on the techniques and tools of the cinema. The site is in motion, playing with image ratios and traveling. The editorial line, too, reflects this universe, playing on the dual practical/theoretical discourse.

The result is a strong, differentiating brand that expresses itself in a consistent way, and whose promise is identifiable in each of the brand’s codes.



When schools court students (and their influencers).

Students are the visible face of the target. Behind them lies an equally important target to satisfy: parents and other influencers. Much more than just a checkbook on legs, relatives also need to be reassured. Above all, they’re people who want the best for their offspring, and whose expectations are completely different from those of students.

1/ A student target to seduce, whose aspirations and contradictions are constantly evolving, imposing new standards and new discourses.

Today’s students are not those of yesterday. For them, every detail counts. Respect, ethics, inclusiveness in messages… It’s no longer a question of ensuring that your message speaks to one student, but speaks to all students and leaves them enough space to assert themselves and flourish. Similarly, their environmental aspirations and deep-seated convictions must find an echo chamber in your communications. It’s no longer just about learning to do well, but also about learning to do good.

The answer:

These new visions and perceptions of educational and professional expectations need to be addressed both strategically (a powerful, unifying raison d’être), editorially (engaged rather than flat discourse), but also graphically (representation of cultures, authenticity and reality that take precedence over stock image).

We need to adapt to Gen Z and use their own codes, aspirations, ways of getting information and browsing. This also means making the most of their own criteria for selecting a school (trendy furniture/infrastructure, reputation…).

For ITIC Paris, we devised an entire vertical content strategy to introduce students to the school, using the same codes that students are used to in short formats.



2/ A prescriber target to convince, whose expectations are often at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Often overlooked by educational establishments, prescribers/payers do not consume information in the same way. They tend to prefer in-depth, detailed content. Their selection criteria are much more oriented towards the rational: legitimacy of the diploma, extent of the network, employability…

The answer:

Concrete and serious. In terms of substance, the brand must express itself with precision: figures, statistical studies and testimonials from teaching staff are more than welcome. In terms of form, the image must be controlled and meticulous. There’s no room for amateurism. You have to be professional to train professionals.


The Sweet Punk approach: when the school of reason meets the school of emotion.

→ Sweet for parents

Sweet means standing out thanks to rationality. We need to create objective reassurance to elicit buy-in behavior from parents “I’m putting my child on the right track so that he or she can fit in and succeed in the professional world.”

→ Punk for students

Punk is all about standing out through emotion. Taking into account the orientation difficulties of a target audience who may feel lost in the choices available to them, and offering them a solution that offers them a place, with a brand that uses their codes. We need to create subjective reassurance that “I’m going to feel good here and blossom, and find my place.”


An important secondary target: companies.

Education no longer takes place solely on the school benches. And when finding an internship or work-study placement seems more like an obstacle course than a career choice, many parents and students expect their school to provide them with a network worthy of the name.
Whether it’s to gain your first professional experience, to take advantage of exclusive job opportunities, or simply to recruit speakers who are not disconnected from the reality of the working world, the schools’ professional network needs to be pampered.

To convince companies to build bridges with your school, you’ll need to show them just how much the school echoes their business. This means once again emphasizing your differentiating character (by choosing a brand platform and identity that break with the usual codes) and professionalism (by ensuring the quality of your media, both in terms of content and form). And to organize tailor-made events to meet companies’ needs.

The aim is to make people want to be associated with a positive, contemporary brand image. And to create a virtuous circle: the school attracts good companies, which in turn attract talented students, who in turn attract good companies.


The order of battle for successful communications at a top school.

1/ In-depth work on brand differentiation and purpose, with a solid brand platform.

Finding, emphasizing and asserting the brand’s difference will set the course for all subsequent communications. Let’s not hesitate to give a clear, assertive message where the competition tends to create a “catch-all” effect. In terms of deliverables, this intellectual exercise must not give rise to documents that get lost in complexity. On the contrary, we prefer simple, intelligible documents for all your company’s departments, including non-communicators.


2/ A visual and editorial identity that respects the codes of gen Z while maintaining the seriousness and credibility of a school that speaks to the target audience.

Thanks to an editorial charter that guarantees the brand’s tone and allows it to express itself with character. Complemented by a graphic charter that boldly brings the brand to life.


3/ A digital content strategy to reach your target in the right places.

A network of landing pages tailored to each target and each path generates quality traffic. Conversion is then maximized with a dedicated acquisition tunnel based on each prospect’s expectations.


4/ Know the rhythm of the sector: adapt your strategy to the high points of the school year and to administrative constraints.

“Last but not least, an exemplary sense of organization enables us to structure our deliverables in terms of both form and timing. Schools sometimes have to react late to a news item, meet a registration deadline or compensate for a sudden drop in enrolments. Trusting an agency that manages its timetables and is able to adapt to a situation by proposing appropriate and realistic formats is the key to effective school communications aligned with the expectations of its targets.

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