How do you make the invisible qualities of good teaching visible to university students studying to be educators? How can we better meet the needs of teachers in modern classrooms with relevant and accessible professional learning tools? The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (the National Board) seeks to answer those questions, and to elevate the teaching profession in the U.S. by establishing an industry certification based on a set of rigorous, peer-reviewed standards. Hager Sharp collaborated with the National Board over several years to increase visibility of the organization among teachers and connect them with tools and resources for accomplished teaching. Our work included outreach and recruitment, brand development, digital campaigns, video production, media relations, materials development, and conference support. Notably, Hager Sharp created a brand identity for the National Board’s ATLAS (Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools)® online hub for professional learning resources along with a suite of branded marketing and outreach materials.
With a mission to provide more high-quality professional learning opportunities for educators across the U.S. and to help teachers across the career continuum—from pre-service candidates to professionals who’ve spent years in the classroom—see and understand what effective teaching looks like in practice, the National Board developed ATLAS (Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools)®. ATLAS is an online resource with a library of uncut, unscripted video cases indexed by topics, classroom settings, and other characteristics available through a customizable dashboard. Hager Sharp was tasked with bringing ATLAS to life as a new brand within the National Board’s family of brands.
Our team worked closely with the National Board to understand the essence of ATLAS and its unique, compelling characteristics. We then developed a brand look and feel that aligned with the National Board’s identity while still allowing it to be recognized as its own entity. We also designed a logo, developed core messages to communicate the need for and the defining characteristics of the resource, and established brand guidelines to inform creative materials development.
In preparation for the launch of the Hager Sharp-developed ATLAS brand at the National Board’s annual Teaching and Learning conference, our team developed a custom branded email template, an informational brochure, conference exhibit graphics, signage, booth materials, and a print advertisement. Following brand launch, we continued to expand the suite of marketing and outreach materials to include case studies showcasing teachers and institutions benefitting from ATLAS, a branded PowerPoint template and stock presentation with accompanying talking points, and graphics for use on digital platforms. Hager Sharp was responsible for all content development across the materials we created—including copy, layout, and graphic design—working collaboratively with the National Board to establish messaging, connect with National Board Certified Teachers, and to identify educators and administrators using ATLAS to capture and showcase their stories through quotes, graphics, videos, and other case study materials.
Having branded and launched the National Board’s web-based professional resource, ATLAS, and designed a suite of marketing and outreach materials, Hager Sharp executed a number of small-scale digital engagement campaigns to promote the ATLAS library of video cases to both teachers and administrators at the district level, as well as within teacher prep programs at colleges and universities. Among other activities, Hager Sharp produced and promoted via YouTube a documentary-style video featuring ATLAS in use at Northwestern State University that produced 113,827 views among PreK-12 teachers and administrators at a cost per view of $0.03—one-third of YouTube’s average cost per view of $0.10.
We also collaborated with the National Board to develop two blog posts, “Many Hands Make Light Work: Connecting Teachers in Professional Learning through Video Cases,” and “Making Instructional Shifts with Video Cases,” authored by National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) discussing their experience with the ATLAS library and how it has enabled them to elevate their professional teaching practice. The posts were published on boardcertifiedteachers.org and promoted on LinkedIn with digital ads targeting administrators and educators at various careerlevels. Together, the LinkedIn promotions generated more than 175,000 impressions, nearly 1,200 clicks, and more than 700 social actions (sharing and liking the post).
As part of Hager Sharp’s support for the promotion of the ATLAS resource we produced two testimonial videos, one featuring existing footage of National Board-Certified Teachers and another featuring testimonials from Northwestern State University (NSU) in Louisiana. The Hager Sharp team traveled to NSU to shoot the testimonials onsite and produced a documentary-style video in time for industry conferences occurring the following month. Our production process started with over-the-phone pre-interviews with select faculty and administrators at NSU to understand their experiences with ATLAS. Utilizing information from the pre-interviews and messaging developed as part of the ATLAS branding work we developed a working script and production schedule for the video shoot. Upon arrival at NSU we scouted locations and talked with interview subjects again. We shot the video over two days, capturing interviews and b-roll footage from around the university campus. Upon returning home, we had the video footage transcribed, developed a script from the transcripts, and edited the video.
To help the National Board recruit teachers to “test drive” the recently revised National Board certification exam, Hager Sharp executed a paid digital advertising campaign targeting a narrow audience of teachers in specific curriculum areas and spanning multiple grade levels who were, importantly, not yet certified. Our team started off by developing a set of key messages featuring clear calls to action that were incorporated into ad copy, social media content, and the National Board’s online registration page.
The promotion included strategic media placement and audience targeting using mainly Facebook, Google Display Network banner ads, and cost-per-click acquisition networks. As we monitored and optimized campaign performance we examined visitor behavior on the campaign landing page and quickly noted that the majority of users were leaving without completing the application. We reviewed site analytics data to understand where users were encountering challenges and, with website user experience best practices in mind, worked with National Board to streamline the form.
After the website improvements, the campaign saw a positive decline in the cost per conversion. Overall, we captured nearly 2,000 completed registrations and exceeded our click-through rate and cost-per-click goals. When the National Board re-engaged Hager Sharp to drive registration to the second phase of the field test, we selected the two highest-performing channels from the previous year, Facebook and Google search, and successfully converted more than double the registrations as the first (4,300+) at a low cost per conversation.