Rebranding to take on the world

Founded in 1988 and renowned for its unique educational framework that combines the learning of singing, dancing and acting skills, the company recently rebranded to focus on the power learning through great performance opportunities can have on a child’s future, unlocking their creativity and equipping them with valuable skills for life.

“When learning skills becomes performance enhancing we call it developing ‘Creative Courage for Life®’,” says Stagecoach chief executive Sarah Kelly. “We knew that children gained confidence from being at Stagecoach, but to accomplish in today’s world you also need to be brave and that is what performance can do for a child. Refocusing our brand to reflect this ensures that we have the right model and proposition for our franchisees to build profitable businesses now and in the future.”

The ethos behind Creative Courage for Life underpins the aspiration that every parent has for their children, wherever they are in the world. “Parents everywhere just want their child to accomplish whatever they set out to do, and be given the ability to grab life’s opportunities with confidence whatever they may be and whenever they come along,” says Ms Kelly.

Rebranding the well-established, market-leading brand was a major undertaking. Initial research to discover how everyone in the Stagecoach community understood and articulated the brand revealed high levels of passion for the business. But it also revealed a disconnect between the way they described Stagecoach and a wider belief that change was needed to stay relevant. However, much has changed since the business was first launched.

“Children today live their lives through screens and parents recognise that vital life skills are missing,” says Ms Kelly. “They want freedom for their children, but also to protect them from the unknown. They won’t always be there to accompany them on their life journey, but what they can do is equip them with the skills that will help them accomplish on the stage of life; skills that can be delivered by learning the performing arts. Once everyone understood why we needed to modernise and were aligned with Creative Courage for Life, adoption was easy.”

The new brand proposition was initially rolled out in the UK, with the support of a brand steering group of franchisees. With the development of a range of new brand assets, including a new logo, cinema commercial, website and franchisee’s brand toolkit, the proposition was then rolled out in two other major markets in Europe and the Americas. Within a 14-month period, all Stagecoach’s global franchisees will have adopted the brand’s new look, ready for the company’s next stage of international growth plans, which have been boosted by the recent success of two Stagecoach summer camps in Beijing.

“The provision of good children’s education is very important in Chinese culture. Add creativity, life skills and learning English, and the result is a rich educational framework that will attract Chinese parents,” says Ms Kelly. “We are in advanced discussions to open our first school in China, while other interested parties have contacted us from across Asia.”

As a brand that recognises the importance of evolving to meet changing market demands, Stagecoach has invested heavily in its franchisee support teams and systems, enabling them to deliver a world-class service and proposition for existing and new franchisees alike.

In 2018 the company will celebrate 30 years of delivering high quality children’s education in performing arts to more than a million children, while looking to the future for the Stagecoach network of over 300 franchisees and 3,500 expert teachers as it enjoys continued growth within existing and new territories.

Ms Kelly concludes: “The market is ready, we are ready, and we have an exceptional model and product to unleash to the world.”

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