“helping communities build long-term relationships”

“sensitive and respectful”

“methods based on data”

— Paul Imhoff, Superintendent of Upper Arlington City Schools Ohio

Case Studies

and client testimonials

Allerton Hill Consulting offers no template solutions, no “how to communicate” download files. We offer unique solutions with personal attention to detail, a multi-pronged approach and a passion for building long-term relationships.

This commitment and expertise earned us a 100% success rate in 2014. In other words, every one of our clients reached their unique goals as outlined in our Communication Plan. Furthermore, 11 out of 11 ballot initiatives were won through grassroots community efforts supported by Allerton Hill Consulting.

Read on for what our clients have to say about their partnership with Allerton Hill Consulting and for a few examples of our communications & marketing success…

“Their firm was outstanding in prioritizing valuable communication messages involving our entire school community. Allerton Hill staff take a personal approach while framing a positive theme in this changing time for education.”

— David E. Axner Ed. D,
Deputy Executive Director,
Buckeye Association of School Administrators
& Former Superintendent of Dublin City Schools, Ohio

Dr. John Marschhausen

Superintendent of Hillard City Schools

Case Study:
Intentional Marketing
at Hilliard City Schools

Deliberate marketing plans are rarely used in school systems but they are essential for the success of new ideas and to ensure that your school’s story is accurate and positive.  Hilliard City Schools in central Ohio made the smart and proactive choice to brand their new learning center in advance of its launch. This gave them control of the community response to a potentially polarizing approach.

In 2012, the Hilliard City Schools launched their new school, McVey Innovative Learning Center (ILC).  The center, by its very concept, was designed to attract self-motivated and high achieving students.  Traditionally, when school systems launch a new school concept, it is often marginalized and quickly branded in a negative light.  We knew that we had to identify and establish ILC’s brand identity before it was branded for us.  In the absence of information and proper marketing of that information, that is exactly what happens.

Realizing this, Hilliard City Schools partnered with Allerton Hill Consulting to ensure that ILC quickly and succinctly marketed its own identity before it could be branded otherwise by people’s perceptions.

To create a brand identity, we looked for the components of the center that are unique. A concrete example of this was that the ILC allowed a hybrid of online education tailored to the students interest and learning needs combined with a brick-and-mortar school experience in which students could go to the ILC to interact directly with Hilliard teachers and students.

Our marketing campaign promoted this tandem approach to learning and especially focused on the fact that Hilliard teachers would be working directly with the students, even in the online programs.  Hilliard teachers are highly regarded within the community and it was critical to ILC’s success that parents knew these well-respected teachers would be working with their children.

Because the ILC takes a cutting-edge approach, we used modern communication tools to emphasize this innovation. We initiated a robust social media campaign that not only connected with more parents but also emphasized both the power and ease of digitial communications, thus proving the concept of using technology and distance learning as an effective educational tool

What did Hilliard gain through deliberate marketing of the ILC?  A lot!

The advance marketing work that Hilliard did with AHC captured the attention of many of of Hilliard’s most accomplished students and led to an overwhelming enrollment request. This eager application process ensured that Hilliard retained promising students that might otherwise leave the school stem for other online experiences.

The lessons learned from Hilliard’s ILC case study are instructive for all school districts looking to reinforce their current programs or implement new ideas.  By working early to actively identify and establish the ILC brand, Hilliard intentionally secured its concept and ensured a positive response.  Their success hinged on having a concrete marketing and implementation plan, playing to their strengths (in this case, the excellent instructional reputation of Hilliard teachers) and by focusing on telling the story of the ILC and how it would benefit students.

Dr. Thomas Tucker

Ohio Superintendent of the Year, 2016

“Allerton Hill has played a key role in our communications strategy. From explaining the need for a bond to replace old buildings, to marketing the value our public schools…Allerton Hill understands what is needed to craft a message that resonates with a conservative public during tough economic times. Allerton Hill Consulting knows how to connect schools with their community.”

Richard A. Hanes
Superintendent, Piqua City Schools

Case Study:
Re-Connect, Re-Engage & Inform

“… there’s no tomorrow for our school if the levy loses again on November 3.”

OUR ACTION: A Grassroots Campaign + Coordinated Efforts with Local Volunteers

OUR SUCCESS: Passage of a $9.9 Million Levy to Save the Sidney Schools

After three failed levy attempts, Sidney City Schools – a rural school district in Shelby County Ohio – was desperate to pass a $9.9 million operating levy or risk a state takeover.  Allerton Hill Consulting paired with a dedicated group of parent volunteers – M.O.M.S. (Moms on a Mission to Save Sidney Schools) – for a grassroots face-to-face informational campaign.
Survey research and focus group findings revealed that passing any kind of new money initiative in Sidney would be a tremendous task due to tough economic times and staggering unemployment in Shelby County. At the same time, a fourth defeat of the levy would also trigger a defeat for economic recovery.
Opinion research showed that while business owners and the community at-large were hesitant to approve a spending bill, they were also fearful of a state takeover of the school and what it would mean for the county in the long term.
Data collected revealed an overarching disillusionment with the school and the community. Allerton Hill worked with M.O.M.S. to craft a clear and vital message that would be delivered door to door: “there’s no tomorrow for our school if the levy loses again.” Explaining this dire consequence and the alternatives, M.O.M.S. was on a mission to re-connect, re-engage and inform.
M.O.M.S. served as the face of this grassroots plan and worked with a large group of enthusiastic volunteers. They showed up at any event where parents were gathering and used every communications tool available – flyers, phone banks, Facebook, letters and ribbons – to emphasize the message.
By crafting a resolute and easy-to-digest message, Allerton Hill & M.O.M.S. were able to successfully convey the importance of the issue which led to overwhelming support at the polls.
After some controversy that resulted in a recount, the $9.9 million levy won by just one vote. No one can deny that the M.O.M.S. tireless effort and cooperation made the difference that led to this victory.

Rick Hanes

Superintendent, Piqua City Schools

Case Study:
Outreach & Communication

Repetition & simplicity creates awareness & action

OUR ACTION: A Multi-pronged Informational Campaign to Explain Complicated Financial Information & Encourage Ongoing Community Support

OUR SUCCESS: Tangible Community Support & Passage of a Levy to Offset Financial Loss

When the state of Ohio decided to eliminate an important local funding source – the tangible personal property (TPP) tax – one of our clients faced a critical financial obstacle. Due to the loss of the TPP tax, the suburban school district faced the loss of millions of dollars and a dramatically changed tax base. It was going to fall to residential homeowners to make up for the local tax loss just to maintain current operations. The complications of this dramatic change were at risk of causing confusion, opposition and panic.

The district partnered with Allerton Hill Consulting to assist with a comprehensive communications plan to disperse the facts about the issue and proposed solutions. Under our guidance, the district was able to focus in on a simplified message that could be repeated for a greater impact. We crossmarketed this message through a variety of media including monthly op-eds in the local newspapers, district-wide newsletters, community coffee presentations, social media, “backpack express” letters and parent conferences.

While we used many methods to share the information, we emphasized across the board that the loss of the TPP was not due to financial management but due to a state-level decision that negatively impacted all publicly-funded schools.

By addressing the problem head-on and with a cross-media approach, we were able to establish a groundswell of community support and empathy for the school district. With this strong momentum thanks to consistent outreach, the school district has become a priority for the community and financial issues have been addressed in a positive and open manner. This foundation translated to a successful levy passage in November 2012 and continues to show success both on and off the ballot.

Steven Estepp

 Superintendent, Mariemont City Schools

“As someone who has been a public school finance officer my entire professional career, I understand the need for schools to be able to communicate their finances clearly and powerfully. Allerton Hill Consulting specializes in just this type of work. They are able to take complicated school finances and break it down into message that your stakeholders can understand.

In the age of social media and citizen activism, it is critical that school finances officers have professionals like Allerton Hill to help them with their communication needs.”

— Chris Mohr, Owner of K12Consulting
Former treasurer of the Dublin and Springfield City Schools,
Former President of OASBO

Addressing Credibility Issues

 a Video Case Study

Our Next Success Story Could Be Yours

More from Our Clients...

“As a superintendent who served in a district with very high expectations, I turned to the experts at Allerton Hill Consulting to provide guidance and counsel regarding some of our most complicated communications challenges. Their extensive knowledge of effective school communications helped us build trust and credibility with the community, leading ultimately to multiple successes at the ballot box. Allerton Hill consulting and their team are the proven experts when it comes to successful communications and outreach strategies for schools and local governments.”

— Dr. Philip Price
Former Superintendent of Mayfield City Schools

“With Allerton Hill Consulting we get fast response time, experienced professionals, and best of all, peace of mind. …they were very successful in the projects we gave them.”

— Dr. Dan Good
Former Superintendent of Westerville City Schools

“We have a community that demands communication and excellence in everything we do. They don’t just want to hear from us; They expect it and it has to be great. That’s why we worked with Allerton. They have niche expertise and it made all the difference for us.”

— Mike Klein
Former Board Member,
New Albany-Plain Local Schools