Going into 2020, Thomas’s made it a priority to have a rebranded website launched for its 50th anniversary, ahead of the opening of an all new secondary school, Thomas’s Battersea Square, in late 2021.
As a representation of one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country, the new website needed to set Thomas’s apart from its competitors, showcasing the schools’ unique approach and providing an optimised experience for all of its key users.
Thomas’s key stakeholders were also looking to evolve the schools’ brand, with a keener focus on the educational journey that Thomas’s students take, which the website would need to represent visually and through a new key message.
Be Kind, Be Thomas's
Thomas’s Schools take a unique approach to education, developing two critical skills in particular – thinking and questioning – while emphasising the importance of being kind and independent.
The schools’ key stakeholders did not feel that their previous website or messaging represented these values, and so a crucial component of the planning phase was to shape Thomas’s digital brand and key messaging.
JBi’s marketing team led interactive workshops with Thomas’s key stakeholders, identifying the schools’ key values, defining their USPs and brainstorming potential messaging and visual directions before creating a series of initial concepts for the Thomas’s team to review.
Once Thomas’s had signed off on their favourite concept, a further workshop was held to align on the brand’s intrinsics and define Thomas’s visual language.
This culminated in the creation of Thomas’s new brand message: Be Kind, Be Thomas’s.
The new brand is built around the idea of an educational journey, from kindergarten through to sixth form, and came to shape much of the creative thinking for the website build.
Unique and Dynamic UI
The JBi design team created a number of visual concepts for Thomas’s key stakeholders to choose from, including a dynamic, horizontal scrolling homepage.
The Thomas’s team loved this idea, which tied in nicely with the school’s new messaging by portraying the educational journey that Thomas’s students take. The concept was signed off and work began on building it into the final designs.
We also created a collection of custom icons for the new website, which can be seen below.
Take a look at the homepage for yourself by clicking here!
One of the more complex aspects of Thomas’s scope came in the form of the schools’ admissions page, a key area of the website for prospective parents.
Based on conversations with Thomas’s admissions team and key stakeholders, we designed and built a bespoke admissions calculator for this area of the site, helping parents to easily identify the registration options available to their children based on date of birth.
Thomas’s Schools receive thousands of online applications every year and expect a high level of traffic in short bursts to this area of the site, so we took particular care to ensure that it could maintain a high performance level and that it was hosted on a secure and robust environment.
Try the calculator out for yourself here.
Results and Testimonial
Thomas’s key stakeholders are delighted with the new website, which was released in time for the new intake of applications and has been received well by students, parents and staff alike.
As of the beginning of September, the website has achieved the following:
- Over 100% increase in users and sessions
- Average session duration up 9% to an average of 2 minutes 40 seconds
- Bounce rate reduced by 6% compared to previous period
- The admissions page has been particularly successful, receiving 14,300 page views since launch and maintaining an average session duration of 2 minutes and 23 seconds
- When comparing to the 2019 admissions period, there has been a 12% increase in session duration and 11% increase in number of sessions per user
- Over 70% of the website’s traffic since launch has come from organic search
“JBi Digital is the Rolls Royce of digital agencies and we have been given a first class experience. They delivered 100%, kept to their timelines and were endlessly helpful. The website is fantastic – we couldn’t be happier!”
Kate Thomas, Director of Marketing at Thomas’s London Day Schools
We recorded an interview with Kate to discuss her experiences of working with JBi, which you can watch by clicking here.
Thomas’s is an iconic brand and we are very proud to have been part of such an exciting period in its growth. We loved getting to know Thomas’s hard working team and look forward to working with them again on future projects.
If you have a project that you would like to discuss with the JBi team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch through [email protected] or by calling 0207 043 2510.