Regional victorian college

Award-winning crisis management


A prestigious Victorian regional co-educational college faced significant reputational challenges managing its transition from traditional uniforms to a more inclusive and contemporary student wardrobe.

Working with COVID restrictions and an exhausted staff communication regarding uniform were not as proactive as originally planned student and parent trust in the faith-based college’s leadership plummeted with a petition raised by the parents. The situation escalated when inaccurate wardrobe images and leadership quotes spread online, leading to a parent led petitioned, attracting negative national media coverage and demands for comment.

College leadership needed to address the crisis quickly and asked us to develop a media response and management plan to regain community trust and re-build their historically solid reputation. We were briefed the Thursday and needed to develop a compelling strategy to launch first thing Monday.

The timeline was tight, and our specialist team swung into action.

Our approach

The goal was to restore trust within the college community. To evaluate we set six clear outcome-focused objectives that could be easily measured using feedback, communication channels and media coverage.

Over the weekend our strategist, visual designer, copywriter and media specialist worked with the college leadership team and developed a two-fold approach to reset the narrative, neutralise media coverage, and restore trust and confidence.

The first approach focused on informing stakeholders of progress and expediting a detailed launch announcement of the new wardrobe. This stopped speculation and corrected misinformation.

The second was to acknowledge apologise in order to rebuild trust and confidence within the community – demonstrating that the college leadership had listened to feedback and adapted, and would continue to do so.

By Monday morning we had fully developed strategy focussing on a soft launch of the new wardrobe and measurable objectives for the college, media and broader community. Our tactical execution, audience and timetable plan was focused on achieving the best cut through and engagement in a short amount of time.

Our impact

Post-launch feedback and evaluation shows that each of the six outcome-focused objectives were successfully met. The conciliatory tone of voice adopted, and key messages generated a positive response to the new wardrobe, misinformation was corrected in the media and crucially, trust in the college’s leadership and reputation was again tracking in a positive direction within the community.