What better way to kick of the new year than by celebrating some of the best and brightest school marketing and communication professionals from 2021? That’s right; we’re talking about the InspirED Brilliance Awards.

As proud sponsors of the awards, we know just how difficult it was for our judges to choose their winners. With hundreds of entries across ten categories, this was no easy feat, but to sift through the competition, a few key criteria were to be adhered to!
  • Originality
  • Persuasiveness
  • Effective copy
  • Visual impact
  • Execution
  • Overall appeal

Nominations could be submitted in any format and be from any year (not just 2021), so long as it was a first-time entry for the awards. But, before we dive in, we’d like to give a round of applause to everyone who submitted a nomination — we think you’re just brilliant. 

It’s truly inspiring to see that creativity and perseverance prevail even during one of the most challenging and uncertain years for many schools! With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our favourite award categories and winners!

Our top picks

1. Best in-house enrolment video

Winner: McCallie School

Location: Chattanooga, TN USA

The concept: To showcase students as well-rounded individuals with interests and talents that span across diverse areas, the school created a clever split-screen within the video, allowing students to explore their 'different worlds.' 


What the judges said

This is easily the most innovative videos submitted.  The use of the split-screen conveys the key message immediately — students aren't one-dimension but well-rounded.”

2. Best student welcome

Winner: Tabor Academy

Location: Marion, MA USA

The concept: Look familiar? The design of Tabor Academy's student welcome page plays on top streaming service 'Netflix' to create connection and tap into the lived experiences of students and staff. Check it out.


What the judges said

“Now, this is how you enrol a student! What a clever riff on "Netflix" and an invitation into the lived experiences of students and faculty at Tabor through an original TV series. A true peek into the culture, lifestyle, and community of this boarding school. Brilliant.”

3. Best fun video

Winner: Westminster Christian Academy

Location: St Louis, MO USA

The concept: Spirit Week is a 33-year tradition at Westminster Christian Academy, designed to build pride through a little healthy (but friendly) competition. A Star Wars Story was submitted by school faculty for the 2020 events, and it doesn't dissapoint.


What the judges said

“At over seven minutes, this was the longest video in the category. But WCA’s Faculty Project for Spirit Week 2020 grabbed me from the start and kept me engaged at every turn, making it seem shorter than the shorter videos I judged.”

4. Best paid advertising campaign

Winner: Trinity Anglican School

Location: Queensland, Australia

The concept: Similiar to McCallie School, this stunning design draws on a split-screen concept, showing what's possible with a Trinity Anglican School education through beautifully executed design and photography.


What the judges said

“Kudos to Trinity Anglican School for coming up with such a creatively imagined and beautifully constructed way to show what curiosity-in-action looks like for their students. The photography and artwork are stunning, and I love how TAS truly lets a picture say a thousand words without cluttering every available space with text.”

5. Best in-house still-photography

Winner: Sedbergh School

Location: Cumbria, UK

The concept: Authentic, genuine images that almost look as though they were taken by a professional photographer. Stunning natural backdrops don't hurt either, but what's most impressive is the school's knack for visual storytelling.

What the judges said

“Had to give these a perfect score. Though many of these look like they were created by a professional photographer, I really love the images with the boys at the campfire and the girls under the waterfall. It is not stylized-perfect imagery. But they tell a story about community and exploration—the keys for an exceptional education.” 

6. Best Covid-19 enrolment campaign

Winner: The Ellis School

Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

The concept: An on-demand webinar series that showcases in-house expertise on a range of relevant topics to assist students and parents during the pandemic.


What the judges said

“I love the concept of creating truly valuable resources for families during such a tumultuous time. The topics are relevant and helpful, and I'm sure school families appreciated the support.”

7. Best Covid-19 communications

Winner: Berkhamsted Schools Group

Location: Hetforshire, UK 

The concept: To commemorate the weight the pandemic has had on student learning and wellbeing while sharing a message of hope, inspiration, and togetherness.


What the judges said

“We've seen in marketing the power of videos to connect, elicit emotion, and persuade. This video does all three. COVID-19's disruption to "normalcy" required schools to pivot. This pivot required effective communications that reassured families, reaffirmed the school's commitment, and inspired families to support their school. This video was unique in that its intention was to give hope, show that this time was not "wasted," and highlight key lessons learned.”

We’re proud to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these schools! At Digistorm, we’re focused on creating premium school websites, apps, and admission management solutions to help schools just like yours thrive. So get in touch with our friendly team to talk about how we can support your goals to be brilliant this year.

Published 10 January 2022