Pearson Education

From a What to Why brand: A Leading education publisher gets a new, digitally focused brand for 21st century growth

Brand Training, Brand Equity and Perception Research, Qualitative and Quantitative Research, Business and Product Planning

Pearson Education is a leading publishing and assessment service for schools, corporations, and students. As digital materials became ubiquitous in the education world, Pearson struggled to evolve amidst their longstanding culture of paper catalogs, sales tools and print materials. 

“The rebrand has evolved Pearson from an archaic, one trick pony brand to a category dominating behemoth in the education world.”

Pearson owned positive brand associations but mostly as a narrowband “What” provider of catalogs and books/systems, where key products were uncompetitive. The publisher’s competitors were becoming increasingly savvy online, far ahead of Pearson’s learning curve. Institutions of higher learning and school district superintendents were also upscaling their digital authority and behaviors, as were students across the board.

“Placing customer experience at the center of the new brand informed an about face for the new outward facing brand.”

As the world rapidly shifted away from paper in the early 2000’s, there was no playbook for how educators would buy products and teach information in this increasingly digital world, Ideon was tasked with shifting Pearson to a “Why” digital and modern brand equipped to lead the modern era of learning and transform the categories of education and literacy.

“The problem seemed simple but was fraught with challenges to rethink a legacy company and reinvent as one for the 21st century” said Pearson Education ex-SVP Marketing Gregg Driben.

Out of this mission to reimagine the world of teaching, Ideon mapped various customer journeys and articulated vital steps and touchpoints along the way, transforming Pearson’s education landscape into a seamless multi-channel experience for educators, professionals and students alike.

To inform this rebrand we ran multiple competitive and trend audits and tested images and messages with district superintendents and curriculum directors across the US. For each audit, we developed a comprehensive and engaging deck for Pearson to understand the existing market opportunities and equity points to leverage. 

Further, we contemporized communications, anchoring all engagement in crisp, compelling messages and visual design to trigger positive associations. Sales to educators were refocused into lifelong partnerships, with customer satisfaction at the center, helping to raise Pearson’s reputation and equity. 

“The campaign launch engaged educators and students alike into Pearson’s new digital foothold and interest in their learning experience.”

This work comprehensively retooled Pearson as a unique, global leader in the learning category with an expanded role as a provider of digitally based education, assessment and reading products and experiences.           

Ideon also revealed a sales culture which impeded Pearson’s ability to break out of its outdated, narrow focused brand. Ideon ran sales inspiration training to help Pearson break through, turning the brand outward as a global leader in the education conversation for learners, professionals and educators. 

Driben said that Ideon’s work has been, “absolute proof of the power of great thinking, great interpersonal skills., great research, strategies and ideas”

Dribben added that “Andrea and her team gave us everything we need to compete and communicate successfully. I can’t speak highly enough about the whole experience.”

With a refreshed Why brand and evolved digital footprint, Pearson gained social exposure, grew US market share and stayed afloat in a highly competitive digital era. Pearson has emerged as a unique thought leader and educator brand in the 21st century, filling a space unlike any other in the category. 

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“ The problem seemed simple but was fraught with challenges to rethink a legacy company and reinvent as one for the 21st century. Through great thinking, great interpersonal skills, great research, strategies and ideas, Andrea and her team gave us everything we needed to compete and communicate successfully. Can't speak highly enough about the whole experience. ”
Gregg Driben, former SVP Marketing