Pupils on the tree workshop

In January, content marketing business the tree joined forces with east London charity Shoreditch Trust to develop a workshop for 14 to 16 year olds. Read more about the process here.

Businesses and educational establishments have not always been natural bedfellows.

Until recently, the degree of contact between local businesses and schools often amounted to nothing more than two weeks of work experience for GSCE students.

Around 2012, things began to change. The government released a report detailing the various ways in which businesses and schools could work together in order to raise skill levels and prepare the next generation for the world of work.

At the same time big name employers like Tesco and Pizza Express started offering schools programmes to achieve the same aims and more.

Today, more and more schools and businesses are working together to give pupils access to increasingly creative learning outside the classroom experiences.

One such business is the tree, a content marketing agency based in London that specialises in formulating ideas to help other local businesses and organisations build brands.

At the start of this year, the tree approached the charity Shoreditch Trust with the idea of creating a workshop that would give local pupils an insight into branding for business as well as help them learn more about healthy eating and nutrition.

“As a business that benefits from being in the area, we felt like it was important to look at how our skills and services could offer something to the community,” said Edward Fraser, head of content and production at the tree. “I approached Shoreditch trust and the workshop idea was a natural fit for the Food for Life scheme they were working on. Showing children how to take an idea and build a brand around it is a really creative and commercial process. We hope that it’s something they can talk about to potential employers in the future.”

During the workshop pupils aged between 14 and 16 were tasked with building a brand for food products that they were already growing as part of the Food for Life scheme – a project that was set up to bring schools, nurseries, hospitals and care homes, and their surrounding communities together around the core ethos of healthy, tasty and sustainable food.

More specifically the students looked at the psychology behind shape and colour. Tasks include a Jump the Shark exercise, which was designed to encourage them to think outside the box when coming up with words to describe their brand.

“The term ‘jumping the shark’ comes from an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz jumps a shark on water skis,” explained Edward. “The writers of the show had obviously written about everything else until that point and asked themselves what was next? Jumping a shark on water skis was way outside of the box, but it worked and gave them some of their highest ratings.”

By the end of the workshop children who had found mainstream learning challenging in the past, had excelled at their tasks. 

Branding workshops with the tree are also available to other schools and can be tailored to different Key Stages and abilities. For more information visit www.thisisthetree.com.