Towards the tail end of my high school career, I really started considering how it was that I would be able to leave my own legacy.
I believe that one of the most impactful things I did in my time at St Alban’s College was establishing @thegreyandblue.
It was 2012 and I was really frustrated with the fact that while I believed my school was really cool, no one outside of Pretoria had seemed to have ever heard of it. It was around about the time that social media was beginning to really boom, and while some schools were on the various social networking platforms (St Alban’s included), I did not feel like the content being created and shared really captured what the school was about and how cool it actually is.
Communications from the schools’ social media feeds were quite clearly being run by someone in the marketing department of the school. To be frank, it was boring.
I understood the power of being able to go viral and I believed that social media was a great tool to be able to tell the rest of the world how cool we really were. In fact, if we created good enough content, it would be of interest to current students, prospective students, parents, alumni, etc. In essence, I believed that as boys of the school, we had the power to market the school a whole lot better than someone being employed to do so.
So I approached a couple of my good friends with the idea, and between us, we put a diverse team of content creators and aggregators together.
We then drew up a proposal for the Headmaster and asked if we could run social media accounts (on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) on behalf of the school, as boys. With some hesitancy, he agreed on condition that we got one of our teachers to supervise (naturally, as the school’s brand was now in our hands).
To cut a long story short, we blew up. Our content was going viral and everyone seemed to be talking about St Alban’s College in Gauteng. And after about 6 months, the Headmaster took the decision to close the schools’ social media accounts, and replace them with ours.
“For the boys, by the boys” – @thegreyandblue’s slogan
Give or take 2 years, other boys schools in the country followed suit.
Today, @thegreyandblue still exists and is as influential as ever.
Find the attached LinkedIn post from my then Headmaster, Tom Hamilton: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:651588647202799616
Due to the co-founding of @thegreyandblue and leading a winning team at Vega School’s Brand Challenge, I received the school prize for Originality and Enterprise in both 2013 and 2014.
In hindsight, @thegreyandblue was perhaps the first step in my journey towards marketing.