Sora Schools on redefining the US high school experience

At Wunderdogs, we are passionate about supporting high-growth startups and are huge fans of disruption and innovation— even more so when done using technology. This is why we were incredibly excited to work with Sora Schools to redevelop their brand identity and website following their recent $2.7M raise. Their virtual school startup reimagines the US high school experience for students, centering their interests and dreams. We caught up with one of their co-founders, Indra Sofian, to discuss their unique approach to education, how they ensure accessibility and what the future holds for them.

On what inspired the need to tackle the traditional education system in the US

We were initially inspired to start Sora based on our own lackluster high school experiences. Still, the real inspiration came from the countless conversations we had with teachers, principals, school founders, education reformers, and other people in the space. Those interviews and discussions made us realize how broken our education system is in the US and how little it actually prepares students for their future fields of study, careers, and life in general.

On project-based education 

Project-based learning much more closely mimics the work people do in their careers than the passive learning-based lecture model. It will prepare them for life after school. According to a study comparing student performance in cooperative learning versus traditional lecture-based education, students who learn through projects and small group discussion perform significantly better than lecture-based students in both recall and problem-solving.

On the accessibility of world-class education

At Sora, we believe that to prepare students to explore the world, our school community should reflect the real world with a diverse student body that is representative of all socio-economic backgrounds. By default, our virtual format allows us to reach students in areas where they typically don't have access to a world-class education or the resources necessary. Right now, we offer financial assistance to families who can't afford our full tuition. In the future, we look forward to introducing other ways of increasing accessibility like a work-study program, donations, and more!

On what the future holds for Sora

Sora is growing across the United States. In the next couple of years, we hope to begin expanding internationally as well. At the program level, we're looking to incorporate select in-person learning experiences and further develop our partnerships with companies and other organizations to integrate real-life work experiences and projects with our students’ work.

On working with Wunderdogs

Your team performed excellent work with our visual rebrand. We were impressed by the quality of their work, and we were always delighted to see the results when it came time for our weekly syncs. They worked fast and iterated quickly based on our feedback."

It has been a pleasure working with the team at Sora and we can’t wait to witness even more success in the future. Branding is just one of the many services we offer at Wunderdogs – find out about all the other exciting things we get up to here.


How do vision and mission statements impact a company's long-term direction?

Effective vision and mission statements should ideally constitute important tools in formulating a company’s strategy. They should largely remain unchanged through the years, though a significant pivot may bring about new vision and mission statements. Together, they work to define the focus of the business and how it impacts the world. 

The vision statement is a representation of your company’s view of a better world. The mission statement reflects how it sets about to achieve this vision. They work together to create internal alignment and help with strategic decision making. When planning for the future, developing new products, or experimenting with new strategies, teams can perform a quick check against the vision and mission statements to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with the essence of the brand. 

In short, the vision and mission statements are powerful tools which can and should impact decisions across the organizations, making them important factors in a company’s long-term direction.

How does brand strategy influence the overall success of a business?

Your brand strategy reflects how your brand sees the world and its role within it. It is the framework that, ideally, should guide all your communications (both external and internal) and audience touchpoints, i.e. each interaction an audience member has with your business. 

Having standardized communication across all channels and touchpoints makes business processes smoother and positively influences your client relationships, ensuring you develop strong, long-term connections with your customers. It also simplifies strategic decision-making and aligns your team. All these factors are vital to the success of a business.

How do messaging frameworks help communicate your brand message effectively?

Messaging frameworks are structured guides that outline the core messages, value propositions, and differentiators of a brand. They ensure consistency across all communications, from marketing materials and social media posts to customer service interactions. By defining key messages that resonate with the brand's target audiences, messaging frameworks help ensure that a brand’s communications are clear and memorable. 

They also help organizations stay aligned internally and ensure that each member, regardless of their role, understands what the brand’s key message is and how to communicate it effectively. This internal alignment is crucial for presenting a unified brand image to the outside world.

What specific elements contribute to a brand's verbal identity?

A brand’s verbal identity should align your team on how your brand communicates and how this communication changes depending on the situation. It defines a specific and recognizable language through which your brand can deliver its message to your audience or audiences.

Typically, a verbal identity includes some, or all, of the following elements:

Brand personality: This captures the human traits or characteristics that your brand embodies, such as being adventurous, sophisticated, or reliable, which help shape how your brand is perceived.

Brand voice: The brand voice reflects how your brand reflects its personality across all communication channels.

Brand tone: While the brand voice remains consistent, the brand tone can change depending on the context of the message and the audience being addressed, ranging from formal and professional to informal and friendly.

Messaging frameworks: These are strategic tools that outline the key messages your brand intends to communicate to its different target audiences, ensuring that all messaging is aligned with your brand's mission, vision, and value propositions.

Messaging examples: These provide specific examples of how your brand's messaging might be applied in various scenarios.

Style and grammar guidelines: These outline your preferred spelling, grammar, and style, ensuring that your communication is consistent across the board. 

What are some key considerations when developing a tone of voice for a brand?

The first and most important consideration is the brand’s personality. While businesses are functional, they still communicate with people – and people primarily connect with stories and personas. Your brand’s personality will define a set of human characteristics which reflect how it sees itself in the world. By giving your brand these human attributes, you are making it both distinctive and easier to identify with. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality.

It’s also important to consider your target market and your audience’s expectations. While having a distinctive tone of voice is important for memorability, there is such a thing as being too different. If all brands in your segment adopt a serious, professional tone, and you would like to be fun and playful, there is certainly space for that, but consider very carefully why you are doing it.


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