How Mainland Positioned Sylvan Learning as a Top Education Franchise

Armed with content and earned PR placements, Mainland ensures the supplemental learning franchise is properly highlighting its unique offering in a challenging marketplace.

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    With more than 40 years of experience and more than 750 locations throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of supplemental learning for students in grades K–12. As Sylvan continues to grow, Mainland works closely with the franchise to create and pitch stories that highlight the brand’s uniquely compelling points of differentiation from competitors.


    While Sylvan Learning originally partnered with Mainland in 2012 to help with their franchise development strategy, the partnership has continued to evolve over the years as the educational landscape undergoes seismic shifts. Especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sylvan Learning grappled with conveying their adaptive, robust solutions to both consumers and prospective franchisees. In such turbulent times, an effective partner was required to aptly communicate Sylvan’s strengths and resilience — Mainland to the rescue.


    In order to create the ultimate impact for brands, Mainland acts as everything from a full-service agency to consultancy and technology leader, leveraging several PR, content and data tools, as well as publications, to create engagement with candidates at all parts of the funnel.

    Mainland’s tailored strategy for Sylvan Learning encompassed:

    • Strategic and Evolving Content:

    To reach both parents and prospective franchisees, Mainland created a pool of strategic content on that underlined Sylvan’s well-positioned consumer and franchise offering for specific target audiences.

    Topics include everything from new franchise openings to franchisee spotlights, teacher incentive initiatives, pandemic learning loss recovery efforts and cost analysis of the franchise.

    Nowadays, Mainland has continued to adapt its “buzz factory” approach in order to position Sylvan Learning for success. For example, a recent focus has been on leveraging VP of Learning Emily Mitchell’s expertise to tackle pressing issues for parents and children. Some examples include:

    This content was meticulously tailored for target demographics, emphasizing Sylvan’s preparedness in the evolving landscape of education.

    • Content Amplification and Public Relations:

    Armed with content and earned PR placements, Mainland’s content engine,, amplified the reach, targeting both franchise and consumer audiences. This ensured Sylvan’s messaging reached potential stakeholders effectively.

    For example, Mainland successfully pitched those stories to a range of outlets, from trade to national, whose audiences aligned with Sylvan’s target demographics. Leaders from Sylvan were positioned to the media, ensuring the brand’s voice echoed in the right corridors. The stories, rich in educational insights, were pitched monthly, amplifying Sylvan’s prominence in the education domain.

    Recent local and national media placements include:

    • Conference Research and Applications

    Mainland diligently researched pertinent conferences, ensuring Sylvan’s participation and voice in key ed-tech dialogues, fostering both B2B and consumer engagements.


    Mainland’s strategies bore substantial dividends. In 2022 alone, Sylvan secured 95 interviews and an impressive tally of 67 media placements. The cumulative PR value soared to a staggering $1,588,300, complemented by an Ad Value of $453,800. More than just numbers, Sylvan’s voice became synonymous with adaptability and innovation in ed-tech.


    In the face of unprecedented challenges, Mainland’s adaptive, multifaceted approach ensured Sylvan Learning remained a top player in the early education and child care industry. By crafting compelling content, securing pivotal PR placements and ensuring participation in industry dialogues, Mainland positioned Sylvan as a resilient, forward-looking brand.

    “Mainland’s ability to pivot and adapt to the evolving educational scenario was instrumental in redefining our brand narrative during the pandemic,” said John McAuliffe, CEO of Sylvan Learning. “Their multi-pronged approach, from content curation to PR engagements, has fortified our positioning in the ed-tech landscape, making us the go-to voice on pivotal educational matters.”

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