As colleges and universities across the US compete for a smaller pool of students, Mount St. Joseph University, a small, private liberal arts college in Cincinnati, Ohio, needed to create a strategic advantage in recruiting new students and boosting enrollment numbers.
The University was well-established with some audience segments, but completely new to many others; so part of the challenge was to diversify the brand across audiences, creating awareness and engagement with new audiences while maintaining consistency with brand supporters.
Sanger & Eby conducted a series of focus groups with high school seniors to determine their motivators in deciding to learn more about a college or university, as well as their deciding factors for choosing a school. Key learnings from the focus groups centered around printed recruiting materials as a primary information source and driver in decision-making.
Sanger & Eby conducted a competitive survey of printed recruiting materials from a range of colleges and universities, including schools very different from and very similar to Mount St. Joseph University, identifying strengths and opportunities as well as market whitespace.
Sanger & Eby then developed strong, strategic messaging, reflecting a unique and engaging personality that could be carried throughout various touchpoints throughout the recruiting process.
A series of recruiting materials including an expanded viewbook, a travel brochure to provide a quick overview of the school at college fairs, a financial aid brochure, and a degree program brochure: these pieces work together to provide a comprehensive overview of the college.
A bright, engaging design and custom photography art-directed by the Sanger & Eby team provide the foundation for the school’s communications platform. Voice was a key component of connecting with prospective students; development of fresh, new copy clearly and powerfully communicates the advantages of the University to its target audience and the pieces create a compelling reason to learn more about the institution. They also generate a strong sense of excitement and engagement, creating a competitive advantage.
Sanger & Eby expanded the campaign to include graduate degree programs and initiated development of a new advertising campaign including radio, digital and print billboards, and web banners.
Sanger & Eby provided concepting, development, and production of this work as well, including developing scripts, hiring talent, and recording and producing the final spots for both commercial radio and NPR stations. A motion video for YouTube rounded out the campaign across platforms for a cohesive message reaching the target audience when they were most receptive and engaged.
Interest levels in Mount St. Joseph University skyrocketed, and applications increased 32% in the first year of using the new materials, dramatically exceeding expectations and helping the college chart a successful new path. Enrollment exceeded expectations, climbing 15% in the campaign’s initial year, and increased again in 2015 – by another 18%.
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