Seton Hall University sought to create a new image that emphasized its Catholic tradition and contemporary spirit, along with the benefits of its diverse student body, its community service emphasis, and its campus location – all within the motto: Mind, Body, Spirit.
Interviews with the communications and enrollment services directors revealed that the university’s strategy was to use only one, expensive, cumbersome, and costly-to-mail piece to inspire students to apply. We recommended using the funds earmarked for the one large booklet to implement our innovative “Step-Up Redundancy” approach.
The “Step-Up” approach called for splitting the project into pre-visit and visit pieces, creating multiple touch points for each prospect. We created a 4”x 9” search mailer for 140,000 general prospects, followed by an additional search mailer for those who had already made contact with the University. These pieces were followed by other pre-visit pieces, including a travel piece and a viewbook. Visit, or closing, materials included an invitation to visit, on-campus visit piece, parent brochure, financial aid piece, and value-based brochure. These multiple pieces were produced for about the same cost as the originally planned large booklet.
In 2007, as a result of our advertising and recruitment marketing strategies and tactics, we saw a 50 percent increase in applications, a 52 percent increase in campus visits and a 47.5 percent increase in open house registrations—which yielded an 11 percent increase in attendance at open house events. In 2009, we again partnered with Seton Hall University on their recruiting materials, and our results included an additional 38 percent increase in applications and an 18 percent increase in enrollment, including students whose average two-part SAT scores were 33 points higher than the previous year.
Dallas Baptist University, a premier Christian university in Dallas, Texas, selected Peterson Ray & Company for a facelift for their recruitment and admissions campaigns. Specifically, they were looking for a design team with “higher ed experience, who offered comprehensive services — one who could provide strategy and visually appealing communications in digital and print formats, who would understand our faith-based culture and who had great references.”
Our team met with key stakeholders from DBU and helped them confirm their message platform and develop five supporting key messages. Using the defined set of messages, we developed a series of integrated recruitment pieces that established a robust recruitment program that clearly communicated the benefits of DBU to prospective students.
Having done all that and more, today DBU uses their new tagline and extending key messages in every communications piece leaving the university, from press releases to the president’s speeches to print collateral. Every utterance repeats their new messaging, branding an image in their audiences’ minds that DBU is the place where the most successful servant leaders are made.
We are completing the admissions campaign for DBU to roll out this fall, and are presently developing the admissions website, all of which integrates their communications platform every step of the way.
Indiana Wesleyan University, located in Marion, Indiana, is an evangelical Christian university committed to liberal arts and professional education. In spite of academic accolades such as being ranked by U.S. News & World Report as “one of the best Master’s universities in the Midwest,” previous marketing efforts for IWU had failed to adequately show the school’s students, campus beauty and sophisticated facilities.
Peterson Ray’s assignment was to verbally and visually rebrand the recruitment publications to not only tell the IWU story, but also to engage the reader visually with photos that communicate the sense of place and social environment. After working with key stakeholders among staff, faculty and the student body, we created a theme using versions of a “your life story” concept: Imagine your life story, live your life story, consider your life story, etc.
We spent two full days on campus capturing the unique beauty of the university, showing the interaction of students with each other and the faculty. We then designed a suite of six pieces to showcase the university; a search mailer, a viewbook, a magazine-like travel piece, an over-sized facts piece, and two direct response mailers.
The recruitment campaign became immediately recognizable. Not only are the designs saturated with the IWU brand colors of deep red and silver, the photos are rich and prominent, the message is creative, clear and concise. Along with a revitalization of the IWU brand, the campaign was embraced both internally and externally. Better yet, new student applications soared to new heights.
As independent schools continue to compete for shrinking market share, Applewild School, a K-8 school in Fitchburg, MA, looked to rebrand with the goal of revitalizing their admissions, re-energizing their faculty and staff and opening up new avenues for fundraising.
Our work began by conducting a series of interviews with the school’s key stakeholders – administrators, faculty, staff, parents and students – and producing a comprehensive Findings Report, an anonymous document prioritized by emphasis, strengths and weaknesses. This report shed light on what was and was not important to Applewild’s target audiences and helps focus leadership’s vision.
During our interviews, we heard the concept “AND” used over and over again. “Applewild has both Passion AND Spirit,” or is about “Investing AND Empowering”, and so on. We identified these common “X & Y” statements and developed a comprehensive brand message platform whose planks were built upon this theme. Visually, we tied the theme together with the recurring use of an iconic ampersand as a key element. The message platform guided the content, design and photography used in all communications materials developed for the revised brand: website, business cards, admissions brochure, bookmark, and postcard campaign.
After rolling out the new brand and marketing campaign, Applewild began the new school year with a 16% increase in new students and a 17% increase in applications.
Howard Payne University's 'A Call to SEND' campaign materials were developed to support the university's ambitious 10-year, $68 million capital campaign. The university needed a contemporary visual brand that would support the life of the campaign and comprehensive support materials for meetings with prospective donors for Phase I of fundraising.
Our team was asked to design printed materials that would be used primarily in support of one-on-one meetings with prospective donors. The materials needed to provide logical flow to the presentation and support the talking points of the person seeking the donation. Using the campaign's case statement and message platform as our starting point, our team organized the information and developed copy to support the key messages and describe Phase I of the project.
Visually, we sought to create strong, branded imagery that supported the goals of the campaign and remained true to Howard Payne University's core Christ-centered principles. Working with the University's color palette, we created a graphic with brush strokes that creates a subtle Christian cross, coupled with a graphic representation of the word 'SEND' in a contemporary font, with active blocks of color on the right side that represents the sending of students into the world, and the students sending support back to the university. We also created a brief video and a microsite to accompany the materials and support the campaign.
These materials were approved unanimously by the University's Board of Trustees and Campaign/Advancement team. The advancement team was extremely pleased with the organization of the package and the visual representation of the brand of the campaign. The materials have recently been fielded in Phase I and fundraising results are pending.