How do you promote a school? How do you attract prospects? And how do you turn prospects into applicants?
Since many educational institutions are tuition-driven, attracting prospects is typically the goal of most communication strategies. But how? And what should your message be? There are a few key attributes that every school has in varying degrees that prospects use to decide where they’d like to apply. To find out what these are, often a simple, informal focus group of incoming students can help the institution understand what attracted them, and help focus future messaging. Brand attributes that a school should review are:
Is your school a sprawling parkland or part of the urban jungle? Do you have acres of open space or are you a cluster of buildings in an urban setting? Are there natural or historical features that distinguish your campus from others?
Who are your alumni? Are some well-known? Successful? Have they gone on to do interesting things? What do they earn on graduation? What rate do they graduate? And how strong and wide of a network do they form?
Who are your faculty today? In the past? Are any well-known? Are they mostly seasoned professionals that teach part-time, a course a week? Are they mostly full-time faculty committed to teaching and research?
What special resources do you offer students? Are you a tech center endowed with the latest technology? Do you have athletic facilities that can train Olympic athletes? Do you have a world-class museum down the street? Do you have industry professionals working cooperatively with your programs?
What is unique about your location? Do you have snow-covered mountains? A sunny climate? A sandy beach? Access to cultural institutions? Are you able to attract prospects internationally or are you a regional draw because of convenience?
What programs do you offer? Do you have a broad scope or an educational speciality? Is your strength in academic rigor? Vocational training? Are there programs you want to fill or grow?
What do you offer students socially? Do you have a well-respected football team with games every weekend? Is your school’s sports programs important to attracting students? Is the Greek system a large part of campus life? Is your campus in a rural setting where students make their own fun? Are you in an urban center where there’s a party every night? Are there special events that your school is known for?
Are you Ivy League? A local choice? Big Ten school with strong athletic programs? A party school with a laid-back attitude? A liberal arts powerhouse full of free-thinkers? A college that was historically a choice for minorities or women? Are you religiously affiliated?
Are you a top-tier college worth every penny? Are you a good value for local students? Are you the best mix of tuition and income—the best value for your prospects?
Every school is evaluated by prospects based on these criteria and the criteria vary in importance by student. For some, a park-like campus of a liberal arts school in Southern California that offers a variety of interesting courses is the way to go. For others, the big city excitement of a New York school with its access to professionals in a creative field is a better choice. Or for some, a grassy campus outside of an urban center at a school that’s less expensive but well-respected fills the need. No school can be everything to every student and knowing your strengths is crucial to establishing your message. Understanding how to adapt your promotional materials for the greatest impact is what Studio 23 does best.
We create communication strategies and implement designs that attract prospects but we don’t stop there. We create designs—whether online or off—that make it easy for prospects to connect to clients. Our single-minded goal is always to focus the prospects on becoming applicants, and applicants becoming students.