In 2004, Virginia’s Longwood University hired CRT/tanaka to revitalize its brand, raise awareness and increase enrollment in a fiercely competitive college admissions market. The agency began by conducting intensive research among critical university stakeholders, including alumni, faculty, staff, community leaders and state legislators, as well as among prospective students and parents. Based on research findings, CRT/tanaka developed the theme “Discover the Power in You” to emphasize Longwood’s outstanding academic programs, small-campus setting, dedicated faculty and unique opportunities for experiential learning. This theme continues to guide Longwood’s branding campaign, which includes an integrated mix of public relations, advertising, marketing and interactive strategies. The campaign has seen Longwood’s application, visitor and enrollment numbers grow to record levels.
BRANDING CAMPAIGN/DISCOVER THE POWER IN YOU
In the fiercely competitive college admissions market, Virginia’s Longwood University felt increasing pressure to raise awareness and increase enrollment among prospective students. Failure to do so meant missing revenue goals and stalling momentum generated by new academic and athletic initiatives. Longwood tapped CRT/tanaka to develop a new image/identity to help the university better connect with prospective college students in Virginia.
CRT/tanaka’s brand strategy began with intensive research designed to engage critical university stakeholders. Research efforts included:
- 24 focus groups across Virginia with prospective students, Longwood alumni, faculty, staff and athletes.
- Telephone and online surveys with prospective students and parents, Longwood alumni and current Longwood students.
- One-on-one interviews with Longwood faculty, staff, coaches, community influencers and state legislators.
Research findings anchored development of the Longwood marketing campaign. Our chosen campaign theme, “Discover the Power in You,” emerged naturally from the research, reflecting the strengths and opportunities research showed Longwood to have.
CRT/tanaka developed and executed a strategic plan primarily focused on increasing enrollment among Virginia students who want what Longwood has to offer: small campus/rural town setting, great faculty dedicated to teaching students, the opportunity for real world experience before graduation and a growing community.
Activities have included social media adivsement, which resulted in the development of admissions counselor profiles on Facebook, on-campus social media promotions and recruitment video contests; highly targeted radio, print, online and cable television advertising; media relations; and internal and external brand roll out activities. Other programs include admissions Web site copywriting and video production, electronic newsletters to guidance counselors and prospective students, production of campus events and admissions office “road shows,” and the development and launch of a new athletics program logo.
- 350 percent increase in the total number of students who applied to Longwood for early admission since launching the brand.
- Record student enrollments and largest freshman class in university’s history, three years in a row.
- 200 percent increase in the number of unique visitors to the Longwood microsite, www.whylongwood.com, in October 2005.
- 2008 Hampton Roads Addy Award for cable TV spots.
- 2007 PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for Discover the Power in You campaign.
- 2007 Richmond PRSA Bronze Anvil awards for brochure design.
- 2007 Council for Advancement and Support of Education awards for admissions materials.