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Case Study: University of the District of Columbia

CLIENT

University of the District of Columbia
Washington, DC (October 2013 – Present)

MARKETING / BRANDING CHALLENGE

The concern centered around the university’s identity. There was a significant disconnect between how the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) community saw itself and how it was often negatively perceived by internal and external stakeholders.There was a need to create one consistent brand message across all university programs, departments and communications collateral for its targeted audiences.


STRATEGIC SOLUTION

In November 2013, we began working on an 18-month full recruitment advertising campaign with the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), an urban, historically Black public college. Our challenge was centered around the fact that there was a significant disconnect with the university’s identity. UDC saw itself one way while the internal and external stakeholders often saw them in the complete opposite way. To eliminate the negative perceptions from the community, there needed to be one consistent brand message across all university programs, departments and communications collateral for its targeted audiences.


As the university’s agency of record, SRB Communications created and executed an 18-month recruitment advertising campaign, utilizing traditional and non-traditional media for the Fall 2014, Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 semesters.


Conducting market research and analyzing the current collateral produced by the university was the first task that was completed to develop a Communications Plan. In March 2013, the UDC Board of Trustees approved the plan that was developed over the last four months by SRB Communications and the recruitment enrollment campaign was launched.


UDC worked in tandem with SRB Communications to develop messaging and manage an advertising and marketing campaign that rebranded and highlighted a ‘new’ vision of the university. We developed messaging and a multi-platform strategic marketing campaign that engaged and educated the community and reached the three core demographics (adults 30+, some with families; high school graduates, primarily from D.C. Public Schools and Public Charter Schools, and transfer students). Through this campaign, we identified and profiled six UDC ambassadors (alumni and students) who served as the campaign’s voice. Each brought their personalized UDC experiences to life. Not only has UDC successfully rebranded itself as a viable and affordable university in Washington D.C., but as a place Where Lives Are Changed .


The advertising and marketing mix consisted of outdoor advertising that generated more than 40 million combined impressions using metro transit and buses, print ads, social media, brand ambassador videos, radio spots and website landing page. Additionally, we produced several pieces of marketing collateral including uniquely designed undergraduate and graduate admissions brochures and inserts, an open house brochure, and a coffee table book highlighting the university’s strategic plan.


The campaign successfully increased the overall recruitment efforts at the university and not only allowed for UDC to successfully rebrand itself as a viable and affordable university in Washington D.C., but as a place Where Lives Are Changed.