The pressure to recruit more and better students is always on -- but enrollment management often happens under the umbrella of an institutional marketing and branding effort that was developed without a recruitment/retention lens.
To be effective and efficient, brand development needs to be an institution-wide conversation, according to Beth Keserauskis, Vice President, Marketing and Enrollment Services, St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP).
“Institutions need to bring together marketing and recruitment to guide the conversation about brand promise, market position, and communicating to audiences across the student life cycle,” said Keserauskis. “Brand pillar conversations cannot take place in a vacuum without recruitment and retention in mind.”
Rebranding with recruitment in mind
Together with the administration at STLCOP, the marketing and admissions teams identified opportunities to strengthen the brand story, improve institutional business processes, and improve relationships with other important constituencies. Through a four-phase brand platform project, the College is building a brand that is translatable, so the lofty branding language can be turned into usable, sellable content for front-line staff and faculty.
“We made a conscious decision to have conversations about branding and recruitment at the same time,” Keserauskis said. “Who you are at your core needs to be supported by a SEM plan.”
Bringing marketing and enrollment management initiatives into alignment is a challenging process, she acknowledged, which requires buy-in from a variety of stakeholders. Ultimately, however, it can result in a much clearer branding as well as a clearer picture of your student audience.
For example: STLCOP’s new branding strategy includes emphasizing the benefits of their location adjacent to a worldclass academic medical center, the Washington University Medical Campus.
“It’s more than just a mailing address,” she said. “We’re building messaging around what that means for our students and alumni. How are our faculty and alumni connected to our partners in the medical campus? How do we leverage that proximity? What are the networking, job and internship possibilities? We make that location part of who we are and part of the core experience students can get.”
Facilitating the conversation
STLCOP’s planning included focus groups, surveys, audits of existing research, self-assessments and more.
“We also involved faculty along the way, because how we position ourselves academically has to be influenced and implemented by faculty,” Keserauskis said. “Now we’re at the phase where we’re working to operationalize our new brand platform in our strategic planning process.”
Keserauskis will bring all of this experience to her 2019 AACRAO SEM Conference session, sharing tips such as:
How to combine branding, marketing and sales to support recruitment.
How to translate a brand into a platform that’s usable by frontline staff.
How to facilitate the campuswide conversations to get buy-in from all stakeholders.
Learn more and register now.