Update on strategic positioning for October 2022 | Events, social marketing, & Y1 advertising outcomes
The first week of September signified the next milestone in the Reputation Strategy work as the public launch of the brand was announced and the beginning of our owned media transitioned to reflect the new visual identity style guide. For many of you who have been working on the brand tirelessly over the past month, year, and more, it was a high-pressure week full of testing, troubleshooting, and pivots as functionality and form connected through launches. It was also an exciting moment for the University! With milestones in mind, I wanted to share updates from the past couple of months.
With our current social media team reaching the one-year mark of our time together coinciding with the launch of DU’s new brand platform, we have started a deep dive of the results of our efforts to inform strategy adjustments on our brand channels.
Here is a quick look at some of the year-over-year (YoY) highlights and dramatic growth in our key performance metrics (KPIs):
- Impressions went up 23.9%
- Engagements went up 41.4%
- Link clicks increased by 157.8%
- Overall audience across all channels grew by 75%
The summer commencement posts on LinkedIn had the most engagement this summer.
I’d like to give a loud shout-out to the social marketing team for their amazing work! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.
Much of the engagement with DU’s brand is through our events—the spaces where we showcase our brand’s experiences and celebrate milestones.
This year we have collaborated with multiple partners on a variety of events—everything from Commencement to supporting Discovery Orientations for new students. We’ve launched custom content, such as a Commencement takeover in The Bridge, a new video series for social media, and a timelapse video of our new students creating the traditional DU. We’ve also partnered with others to promote the first ever Langar event this past June. The Sikh event helped to create connection and community through food, music, and art. We provided guidance on messaging, created social media assets, and helped promote the event through our various owned channels.
As we continue to look for ways to help advance university programming and create efficiencies, the content marketing and communications teams developed a tier system to help campus partners determine the necessary level of marketing support for the variety of events hosted on campus. Once implemented, the event tier system will help MarComm provide more efficient and effective support. Each tier features specific tactics to support them, allowing us to deploy resources better and ensure brand continuity with our audiences as we amplify our efforts to elevate DU.
While there have been a series of messages shared over the past few months, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the team’s hard work on the brand over the past few months. From the new brand resource website with a variety of tools and resources, our new logo’s debut on social media, Zoom backgrounds, a new PowerPoint template and email signature, as well as the refreshed For the Difference (FTD) campaign creative direction and materials, it’s an exciting time here at DU! The team even created DU’s first Girl Scouts badge.
And we’re just getting started:
Naming conventions for college and school logos were officially reviewed, and we are working on building out the remainder of the department kits now that we have the green light.
Design for environmental banners and other graphics are underway with the desire to have the new brand available in more places in October as we welcome our next wave of community members back to campus.
With an elevated approach to business papers (letterhead, envelopes, and business cards) moving forward, the team has been hard at work with the University’s preferred partner to outline content parameters, paper standards, and production set-up.
We are working to secure a single source for name badges to allow the University additional negotiating power and consistency in the quality of the product.
For the Difference (FTD) Campaign
In addition to creating and releasing our marketing campaign style guide last month, the team was hard at work on updating DU’s institutional commercial. I’m happy to share a sneak peek at DU’s new :30 commercial, which showcases our honed brand voice and unique value propositions. The spot will officially hit the market through our Athletics events. Over the coming year, it will be used in over-the-top and social advertising as well as serve as our institutional spot in Altitude Sports and in our Rocky Mountain Public Media underwriting. As in Y1, the advertising will be complemented by direct outreach and content marketing pieces that consistently elevate our differentiators. Here is a look at one such piece, highlighting the student experience.
I’m also thrilled to share that the first year of the For the Difference marketing campaign surpassed our expectations! Credit goes to the team for this work when we’ve experienced the first year of a central advertising campaign, an unprecedented amount of growth in our division, and a huge volume of initiatives to tackle. We have been digging into the data points to establish benchmarks for the coming year, and here are a few highlights of how the campaign contributed to DU’s outcomes:
- More than 2,000 visit actions and 1,000 applications for admission
- A 13% increase in new visitors to the University’s website, and increases in new website visitors in all five target markets
- More than 127M impressions and 449K clicks through the digital ad sets
- A 792% increase in impressions on DU’s sponsored content within the Thought Leader sub-campaign
- A cost-per-action for graduate paid search that is half of our agency’s current benchmark
Yet again, I feel inclined to say we’re just getting started. More on the adjustments we’ll be making to the FTD strategy for Y2 in coming months. The future is looking very bright.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me, Johanna Blickenstaff (Johanna.Blickenstaff@du.edu), or Shira Good (Shira.Good@du.edu) with any questions you might have regarding our marketing, communications, or strategic positioning efforts.