An integrated marketing revolution at Ithaca College


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Paper presentation for the American Marketing Association's Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, November 12, 2012

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  • We originally developed a three-phase implementation plan, which we expected would take one to two years to complete. However, almost everything in this carefully crafted plan—and more—was completed within the first eight months. We tackled projects we thought would take more than a year or two to get to.   We secured a new institutional budget to support a College-wide brand awareness advertising campaign, enabling us to share our platform on much greater scale. We grew to recognize the importance of protecting our assets. We have registered two federal trademarks and are in the process of registering nearly ten more. We established a licensing program for the use of our trademarks and name on merchandise. We overhauled our display systems for admission counselors to take on the road as well as for the programs on campus. We created templates to further support our visual identity for presentations in PowerPoint and Keynote, electronic letterhead in Microsoft Word, email signature standards, digital signage, and more.
  • IC 20/20: a road map for creating a more integrated and robust academic experience by strengthening our academic offerings and support services. The College ’s institutional branding efforts needed to support that plan and present the institution’s message accordingly. Demographics: From 2008 to 2017, New York State alone is expected to see a 16 percent drop in college-bound students.   Net price calculator: While providing greater price transparency for families, these calculators are wrought with challenges and may change the timing of the recruitment process. The traditional recruitment process allowed a college or university to build a relationship with a student and articulate the value of their offerings before much direct discussion of price took place. In the new model, students may never engage in the recruitment process, and instead may be comparing cost estimates to the value of each institution ’s brand.
  • Lacked consistency – no integrated marketing, every school wanted their own identity. Web design in ITS, print design outsourced to several different designers. No one worked together. No visual standards manual. Org challenges: silos galore, we’ll talk about that more in depth later in this presentation Old logo: Only said the word “Ithaca.” When our President would wear a baseball hat or something with our logo on it out of town, he was often approached by people who would said – oh, that’s a great town. Do you work at Cornell?
  • Good problem: People creating their own Ready taglines; A&E gala opening used motown “Get Ready” song as theme
  • 26 positions. 10 people left.
  • Too soon. We’re doing a brand awareness campaign, not a direct response. However, our apps reached a record high this past year, as did our campus visits. Our summer melt was at an all-time low. We can’t attribute marketing as the primary reason for any of these successes, but we do believe it played at least a part.
  • An integrated marketing revolution at Ithaca College

    1. 1. An Integrated Marketing Revolution atRachel ReubenAssociate Vice President, Marketing Communications
    2. 2. OverviewThe plan …and the revolutionWhy did we develop a new brand identity?Project timelineMarket researchAchieving buy-in
    3. 3. OverviewBrand awareness advertising campaignLicensing & trademark enforcement programExpanding and restructuring the Office ofMarketing CommunicationsGoals and measuring results
    4. 4. The plan …and the revolutionOriginal mantra:“Evolution, not revolution”
    5. 5. The plan …and the revolutionOriginal game plan (my charge upon arrival)– Address problematic logo– Review internally developed positioning statement & identify steps to solidify in the marketplace– Establish integrated graphic standards– Create a tagline– Conduct market research to test positioning and brand standards– Restructure MarcomOriginal implementation plan– 3 phases over ~2 years
    6. 6. And then I hireda team of superheros
    7. 7. And then we had such strong buy-inand such a strong platform to tellour story, we wanted to findadditional vehicles for getting themessage out. Ready?
    8. 8. Why did we seek a new brand identity? Academic strategic plan: IC 20/20 Projected declining demographics in the Northeast Net price calculator
    9. 9. Why did we seek a new brand identity? Lacked consistency – no integrated marketing Organizational challenges Previous logo challenges
    10. 10. Timeline overview2009–10 academic year: Internal development ofpositioning statement and RFPAugust 2010: Project kickoff with Mindpower andSimpsonScarboroughFall 2010: Focus groups, market research perceptionstudies, dozens of campus presentations on why we’regoing through this process, and the initial brand identitypitch
    11. 11. Timeline overviewFebruary 2011: Reorganization of the Office of MarketingCommunications (OMC) and realignment of web designresponsibilities from Information Technology Services toOMCMarch 2011: Creative concept testsApril–July 2011: In-house refinement of visual executionand messaging; Creative Services group begins to formAugust 31, 2011: Reskinned site and site-wide template launched; advertising campaign and newIdentity Standards system launched
    12. 12. Timeline overview (cont.)Fall 2011: Campus-wide presentations of “before andafter”; implementation phase one completed and phasetwo well under waySpring 2012: Implementation phase two nearlycompleted and phase three well under way, which includedredesigning our prospective student magazine, changingthe logos on our fleet of 150 campus vehicles, creatingcompletely new display systems for college fairs and on-campus programs, and more
    13. 13. Market researchFall 2010 – focus groups & perception study– FG: Current students, faculty, staff, administrators, regional alumni– 15,000 prospective students– 10,000 higher ed peers– 2009 alumni attitude study resultsMarch 2011 – creative concept test– All audiencesJune-July 2011 – focus groupsJune 2012 – perception study & advertisingeffectiveness– Parents of admitted students
    14. 14. Achieving buy-inCMACTraveling road show part 1:– Where we’re going, where we are now, how we’ll get thereKey stakeholders preview – research findingsand brand identityTraveling road show part 2:– Before and afterIdentity and campaign reflected research,not internal preferencesA good “problem” to have…
    15. 15. Brand awareness advertising campaign To achieve greater visibility and strengthen public’s perception about IC Influencers were primary market highly targeted by demographics and geography Prospective undergrads were secondary target Worked with media agency for planning, buying and trafficking
    16. 16. Brand awareness advertising campaign Placements included: – New York Times FSIs in select drop zones – NPR underwriting spots – SEM – Banner ads – retargeting and marquee buys – Select magazines – Acela train – Pandora – YouTube – Facebook
    17. 17. Licensing & trademark enforcement program Ithaca College ® Licensing partner: Strategic Marketing Affiliates (SMA) Licensing program at a glance – Applying for 7 more trademarks – Logos, seal, nickname, Ready expressions Cortaca®
    18. 18. Expanding & restructuring theOffice of Marketing Communications Silos No in-house design services to support integrated marketing effort Not enough project managers to support all of the schools and administrative units Used open positions and reallocated existing operational budget resources to redefine and create new positions Received one new position through budget request process
    19. 19. Before
    20. 20. AfterCommunication Creative Services Client Marketing Recruitment Services Marketing• Media relations • Cross platform visual • School-based MCMs • Undergraduate and• Social media designers/developers • Project management graduate• Web communication • Print production and • Strategic marketing • Undergrad• Alumni magazine project management planning & execution recruitment magazine• Writers/editors • Photography • Sports information • Private social network• Crisis communication • Video• Marketing analyst • Licensing & trademark enforcement Integrated marketing brand management content development
    21. 21. Goals & measurementIs it working?
    22. 22. Goals & measurementInstitutional Strategic Marketing Plan– Situational analysis– Guiding questions market research assisted with– Goals tied to baseline perception study research– Strategies, tactics, budgetFour goals based on answers to questionsasked in fall 2010 & June 2012 perceptionstudies & where we’d like those answers tobe in fall 2014 re-test.Brand awareness – long arc to measureresults
    23. 23. Goals & measurementSecondary indicators – positive impacts to:– Donations and Development outcomes– Application numbers– Retention– Employee searches– Web analytics– Email analytics– Inquirers– Visitors to campus
    24. 24. Goals & measurementAdditional metrics:– Social media engagement– Ads – number of impressions (CTRs, CPC to an extent)– Web analytics– Tracking manifesto – all vanity URLs, all online campaigns
    25. 25. Next stepsTaking the campaign to new audiences– Prospective graduate students– Prospective faculty and administratorsCampus signageIntegrating the institutional brand identitywith the upcoming capital campaign
    26. 26. Questions ? Rachel ReubenAssociate Vice President, Marketing Communications@rachelreuben