Western Carolina University

The Low Down
For colleges, the competition to attract new students is fierce -- like March Madness that goes on all year.  The new reality is schools need to work harder to get on kids’ radar to even be considered.  Although part of the acclaimed UNC system, Western Carolina University wasn’t widely known to be a “UNC Campus”, and unlike others in the system, they didn’t enjoy a distinctive personality.

What They Needed
A recruitment-focused marketing plan and creative campaign to present all that WCU had to offer.

What We Gave 'Em
Research Karen fielded included hundreds of conversations with high-school students and their parents.  We discovered kids felt overwhelmed by too much info from schools, when they wanted only very specific information -- and they preferred it presented visually.  The kids wanted to know what made the school unique, but to see it in a way which let them “picture themselves” there.  The solution offered tailored, visual messages about WCU, presented when and where the kids were open to it; including online, in-theatre, in-school and outdoor media.

What Happened Next
WCU received record-setting response, with more than one million prospects reached during the campaigns. From the six-month online program alone, “Western Carolina University” moved from a page three or four showing, to a page one showing on search engine results, with 8,000 prospects clicking through to the WCU site to discover more about what this school had to offer.

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