Ideas, insights and inspirations.

Not a week goes by that we don’t see the news of a college closing, merging or downsizing. Unfavorable demographics and remote locations are purported to be the primary reasons for their troubles. We disagree. Having served numerous colleges over the past two decades, and observing the evolving collegiate scene, we believe that the following reasons are the key drivers that put colleges in distress: Marketing Imagination Many colleges in distress lack marketing imagination. They fail to invest in creating a distinctive brand based on their one strong-to-impenetrable differentiation, learning to speak with their one true brand voice, nurturing the brand with thoughtful communications, or protecting the brand from being fractured by the forces of efficiency. They fail to shift their overall communications perspective from one that is centered around what the institution offers to one focused on projects, ideas and stories of their students, faculty and alumni (the real “heroes” of the story). Enrollment Management Practices The enrollment practices … Continue reading

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In the era of declining college applications, how does a college gain an outsized share of a shrinking market? Here are 10 strategies that visionary college presidents and their teams are continually deploying to fortify and turnaround their institutions: 1. Invest in Branding. Babson has positioned itself as THE college for entrepreneurship, American University as THE supplier of “wonks” to the political and governmental establishment, Drexel as THE university that mandates coop experience, and so on. Investing in a strong brand can lift a college from obscurity to national prominence. 2. Focus. Palo Alto University offers psychology degrees only, Wheelock College offers child development programs only, Florida Polytechnic is the sunshine state’s STEM university, and Thunderbird School of Management specializes in International business only. Inch-wide, mile deep. 3. Offer guarantees. Whether it is a graduate-in-four-years guarantee (e.g. Randolph-Macon College), a job guarantee (e.g. Capitol Technology University) or a tuition lock (e.g. William Woods University grad and online programs), parents and … Continue reading

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