the driving questions: an admissions campaign
What if you could create a brand that was an experience? The Brief: Reveal the heart of a Bennington education; celebrate the intellectual characteristics that distinguish Bennington and the people who comprise its exceptional community; and invite prospective students, especially stealth applicants, to engage with the College early in their search. In response, I developed breakthrough social media and backchannel strategies, a constellation of admissions webpages, an award winning print campaign, e-campaigns and accepted student materials.
All too often, admissions sites shout at their visitors, loudly proclaiming the school’s virtues. Instead, we developed Bennington’s admissions web pages as a portal to invite students to engage with questions. The questions do two important things: engage an applicant in areas that go beyond the surface of majors and indirectly state the tone, nature and substance of Bennington’s own pedagogy. The questions---What didn't exist before you made it? Where would you be if you were at the center of everything? What did you think was impossible that you now believe is possible? What would you do first at Bennington? --- were as much statements of Bennington's education as they were queries that brought you into the education. Responses were uploaded to the left panel with cliackable thumbnails.
social media platform & content strategy
In 2011 I began work as a consultant on what would become a multi-year, cross-channel admissions campaign. TappedIn was developed on Tumblr as a virtual tour blog. Tumblr translated that value and opened opportunities for students to engage anonymously with the other students and to have their questions answered in an unscripted post by admissions students. Prior to the launch of TappedIn, the typical college blog model went one way-- current students shared their personal experiences in journal-profile blog formats (usually hosted on WordPress or Blogger). By collecting the voices of a range of students talking in one space, answering questions in one forum, and reaching unaffiliated audiences in backchannel strategies that emphasized content marketing through tagging, the blog not only drove more prospect engagement and stealth applicants, it advanced the reputation of the college in markets it was previously unable to enter. Several other colleges have developed admissions blog inspired by the Bennington student blog model.