Marketing Campaign 2024
UCCS Marketing Campaign
UCCS Marketing continually works to refine the key messaging, images and stories we use to communicate our unique experience to prospective students. Starting in late 2022, working with our agency partner, we surveyed stakeholder groups and conducted focus group and listening sessions with students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and prospective students. Several key elements emerged from this research:
- Our location is an inspiring and central element of our personality and uniqueness.
- The people who thrive at UCCS combine an entrepreneurial spirit with an eagerness to make change to improve their lives and the lives of others.
- UCCS is a place where relationships and connections define the experience – people develop their community through these connections which fosters their belonging and success.
- UCCS is a place of possibilities where people can define their trajectory and, through the support and encouragement they find here, achieve it.
From these findings, we developed an evolution of our marketing campaign and messaging pillars that tell the story of UCCS through the real voices of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. These stories of UCCS people and possibility, conveyed through video, form the foundation of how UCCS will communicate its uniqueness and connect with prospective students for whom these values and qualities resonate.
These stories will be told and amplified on media platforms that include social media, streaming television, video, search engines and native advertising. Additionally, these stories of possibility and key messaging pillars will be woven throughout the university’s other channels of communication and marketing, including the UCCS website, social media, newsletters and communications.
Additional details about the evolved marketing campaign follow.
The value of higher education is being questioned
Labor market is shifting from a pedigree- based model to a skills-first model
The category is cluttered with competitors saying the same things and everyone (including UCCS) trying to be all things to all people
Higher education continues to be under a microscope with both societal and political pressures devaluing higher education. This is likely causing the panic-based tendency of competitors to try to be all things to all people.
A sense of belonging is important for a successful experience
Demands for flexibility increased post-COVID
Many view higher education as unattainable – cost, discrimination, feelings of belonging
Non-traditional students are the new “traditional” student
Location contributes to the overall student experience
Our audiences today are more likely to believe that a degree from an institution of higher education is unattainable and not likely a place where they feel they belong. They’re more likely to put a pause on school or choose an alternative.
Misperceptions still exist about UCCS – commuter school, university on the hill, cheap alternative to Boulder
UCCS has long been a haven for highly-driven students, faculty, and staff
Community is important to UCCS
Student centricity and entrepreneurialism are core tenets of the UCCS identity
UCCS has plenty of reason to be proud of itself but has long chosen a more humble path. Now is the time for UCCS to shine.
Creating a marketing campaign strategy and resultant creative concept that matches the highly optimistic feeling you get from interacting with people from UCCS or stepping on the campus is critical to delivering an authentic and relevant campaign that connects with our audiences.
The personality should define the look, tone and feel of our marketing campaign creative. Our campaign personality is:
A change-maker who is:
Sincere, authentic, caring, and true
Welcoming, friendly, accessible, and open
Uplifting, encouraging, positive, and willing to make change
Energetic, motivated, persistent, and want to succeed
Arriving at the point where you realize that dreams aren’t just dreams, but wholly achievable realities, is to hold true power. The power of possibility. This power allows you to disregard limits and push aside preconceived notions of what you can be, or where you can take your life.
UCCS has created a curriculum and an environment that cultivates the mindset of possibility, empowering students to change the trajectory of their lives and ultimately allowing them the freedom to walk confidently down whatever path leads to their dreams.
Campaign Creative Concept
Not If. When.
Thinking in terms of “if” can only take you so far. By embracing the strength and certainty of “when”, you can empower yourself to change your world and begin your journey to more. At UCCS, you’ll be surrounded by “when” people, dedicated to working alongside you as you chase the possibilities ahead and discover what makes you tick, what makes you great, and ultimately, what makes you...you. Whether it’s students, faculty, staff, or the community of Colorado Springs, the relationships you’ll find at UCCS will champion your individuality and put you on the path to success. Because to us, we know it’s not a matter of if you’ll change your world, it’s just a matter of when.
Messaging pillars help to focus our marketing and advertising, ensuring we are not trying to be all things to all people. They help to create consistency and ensure our messaging is true to our brand strategy. They create guardrails that help simplify decision making. All marketing and advertising communications will center around these pillars.
This pillar is meant to explain how UCCS brings to life the power of possibility. It’s about empowering the target audience to realize they have the power to achieve. And, that UCCS is there to provide the needed support, guidance and encouragement to succeed. This pillar should inspire our target audiences and be told through real stories of possibility from students, faculty, staff and alumni.
The Location pillar will also be a story of possibility. UCCS’s location is more than just a story about a beautiful campus, it’s about possibilities that are opened for our target audiences because of where we are located. Messaging will focus on the beautiful campus, the proximity to the mountains, a city that ranks as one of the best places to live in the country, and a thriving economy and diverse industries that make pursuing your dreams easier.
This pillar is foundational and focuses on the type of education you can expect to get at UCCS. As each individual school has its own marketing efforts, the campus-wide marketing will focus on those programs where UCCS stands out and can tell a differentiating story. This pillar is meant to have a bolder tone and celebrate the entrepreneurial nature of the university.
Connections is about the relationships that are cultivated while at UCCS. The lasting connections that make you feel like you belong, are supported and driven to achieve your dreams. Connections are those that occur on the campus and those that are cultivated with the surrounding community. It’s about meeting life-long friends, the teacher who spends that extra time, the pipeline to local industry and a lasting relationship with Colorado Springs.
This pillar focuses on what drives success at UCCS. Individuals driven to achieve, willing to work hard and figure it out. It’s about being willing to say yes where others are more comfortable saying no. It’s about not giving into traditional conventions and instead seeing the possibility in a willingness to try. It’s about being open-minded, optimistic and taking calculated risks.