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Higher Education does the holiday season

Tis the Season 

Ah the holiday season is upon us again. The Christmas trees, the lights, the last minute panic shopping (you know who you are), Die Hard and The Goonies (yes they are Christmas movies for some of us), the office party and ‘the fear’ the next day; the carol music, the overindulgence of food, alcohol and general merriment. We love it. We love it all. But for some people there is no rest. Who are these champions we speak of? The marketing and communication teams of higher education institutions, that’s who - Heroes!

While others are enjoying the festivities they’re hard at work using the holidays as an opportunity to create video content to inspire, delight and amaze. This content serves several purposes. On the one hand these ‘Happy Holiday’ videos are simply ‘what they say they are on the tin’; an institution wishing its students, faculty, community, alumni and the world their best wishes. Lovely - keep doing what you’re doing. On the other hand they’re a subtle but hugely impactful component of an institution's ongoing student recruitment strategy.

Think about it. Students and their parents are primarily driven by an institution’s course options, quality of professors, and gateway to employment; the more tangible and practical components that inform college choice. But never underestimate the power and influence of the intangibles; the personality of an institution, the draw and appeal of the sense of family and belonging, the ability for someone to see themselves fitting in (in their mind’s eye).

When you take a deeper look at some ‘Happy Holiday’ videos there are very definite attempts to convey an institution’s personality and ‘why us’ messaging. However, it’s important to get the balance right and not lose the genuineness and primary message of the video. Here are some examples of institutions that have done it beautifully. We tip our hat to you guys.

Marywood University

Marywood University’s video message ‘May your holidays go off without a hitch’ video is great. They’ve made an event out of turning on the Christmas tree lights (a real sense of occasion) and added humor into the mix with a nod to Kevin from Home Alone i.e. a mischievous kid unplugging the lights (the Home Alone reference may have been accidental but we loved it). They involved their President and immediately I get a sense of the type of institution it is.

The University of Akron

The University of Akron went with a ‘Closed for the Holiday’ approach and enlisted the help of Zippy, its beloved mascot, to drive home the message. With an empty campus, Zippy takes full advantage of this opportunity and treats the campus like his own private playground. This is a really clever way of evoking the spirit of the institution by including its number one cheerleader. The inclusion of the President of the University in the video also highlights the institution’s investment in the video as a marketing tool. Two thumbs up from us.

Oakton Community College

Oakton Community College’s seasons greeting video is outstanding. They’ve beautifully packaged, in a festive bow, who, what and why Oakton Community College is a go to destination. From highlighting successful graduates (Olympians meeting President Obama), to promoting their ‘Day of Service’ or #StudyBreakfast to their charity endeavors it’s just excellent. It cleverly highlights its music and athletics traditions and its community outreach activities. This video more than any other says ‘Is this the kind of person you are?’ and if so “May All Your Dreams Come True in 2017” i.e. we’ll see you next year on campus.

Barton College

Barton College went very simple (and very effective) by embracing the latest viral trend i.e. the Mannequin Challenge. Recorded in the President of College’s home with his family (this in itself sends a message about the welcoming and open ethos of the institution) the video is light-hearted but actually very powerful in that it evokes a sense of inclusion and subtle humor. Good job Barton.

Fordham University

Fordham University’s video is perhaps the most traditional of all the videos with its choice of music, the church scenes and the quick appearance of a street Santa Claus but actually it more than any other video conveys a sense of excitement and anticipation about the holiday season. Lots of young students wearing their festive clothes exuding elation and joy. Who wouldn’t want to go there?

If there are other examples you think are worth sharing please let us know.

Oh, and Happy Holidays from TERMINALFOUR. 

Tagged: Happy Holidays, Higher Education , Marketing , Student Recruitment

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