Saturday, May 23, 2015

School Marketing Managers: 3 Ways to Rise Above the Marketing Clutter

As you work tirelessly to put your independent school or college on the map, you may find your message still falls to the bottom of the massive heap of marketing clutter manufactured every day. As a student in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program, former journalist and current director of an independent school’s marketing efforts, I have found two articles which provide helpful insights on improving your marketing campaigns and helping your brand rise to the top.

The March 2015 Think With Google article Measuring the Impact of Online Video on Brand Metrics explains why video is a must. Research shows good video can move the needle on brand awareness, perception and interest. Essentially an advertorial for Google’s Brand Lift solution, the article contains some newsworthy facts. For example: Of 50 campaigns from Fortune 100 brands and category leaders running on preferred YouTube channels, 94% of the campaigns drove a significant lift -- an average of 80% -- in ad recall.  

Photographer Nicholas Nixon’s work, and a New York Times article by author Susan Minot about Nixon’s Forty Portraits in Forty Years is a memorable illustration of why there is success in video and pictures. Images are powerful when it comes to telling your story - or your school's story. Minot explains how “on a whim” photographer Nicholas Nixon asked his wife and her three sisters to take their picture. It was summer 1975, and he photographed the group then and every year that followed. Nixon's forty years worth of work packs a punch, showing the power of pictures to tell a story which will stick with the audience and evoke interest and emotion in a way that even the most compelling text cannot. His work is haunting and thought-provoking long after viewing it. That ability to have your work stay on the minds of those who see it long after that moment is what the best marketing managers are able to accomplish for their brand.

My experience over the past several years in both journalism and marketing have allowed me to see what "sticks" with an audience, and during my time in Northwestern Medill's IMC program I have learned that there's research and psychology to back up what I've observed. With these articles in mind, here are three takeaways to start creating campaigns that make a lasting impact.

  • Make me care - In three sentences, tell me why people need to know and care about your brand.
  •  Choose your main character - If you had to pick only one person, who illustrates the power of your brand?
  • Tell their story - Through pictures or video, let that person speak to me. What would they say? How would they look and sound when they say it?

Google and others anticipate spending on desktop online video alone is projected to grow 21% every year until 2019. As competitors spend more, you want to make sure you not only justify your own ad spending but make sure you break out of the clutter and captivate your audience. To engage, connect and be remembered you must tell a story with a strong character your audience will care about.

Lisa Scullin Rashid is a journalist who took the path into public relations when her daughter was born, only to find that there was a much wider world out there beyond journalism and PR. Marketing provided the dynamic and exciting terrain which television news once did, and its ever-evolving, fast-paced rush to the head of the pack is exhilarating to this working mom who once thrived on hourly deadlines. Social media adds another dimension to the complicated maze of options for marketers – one which is sure to shift as soon as you secure your footing on the changing landscape! Find Lisa on Twitter @ScullyPR. 

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