|Background||Roosevelt University is a non-profit university located in downtown Chicago. It has a rich history of being one of the first inclusive higher education institutions in the country, with a strong mission in social justice.|
|Audience & Market Research||Imagine a stock photo of a “confident smiling” person standing in front of a “beautiful campus” representing “successful career” and you’ll see pretty much 99% of other universities’ marketing design. However, RU has a rich history and very distinct audience of first generation college attendees with a strong belief in working hard for success. RU needed something unique, something ambitious, something that stood out.|
|Talking to our current students||
We conducted multiple sessions of qualitative research by talking with current RU students to see what made them apply to RU, and why they continued their education with RU.
The finding was that they attended RU because they loved the social justice mission and the school understood their needs. As the first generation attending college they had to face many challenges, but because of the strong support from faculty and staff, they were able to turn their ambition and hard work into success. “I’m going to prove to them that I will succeed. Just watch me,” said one student. Hence the “Just Watch Me” campaign began.
|The Execution.||With that strong direction, any traditional design wasn’t going to cut it. We flipped through many ads and competitors’ marketing materials. What stood out? What showed ambition? We went back to the students’ narration and their challenges to the world. They were leading their own destiny. They didn’t care what others thought. What people will see will be their back.|
|The narration in writing||RU was also known for their excellent students’ support. The narration of this campaign needed to address that. We designed the format: Give me the tools to succeed. I will make it happen. Just Watch Me. This narration was easily adaptable to multiple colleges. It addressed RU’s strong selling points. And it related to the audience.|
|The Push||In addition to traditional advertising, the Just Watch Me campaign was integrated into all RU publications including factsheets, invitations, campus decorations, and more. The goal was to own that look, so when students saw the back of a head they would recognize RU branding. Thus we built RU brand recognition.|
|The Impact||The result was beyond our expectations. The average growth in enrollment at the time was around 1-1.5% among the competitors. With a brand new campaign, we expected around 2-3% growth. By the end of the first year, RU experienced 10% growth in total enrollment.|
|Sustaining the growth||To sustain the campaign growth, we looked into expanding the use of the design while keeping the content fresh. In addition to new “heads,” we revealed the previous year campaign’s students by showing their faces and their stories. The text was tightened up to two lines: a "Just Watch Me – Do Something" format. Different profiles were distributed in different locations, based on their demographics and colleges. We also experimented with different media outlets such as movie theatres, van wrap, and campus tour scripts, plus fine-tuning the stories we told the media and audience. Once again, RU experienced the same growth of 10%.|