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Capabilities


Explore Our Capabilites

Integrated Marketing Strategy and Planning

Integrated Marketing Strategy and Planning is our process for uncovering and defining your institution’s goals, audience and positioning in order to make strategic decisions about where to invest–and where not to invest–your marketing budget. The output of our process is a multi-pronged and goal-driven marketing plan that utilizes a variety of strategically selected channels to move target audiences through a relational engagement process toward a measurable conversion.

Brand Strategy

We often say “a great brand is a great story.” Taken literally, this means that a brand–whether executed through a visual mark, a logo, a website, a viewbook–is only as impactful as the story it represents. The key is finding that story, one you can can embody with consistency and authenticity. We help our client partners understand their unique market position and execute strategic marketing initiatives that not only resonate with stakeholders who best align with your offering, but tell your brand story in a way that is consistent, powerful and memorable.

Website Strategy

We believe an institution’s website is among its most foundational marketing tools. We never design or develop a website without first having a clear understanding of an institution’s goals, its users’ goals and the institution’s positioning within its competitive landscape. Only then, can we develop creative strategies which guide our decisions throughout the critical stages of a website redesign–information architecture, content strategy, visual design and technical implementation.

Governance & Change Management

People often misunderstand governance as punitive and restrictive. However, just as laws protect our safety and freedom, institutions find that a strong culture of website governance is liberating. We consult with our client partners to ensure that stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities with regard to the website, and that the appropriate rules and review processes are in place to maintain the website’s integrity long into the future.

Content Strategy & SEO

Great content is so much more than just telling a story. Content strategy is the process of understanding your audience’s needs and delivering the right content at the right time across each stage of your audience's engagement with your institution. We help our client partners find and tell compelling, brand-driven stories that not only captivate audiences, but also motivate them to deepen their relationship with your institution.

User Testing

Even with years of experience in website architecture and design, there’s really only one way to know for sure if a website is intuitive and easy to use: ask the user. We advocate for user testing at multiple stages of a website redesign–from current site testing during the strategy phase to wireframe and UX testing in the information architecture and design phases. By continuously testing our work, challenging best practices and inviting feedback from the target audience, we hold ourselves accountable for not only achieving our clients’ goals, but also serving the needs of the user.

Lead Generation, Paid Search, Online Advertising, Analytics

There’s no doubt that lead generation is a complicated endeavor. No matter which cutting-edge tools you plan to use, you won’t find the best fit students and drive enrollment without a goal-driven strategy. We help institutions develop creative strategies for catching audiences at the peak of their interest, maintaining top-of-mind awareness and nurturing leads through the funnel.

Social Media Strategy

Social media can be among an institution’s most powerful tools for communicating directly to its target audiences. Like any marketing initiative, consistently and authentically articulating your institution’s brand through social media requires a clear strategy and plan. We help colleges and universities determine the best channels to reach their target audiences, refine their tone and voice, and create brand-driven stories that motivate and engage target audiences to deepen their engagement with the institution.

Intranet Strategy

Most marketers agree that an institution's public-facing website is a marketing tool for engaging prospective students and driving enrollment. But what about your internal audiences? Current students, faculty and staff need access to calendars, guidelines, forms, policies and more. An intranet can communicate audience-specific information without over-crowding your public-facing website. Our intranet strategy approach assesses an institution's unique goals, audience, governance and business processes to make strategic and tactical recommendations regarding how best to invest an institution's resources. 

Branding and Messaging

A brand is more than just a logo or a tagline; a brand is a promise an institution makes to its students and the communities it serves. As Paul Rand puts it, “a logo derives its meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.” We know from experience that every institution has a unique story to tell. Our methodology for helping institutions discover and develop their stories begins with identifying what we call Brand Pillars and Attributes, core messaging elements which inform everything from the visualization of an institution’s logo to the execution of its integrated marketing strategy.

Content Development

The classic Bill Gates adage “content is king” has never been truer. Visual, written, interactive and video content serve as inspirational testimony to all the wonderful things happening on your campus. Like any marketing initiative, consistently having great content requires a strategic approach born from a deep understanding of your institution’s goals, target audience and positioning. We help colleges and universities create, publish and govern a content ecosystem that leads multiple (and very different) target audiences through a relational engagement processes from awareness to conversion.

Information Architecture

As Steve Krug puts it, a typical website user’s mantra is simple: “Don’t make me think.” However, architecting a thoughtless web experience actually takes a ton of thought. That’s why Information Architecture is such a critical phase of our website redesign process. We collaborate with our client partners to organize and plan their website’s structure, both at the global level and the page-specific level. We leverage conceptual models and use cases to ensure that the pathways we’re providing for users are clear, intuitive and effective.

Visual Design

We’re often asked by prospective clients to describe our preferred aesthetic style. The truth is, we really don’t have one. The closest thing we have to a “preferred style” is more of a mantra: a reason for every decision. In other words, we don’t make design decisions based on personal tastes or what’s popular today or the dean’s favorite color. We make design decisions based on our client’s goals and how we can help achieve those goals. If we do our jobs well, we end up with more than just a portfolio of good looking work – we end up helping our clients imagine and achieve goals they may have once thought impossible.

Website Design and UX

User experience design is about more than just how a website looks; it’s about how it works. As Edward Tufte puts it, “design isn’t creating a beautiful button with breathtaking animation. It’s figuring out if there’s a way to get rid of the button altogether.” A great UX is so seamless users don’t even have to think about it. Conversely, a poor UX leaves users feeling frustrated, confused and disengaged with your institution’s brand. By knowing precisely who your target audience is and having empathy for their needs, we hold ourselves accountable for not just creating beautiful websites, but for helping your audience find what they’re looking for quickly and easily–if not intuitively.

Front-end Development

The code at the heart of your institution’s website may look like an indiscriminate black box, but any marketer knows that front-end development is where it all comes to life. Translating visual designs created in Photoshop into functional HTML and CSS prototypes is a complex endeavor, but our approach stems from four simple tenets: 1) Changes in technology, as in life, are to be embraced; 2) Begin with a clean canvas; 3) First solve the problem, then write the code; 4) Always trust the process.

Back-end Development

While the majority of your target audience will only engage with your website’s front-end, it’s the back-end code that enables the user-facing side of your website to exist. Languages like PHP, MySQL and SQL power many of higher education’s most essential features – services like faculty directories, calendars, course catalogues, dynamic database integrations and more. When we do our jobs well, it’s okay if you don’t speak the language. You need only trust that it works.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to selecting a Content Management System (CMS) for your institution. As with any large investment, choosing the right CMS requires careful consideration of your institution’s goals, skillsets and resources. We’ve worked with both open-source and enterprise content management systems over the years and we leverage our experience to help clients choose not just any CMS, but the right CMS.

Accessibility

When we talk about website accessibility, we’re referring to the practice of creating user experiences that are easy to use for all people. Beyond just the legal implications, colleges and universities aspire to meet W3C standards for a number of reasons. Speed and organic search rankings are among the myriad benefits of having an accessible website. Above all else, it’s the best way to ensure your content reaches all audiences–including those with disabilities.