One of the big questions students ask about their colleges/universities new marketing campaign is “How much was spent to create it?” At Sweet Briar College that question is on many students mind as budgets were cut and the repetitive rumors of the college losing more and more money. So when asking President Parker of Sweet Briar College how much the “Flourish” campaign cost, she responded that, “The redesign work was done within existing budget, so there was no additional cost. Last year, a one-time special expense was approved to create the three primary YouTube videos.” No exact number was given in her response, even when speaking about the existing budget which would have been interesting to know.
The same question was asked to Zach Kinkaid, the newest Director of Media, Marketing and Communications at Sweet Briar College and he responded that, “The budget was provided through many pockets of publication areas in the college and they put them into one area, but that decision was made before my arrival at the college by the Board of Directors and the President of the college. I have a General Operating Budget (GOB), but I don’t know the exact amount.” I pressed for the GOB, but received no answer for that amount.
Kinkaid has developed many new marketing strategies and new advertisements for the college, including 3 marketing videos: She’s a Sweet Briar Woman, She Will Change the World, and A Leader of Tomorrow.
“We’re making a bold statement with these new materials, we’re using some unconventional approaches to say to prospective students that Sweet Briar is where you will flourish, and we’re taking a lead in promoting not just the extraordinary educational experience we offer, but the value of women’s colleges.” Kinkaid said in an interview with PRWeb called Reinventing Edgy: Sweet Briar Launches Marketing Campaign of a Different Stripe. When asked how he developed the films and viewbooks for the college, Kinkaid deliberately sought marketing firms whose core businesses are outside of higher education “They had to bring both a creative and a collaborative approach to help tell the story of Sweet Briar in an imaginative, personal and far-reaching way,” he said “We didn’t want someone telling us what we needed. We wanted a two-way partnership.”
The PRWeb article went on to talk about another significant marketing decision that was made by Zach Kinkaid to use in its new marketing video: For the three minute film, the College commissioned an original song by country music singer-songwriter Stephanie Quayle of Bozeman, Montana (which is also where Chisel Industries is located that SBC used for their marketing videos). Quayle’s music, which often reflects her fierce independence both as an artist and a woman, has led to her involvement in women’s advocacy groups and conferences as a speaker and performer. So when the call came about writing a song for a women’s college, she checked it out. “I went to the website and was blown away,” said Quayle, “I loved the message. My gears shifted into songwriter mode.”
Kinkaid responded to the song that Quayle had created and said, “It’s what I was hoping for. Our goal in marketing is to bring prospective students onto campus once they see this place, many of them know Sweet Briar is right for them. This film will do that. It’s forceful and just like the view book, it stands apart from what others in higher education are doping with their marketing materials. Not what we’re doing but how we’re doing it.”
“Put together,” Kinkaid said, “All these things combine to say, ‘We’re here, we’re a great college for women who will change the world. We’ve got excellent academics, a powerful alumnae network, and strong athletics and riding traditions, not to mention an incredible campus and a dynamic community life that rivals any college or university in the country.'”