Stories, Not Statistics: Lessons From the “I Am a Warrior” Campaign

Vol. 13 No. 2

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We recently featured Valley Christian School’s “I Am a Warrior” campaign in our Private School News e-Letter. The school's campaign garnered several national awards and received great community response, with a 20% jump in enrollment over the two years since the campaign began. Marketing Director Kim Ellefsen attributes much of the campaign’s success to her fantastic school and the support of her school’s program leaders, but the campaign itself is quite remarkable.

So let’s take a look at how Valley Christian’s campaign succeeded—and apply the lessons at your school.

Statistics bolster your story—not dominate it.

Reliable numbers help you plan and set goals, from demonstrating a campaign’s success to proposing new ventures and tactics. Statistics in the Admission Office are particularly useful as bite-sized bits of validation for potential parents. They make great chart fodder, too, and you can rarely go wrong with a clear, informative graph!

But statistics aren’t the end-all and be-all of your students. Sure, it’s great that your school can post these impressive numbers, but people—not data—populate your school. Families will be more inspired by a student’s personal math competition triumph than a recitation of the national championships your school has collected.

The next time you want to use your school’s statistics, consider what message you convey with those numbers. Look at your charts and information, and try to tell the story the numbers imply.

Use alternative materials.

Admission Office materials often include brochures, postcard reminders, and pens flashing your school colors that disappear faster than you can order them. But, you could use materials that are different than the typical offerings.

Valley Christian used alternative materials both on campus and in the broader community, strengthening the already powerful campaign.

  • The school published a digital President’s Report. We’ve talked about using electronic pamphlets and brochures, and Valley Christian’s a good example of how to execute this well. By optimizing the report for online distribution instead of simply uploading a PDF to the Internet, the President’s Report serves as a digital touchstone for the “I Am a Warrior” campaign. It’s on the front page of the school's website, available for anyone to view, and the experience reads like a paper version.
  • Banners on campus brought the campaign home. Kids on campus usually aren’t aware of Admission Office advertising campaigns. The banners changed that. Sure, the banners give a sense of continuity to visiting parents, tying the recruitment materials to the campus itself. But, by putting current students’ portraits on banners and displaying them around campus, Valley Christian brought awareness to the school community and united them all as Valley Christian Warriors. The banners made the students excited to be at their school, which is a powerful grassroots driver for any campaign.

Hopefully, Valley Christian’s successful campaign will inspire you to look at your school's materials with fresh eyes and a new perspective. How can you deliver your school’s mission in new and engaging ways?

Additional ISM resources:
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 13 No. 1 Virtual Viewbooks: What to Consider When Going Digital
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 12 No. 7 "Welcome!" Now What?--What You Send to Accepted Students
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 12 No. 5 Development Is From Mars, and Admission Is From Venus

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 39 No. 12 The Admission Office in the Fall: Time to Reassess
I&P Vol. 34 No. 3 The Link Between Internal Marketing and Demand in Excess of Supply
I&P Vol. 30 No. 13 The Comprehensive Admission Model

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