Though Gustavus Adolphus College is a relatively small college in Saint Peter, Minnesota, the character in its community stands tall. With core values of faith, justice, service, community, and excellence held close to their hearts, students and faculty members strive for excellence in all they do. An inclusive and engaged community, Gustavus prepares students for the great challenges that lie ahead, and to act upon them in making a difference in the world.
BD&E immersed itself in the Gustavus culture and uncovered the true essence of the College. Developing the brand position “Make Your Life Count” provided the College a solid foundation on which a multifaceted, multiple year, comprehensive marketing and branding initiative could be built.
Admissions Marketing Collateral
We’re proud of the long-term relationship we have developed with Gustavus. As an extension of the talented in-house team, we work in many ways to assist them in the marketing efforts of the College. Two vital pieces developed and produced by BD&E are the outcomes and yield pieces. These two publications have worked very hard — and quite successfully — in the recruitment, capture, and retention of students.
BD&E designed a yield piece targeted at accepted students who had not yet committed to the College. By incorporating student testimonials, beautiful images of the community, and a compelling composition, this piece worked seamlessly to engage the target audience and achieve its goal of increasing the number of first-year students attending Gustavus. We also designed a series of postcards that were mailed to prospective students. In addition to the compelling design and beautiful photography, these postcards featured witty and artful taglines to inform the students about the perks of becoming a Gustie.
In its first year of implementation, there was an astounding 51% increase in applications and a 21% increase in deposits, resulting in the largest first-year class in Gustavus history! In addition, there was a 14% increase in campus visits, and an 18% increase in racially underrepresented students.
Significantly surpassing its $150 million goal, Campaign Gustavus was the most successful development effort in the history of the Gustavus Adolphus College. In gratitude for the generosity and vision of donors, BD&E was asked to produce a video. Through a creatively developed script, BD&E identified the College as the “Gift,” one that has sent Gustavus graduates into the world for more than 175 years — making their lives count by the work they do, and the lives they lead. With sweeping drone views of the beautiful campus and faces of vibrant, engaged students and faculty, alumni and constituents were proudly reminded of the legacy of teaching and learning, and the important role of Gustavus in serving future generations.
Minnesota is fortunate to have multiple highly ranked, residential, liberal arts colleges. To position Gustavus strongly in this competitive market, BD&E developed an integrated advertising campaign. “Learn Boldly” served as a genuine differentiator in assisting the College in brand awareness, inquiries, and increased application statistics. Media placement focused on outdoor and trackable digital channels, including cross-device video and audio display.
Alumni engagement is a critical component in Gustavus’s marketing strategy. Effective communication to this key audience is crucially important to the future of the College. BD&E worked closely with Gustavus in the development of its new alumni magazine. With high-set goals and expectations, we collaborated with the magazine editor in creating a fresh, vibrant, and intelligent publication. Great storytelling and editorial content combine with dynamic photography, typography, and design structure in what is now a much-awaited quarterly publication by its readers.