The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 12 · 5 months ago

More Than Just Words: How Your Marketing Strategy Can Promote Equity


Those universities that prepared to go virtual and did it well are now reaping the benefits of the trust that they earned from parents and students.

What sets those schools apart from others?

In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer, Bart Caylor, President & Founder at Caylor Solutions Inc, and Troy Singer, Senior Account Executive at Think Patented, chat with

Peter Ashley, Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing at Hanover College, about:

- How Hanover responded to the pandemic.

- How the marketing department addressed social justice.

- Hanover’s process for making marketing videos and the results.

- Tips for more relatable, entertaining, and educational video content.

Know of a higher education marketing change agent you’d like to hear on the show? Does your university have an interesting story to be featured? Connect with Bart Caylor or Troy Singer. If you’re not on LinkedIn, check the Caylor Solutions or Think Patented websites instead!
To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to The Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.  

You were listening to the Higher EdMarketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in highereducation. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to studentrecruitment, donut relations, marketing, trans new technologies and so much more.If you are looking for conversation centered around where the industry isgoing, this podcast is for you, let's get into the show, welcome to the High Red Marketerpodcast, where we explore ideas and insights by higher red marketers orhired marketers. My name is troy singer and I'm here, as always with my co hostBart, Cayler and Bart. I think we're going to be treated today, because ourguest is a neighbor of yours from your state and you are familiar with theinstitution. We're going to be talking with Peter Ashley he's the VicePresident for in Roman and marketing at Hanover College Hanover's, O one of theone of the small privates here in Indiana, with a great reputationthey're in southern Indiana and they've got a beautiful, beautiful campus, andit's just going to be a great conversation with Peter just about somethings that they're doing it Hanover and how they're approaching differentdifferent elements, and he kind of gives us a little bit of insight intosome of the the marketing that they're doing and some new things that they'redoing that they're really seeing some valuable results in yes, he has somegreat content, so, let's bring Peter in. We are honored to have Peter AshleyVice President for Roman and marketing at Hanover College, which is insouthern in Eana to the podcast. Welcome Peter Thanks for having mePeter. If you would, please give everyone a glimpse of hand over andyour role there sure so. Hanover College is Indiana's oldest college andit is a hundred ninety four years old and it is located, as you say, insouthern Indiana right across the border. From Kentucky and along theOhio River, it's six hundred and fifty acres filled with trails and and treesand a lot of natural beauty. We have about a thousand students, so there's alot of room to spread out. It's got a great reputation, a strong regionalreputation and it's just a wonderful Liberals College. But the naturalbeauty of the campus is what people often talk about when they come visit,is how how roomy and how beautiful it is and again the fact that it's beenhere for so long. It's a powerful, powerful institution for. For thatreason, that's great thanks for sharing that Peter and sure I know we, we kindof did a pre interview and talked a little bit about some things thatthat's that's going on at Hanover and, I think, on everybody's mind, is kindof we're coming out of the pandemic. I know that not only during the pandemic,I mean two thousand and twenty was such a high water mark her with the pandemic,with some of the social unrest that we had with with different areas of oursociety, and I know Hanover kind of had a had a unique perspective on yourCovin nineteen response and and maybe even some of the social injusticeresponse and some of those initiatives.

Could you tell a little bit about that?Absolutely so they did happen a bit at the same time, which was as a challenge,but obviously the pandemic took hold of everybody and dominated everyone'sdecision making. So one of the first things that we did was to convene theGroup of state holders across campus and really ask the question of you.What needs to happen to make sure our students are safe and the our campus ispreserves as much of a college feel as possible, so obviously that first roundcamp pretty much every campus went home. We did the same thing, which waschallenging as a residential campus to pivot, quickly to online learning,which we did, but we put in over the summer all kinds of safety protocolsprocesses spacing out the classrooms requiring that you know all the thingsthat that are. You know, public health experts expect. We also worked with amedical expert from Johns Hopkins University on our strategy and ourcontact tracing process to make sure that we were using the absolute bestprocess that we could to do that, and we had a very successful fall term. Wewere able to stay in person all the way to the very end, I think, a week beforeThanksgiving, we went optional remote to let students leave if they felt likethey wanted to leave, because there was a bit of it uptick. As you know, in thecases, but our response was lots of lots of communication to students andstaff and faculty about our protocols. We had a weekly and still have a weeklyemail that goes out with any kind of updates updates on our case numbersreminders to follow the guidelines and we've been very aggressive in holdingstudents and staff accountable for following those guidelines, and Ithink this semester were still at face to face our count or our case count isvery low, and what we learned is that students really appreciate a face toface experience. There's questions of you know why Higher Ed? Why a LiberalArts College? Why do people want to go to you know when you can do everythingon line, but what we learned is that people really miss being in person andour enrollment numbers actually are up so far for next fall, and I think partof that is because we did stay face to face, and people really like thatability to do that, so that that response was dominating much of thesummer. But then, of course, as you mentioned, the the various police,shootings and other killings and other acts. Social injustice occurrences overthis summer brought that very close to home. For our campus, we have verypassionate campus, that's committed to social justice, although we have ahistory that is not always perfect in that area. So we try to look verycandidly at what we do well and where we still need to grow. We live in a part of the state, that'salso not not particularly diverse, so we have to really focus on bringingdiversity here. Making people feel welcome and included and have somecultural changes. You know on our campus and even in our community tohelp make sure that happened so we're in the process of launching a equity indiversity, an inclusion plan to the campus for review. That includes anumber of process, changes, activities,..., all kinds of things to helpreally improve the and drive home that campus culture of inclusive. That'sgreat, I'm so grateful to hear things like that, because I think that thosemean certainly the coved nineteen, it's great to hear how you guys have didthat, and I think I I think, I'm seeing a lot of campuses that the success ofthose who prepared and did it well they're reaping the benefits of the trust that they have earned fromthe parents and the students to be able to come back on campus and and wantthat experience, and I think that's great, and I do think that that thatidea of just really helping with the with the sofa social injustice, I meanwhat are some of the things that your students in your campus is doing.Specifically about that I mean: Are you doing you know, sessions and andseminars or inviting guests on campus, to talk? How does that work? A goodquestion? We've done a little bit of all of that having we had a number ofevents, just for example, around M lk day, which is a new, a recent holidaycelebration for our campus, and we had a number of sessions that invitedguests speakers. We had something called, I think it S. I believe it'scalled the NK round table where we had between with music and video and guestlecturers kind of walk everyone through what what an okays life was about andwhat he was focused on and what we can learn from that today.We are very open to. We have some very vocal students who want things to change, and we have somethat you know that love it and it's just a matter of letting all the voicesbe heard. We've had a number of student led sessions where they would haveeither a protest which was really very peaceful, but just you know a chance toreally vocalize their their perspective on the what's happening in the world.Their perspective on what Hanover can do better and we we want to hear thatfeedback and, I think, part of what helps certainly for my perspective israther than just running around throwing the terms around right ofequity and injustice, and how do we? It's just allowing people to have theirsay, really embrace those different opinions. Do It in a way? That's humbleand and accepting any kind of responsibility, but also lookingforward to how we solve some of these problems not just get mired in infrustration, but actually look forward. So we've done a number of sessions,we've influentes faculty and Staff Training on Equity Inclusion issues, as theymentioned. We've had this plan that lays out changes in our recruitingstrategy for employees to attract and retain more diverse candidates,additional recruiting activities for our students, focusing on more of aneed based approach to financial aid. So a number of things that we're doinglooking at our students success model and how we, you know, retain firstgeneration students more effectively, help them succeed and do a number ofpractical steps to make sure that we actually are a more equitable campus,as opposed to just saying you know, having the words around, we want to bemore equitable yeah. I think that's...

...great. I think that you'redemonstrating the fact that it takes some O that intentionality to makechange, and I appreciate it and respect that that Hanover's doing that so trynow you've got another question you want to ask. Yes, I wanted to up switchtopics a little bit and talk about Doctor Lake Lamberton for those of uswho are in the area. We know that he's the president at handover and I think,he's a little different than a lot of presidents of colleges and universities,especially of your size, because he is out there he's outspoken, he'scharismatic and just would like to know is that him in real life and give us apeak of how he is on campus. Absolutely so one of the things that keeps meengaged and loving hand over college is is working for Dr Lambert. He is aboutas genuine a person and as transparent a person as you're going to meet,especially someone in N that position I joke with with someone that if he wasmore transparent, we'd be able to see through him. I mean I just a verytransparent in what he's thinking and his decision making he's very open,he's stremely, Sharp, very tender hearted as well, and it is out spot ifsomething needs to be commented on. He likes to respond and share his feelingson something. It's just a pleasure to have someone who's, honest, transparent, happy to be outthere. We, you know we, we use them more in some videos, e s he put on ourPanther Mascot suit for some fun to tick, Tock, videos, he'll, just he'll,do anything that you know advances to college, but he's also just very veryfocused on the mission of Hanover College and making sure that that allthose things were trying to accomplish, not just from the equitan inclusionstandpoint, but from the delivering the Best Little Arts Education. We can tomaking sure hand of our colleges growing and thriving and doing it in away, that's again, very, very transparent, very approachable, greatsense of humor, which I think is sorely lacking in in today's world, but but ahuge benefit to for certainly for people that work for him. It's a bigbenefit, that's great, and I like the fact that you kind of intindedkind of tying the first question with the second one is that it seems like DrLambert is engaged in these social injustice initiatives that talkingabout that of, and I like the fact that it seems like speaking up when whenothers might be silent needing to needing to speak out, and so thatsounds like sounds like it'd be great to work with him. Yes, it certainly is.I know one of the things that kind of engaging not only leveraging.Dr Lambert, like you, said, with with these tick tock videos and the mascotand other you now more serious videos, you've kind of touched on the fact thata lot of what's going on at Hanover- and especially you know in your role asa VP of enrolment and marketing, is that it seems, like you know, you'retrying to develop a little bit more...

...content, maybe maybe leveraging video alittle bit more. So tell us a little bit about that, because I mean not. Alot of schools are leaning into Tick Tock. Yet not a lot of schools or aredoing as much as they could with video, but it seems like you've kind ofdiscovered some things that at least you you're going down the path with atAndover Yeah. So we definitely have embraced video and by the way Ishouldn't, I shouldn't say, we've leaned into ticktock too much. We had acouple of fun video, so I don't want to overplay the talk focus, but we do tendto focus on more either messages from our president on various issues. Butwe've also done a very large number of marketing oriented videos that reallydescribed life at handover so which we can talk about that a little bit. Butwe know that the student that we're trying torecruit- and my role was just overseeing marketing and recently, asenrollment has been added to that. So now the synergistic see between thosetwo departments is tremendous, because almost everything we should be doing asa marketing organization in a high red is to attract more students. So thatconnection is very clear to me, but we realize that, of course, thegeneration now is. You know shorter attention span. Everything you know hasto be very clear and and lively and video is a very good way to communicatewith that with that audience, and so we needed more video resources. So we hada chance to hire a new videograph and I was able to hire two videograph RS,because we had two such great final candidates that I made the case that wewill put these these guys to work quickly and we did and we hired both and one isa young woman who graduated from Depau University. One is a gentleman whopries in graduate from hand offer and so having those two perspectives, bothvery talented, videographed and photographers, and within a few months they created morethan a hundred plus videos on campus life, generating, like a hundredthousand views very quickly, everything from campus dining to Greek life, to aseries we've created called beyond the classroom where we take either a musicprogram or even a casely program and take it outside the classroom and showwhat what goes on in that program. That doesn't just happen in the actual room.You know that for one program there was a whole focus on the using the naturalsetting of Hanover to go on hikes and to look at count, waterfalls andidentify bugs and different things like that to all the ways that we provide alife for students beyond the classroom so having those videos have reallyhelped. Let perspective students know, as it is challenging, sometimes to cometo campus right now. What it's like at Hanover we've also done a number ofeducational style video. So one of the videos we've done is helping peopleunderstand their financial aid, a ward lighter, which seems very mundane, butwe got a lot of questions about it. So it's trying to help them understandthat. So it's been a huge boon for us to beable to create that content, to tell our story more effectively and toengage. You know a number of campus stake holders in that a process. That'sgreat- and I just want to point out a...

...couple things that I hear you sayingthat could be benefit of other folks- is that you know, because I've often kind ofcategorized different types of edi videos. I mean you've got theentertainment, which might be that mascot tick, Tock video with yourpresident, where you're kind of letting people know about handover, but it'sentertaining you've got the explainers, which sounds like the financial laid.You know letter how to read that and- and you know those could be screen cast,they can be videos that can be all kinds of different things and thenyou've got just kind of your general information, but I think a lot of the alot of the listeners. Maybe when they heard you say that hey these twovideographed that you brought on campus, they they produced over a hundredvideos pretty quickly. I mean we're not talking you're, not doing you know tenfifteen minute videos. These are. These are videos that can be talise forsocial media for email. Tell us a little bit more about you know whatwhat your kind of rule of thumb is for for how you how these videos need towork. I mean they've got to be short, I'm guessing a lot of them are short.Some are longer, depending on the need, generally speaking, the videographedsupport the entire campus, but with a big focus on enrollment and also onadvancement and development. So most of the videos are, I would say threeminutes or less and are typically focused on, and you did a goodexplanation of the different types of videos we would do, but definitelyfocus on on what it's like to be a student hand over. What can you expectwhen you're here? What I mean? One of the videos I got that that's got. Themost views was a two minute tour of campus with a basically a spedup camera going through and looking at all the buildings and all the differentthings and that's got I mean I think it's gotten ten thousand views, maybewhen it was pretty quickly because it's two minutes it's fun. It's got somenice music and you just zip through campus, really quickly. Yeah other islike the financial lady video don't get as many views, because it's very verytargeted right to certain people. So it's trying to find that mix of we knowthis one's going to get a lot of attention. We know this one is going tohelp a few people and we did one feature to story: A student who, who isan arts design major who is learning how to become a tattoo artist and inturn, is interning with the tattoo parlor. And so we had to do a wholefeature story on her, a bunch of photographs of students and staff thathave tattoos, and I think you know- and it's kind of arisk because some people might be turned off by tattoos but at the sametime, we've gotten tremendous positive feedback. Just because it's showing another angleof what you know, what someone can do it hand over right, and I love thatbecause I think that you know I'm a big believer in any type of content thatyour produced, especially for higher ad, is answering the questions that peoplehave and I mean if you're answering the questions. People have whether it's inyou know the content on your website, whether it's a video, whether it's ablog one, you're going to get Seo, because people are searching. Googleasking the questions that they're looking for, but I think that you'realso going to kind of earn trust. Like you said, I mean there might be a riskin doing a tattoo video, but at the same time you're answering thequestions of. What's it like is his hanover a really conservative place. Isit you know? Are they open to this type...

...of thing and and just being able tohave those that wide variety of video and content that people can oneanswer the questions get the answers to the questions they have, but then alsojust be able to put themselves in into the environment. To End to the campusand start to feel what it would be like to be there, I think that's a brilliantstrategy, so well done Peter Well, thank you, and- and I also, if I wouldjust say, shamelessly putting in our tag line,but we've recently had a new tag. Lane called the place to belong in a personto become, and the reason we did. That was because that really captured what our college is striving to be and within that there are brand pillarsthat really focused and filled out that tag line, but it's resin with with astudents and staff quite a bit, because it feels it feels like what we'retrying to build a handover. You can come here and be yourself you'll, beknown by the faculty, because we're a small campus and you'll be successful,because we prepare you for the future and the videos that we build just tryto demonstrate that without necessarily saying you know explicitly that weredemonstrating this werelt trying to show the meat behind the statement that that that's what we're trying tocreate Peter. I love what you said about that, and it reminds me of aquote from a book by J Bar Utility. He makes the point that success flows tothose organizations that inform, rather than those that promote- and it seemsto me, like Hanover's, doing a great job of informing people about theirabout their brand about their. You know what it's like to be on campus as wellas just about the you know, answers to the questions that people have so so.Well, then, I really respect that troy thanks Barton, I agree, and I wouldencourage all of our listeners to go out to the handover website and justopen it and you. You will see that from the very beginning. It's a different,looking feel than you would expect, and it is very visual and everything thatPeter says will kind of start making sense. Peterwe have a question that weask all of our guests and it's if there's an idea or something thatyou're doing or if you would be willing to share it. If it's not too secret, ormaybe it's an idea that you've heard of recently that others could implementsoon, what would that be? Well, it's a great question. Troy I'm always happyto share, and I don't know if there's any secret sauce in a sense, becauseevery every college has their own secret sauce, but I would say, don't beafraid to have a little fun with some of your your messaging or marketing ora video. You know, I think we high red, can be something as very uptight and Ithink just try something different. That's funwith a video or with a message and just try something, especially social media.You know you try something and it'll either go greater. People will ignoreit as long as it's not you know offensive, but just try to go forsomething a little funny or clever. I think that's a good way to startventuring into this a little bit more and then I would also say a any chanceyou can personalize things we've been...

...trying to do more. personalizing ofmessaging is also something you can start implementing immediately in termsof your communication than your messaging here here, and thank you onboth of those both Bart and I are big proponents of personalization and again.I would encourage our listeners to visit handover and their sites to get agood glimpse of what you mean when you recommend having a little fun with it.So thank you and Peter One last question. If someone would like toconnect with you, what would be the best way for them to reach you surethey can reach me of email and it's just Ashley at Hanover Dot Du so as Ley at hand over DOT Tou, and I be happy to hear from anyone and connect with any one or answer anyquestions perfect. Thank you for being so generous with your time and yourwisdom today, Peter we really appreciate it. Oh I appreciate it verymuch. Thank you. So much joy and Bart you're welcome. The HIERANASOS is sponsored by calorsolutions and education, marketing and branding agency and by thing patented,a marketing execution, printing and mailing provider of high red solutions.On behalf of my co host Bar Cayler, I'm troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher EdMarketer to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player. If you are listening with Apple Podcast, we'dlove for you to leave a quick rating of the show, simply tap the number ofstars. You think the podcast deserves until next time. I.

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