About the Client
This Ivy League business school offers a large, highly prestigious full-time MBA program sought out by students around the globe. Its program has approximately 1,800 students and more than 80 clubs and student organizations on campus. Within this business school is their Career Center, which provides support and services to help students on their career paths.
Students at this business school often only considered the Career Center for consulting, banking, and other “traditional” MBA job searches. Most students struggled to understand the value and resources the Career Center provides for all types of job searches. Additionally, they didn’t realize the amount of networking they might need to find internships or full-time roles. Because of this disconnect, the Career Center engaged Velir to create a messaging strategy that would resonate with students and build a deeper understanding of their services.
The key challenges for the Career Center were:
• Aligning students’ understanding of the Career Center with its goals
• Increasing utilization of the Career Center’s services by students
• Improving student engagement with the Career Center’s communication channels
We understood the need for stakeholder alignment on business goals and audiences, so we kicked off this project with a series of workshops to identify the Career Center’s objectives, audiences, and business goals. These prioritized goals were key inputs to identify the Career Center’s core brand goals, attributes, and voice.
I think I would say [Career Center] is great if you're looking for a very structured job, like consulting or investment banking. They really help you with that process."— MBA Student
Gathering insights from students
We interviewed MBA students to understand their relationship with the Career Center and to learn their desired experiences. We also gathered their recommendations and suggestions to improve the Career Center’s communications. One of the key themes we found was inconsistency in the student experience. Some felt that the Career Center was highly relevant and effective to supporting them in their career path, while others felt that the Career Center only applied to certain types of students. We identified changing their perception as a key goal.
For me, I had someone help me with every step of the process, and it felt like their expertise was very valuable."— MBA Student
Establishing brand messaging principles
Part of our research with students explored the emotional attributes that students experience when they think of their current and desired interactions with the Career Center. We combined these insights with stakeholder-driven perspectives to create a set of brand principles we used to inform our messaging recommendations.
Defining a communication plan for each point of the student journey
We created a journey map of key touchpoints beginning from before students arrived on campus to after graduation. This journey map was a framework for us to develop strategies for communicating effectively with students at key milestone interactions with the Career Center team.
Creating a cross-channel messaging strategy
The Career Center student journey intersects numerous platforms, from social media and email newsletters to the business school’s website and in-person coaching. To ensure the brand principles are applied consistently across all communication types, we included a channel strategy that recommended everything from sample messaging and content types to frequency of messaging.
We provided the Career Center with a Student Messaging Strategy playbook that incorporated best practices, recommendations, guidelines, and examples in a single document for the Career Center’s content creators and managers. This playbook was then used to create content along each step of the audience journey to better communicate the Career Center’s goals.
What [Velir] provided us reinforced the benefit of targeted communications and segmentation which resulted in segmenting communications by the phase of students’ career journeys.”— Career Center associate director of marketing & corporate development