KU Marketing’s Affinity Building campaign was designed to raise awareness of KU in 6th through 11th graders, laying the foundation for future applications when senior year rolls around. Check out the campaign portfolio for a closer look at messaging and visual identity.
For most students, the college “search” begins well before senior year. With communications for 6th through 9th grade students, we establish early affinity and plant the seeds for future applications. These tactics offer a high-level look at KU, with an emphasis on fit and feel.
For sophomores and juniors, our tactics get more specific — addressing questions of affordability, admissibility, and campus life. We show them why they should envision themselves at KU, and how they can plan accordingly.
Across the campaign, we incorporate real student testimonials about opportunities and life at KU. The message is simple: Every Jayhawk has a compelling story to share, and it’s never too early to start yours.
This campaign featured several emails, including a happy birthday message, next steps for students who’d previously shown interest in KU, and information about academics and campus life.
Scores received email; Sophomore-Junior email series
Results were generally positive. Our highest performer was an email in response to student inquiries. Another top performer was a thank you message to students who’d submitted their test scores to KU. These results indicate that even younger audiences are engaged and eager to plan for college.
We created a variety of print pieces to match this audience’s broad range in age and college readiness. These include the purely novel (a “surprise and delight” piece), action-driven (responses to test scores and inquiries), and a mailer detailing COVID-friendly campus visit options.
Mailer sent as a response to inquiries from potential students.
Our most substantial piece was the KU 101 mailer, a guidebook for sophomores and juniors to start planning for their applications to KU. At that stage in their college search, many students fail to define their next steps. We’re here to quash anxieties and help them easily navigate the process.
This was our first time tailoring paid media tactics to this age range. We developed a robust series of social, display, remarketing, and search ads. Another first: We dipped our toes into Twitch and connected TV ads. Our paid media showcased KU students and accompanying quotes about their Jayhawk experience. The call to action: Subscribe to KU’s mailing list and “start your Jayhawk story.”
Unsurprising given the audience, Facebook and Instagram ads generated the most impressions and clicks. However, the Google search ads drove the highest click-through rates and RFI form fills.
Many pieces pushed students to start.ku.edu, a custom landing page built around an RFI form. Although the form is the focus, the site also features an embedded campaign video and more student testimonials.
KU Marketing
Art Directors: Audra Kenton, Patrick Giroux
Strategist: Caroline Slavin
Graphic Designer: Bhroovi Gupta
Creative Directors: Dave Gnojek (design) and Deb Graber (copy)
Digital Media Director: Tim Seley
Copy Writer: Justin Wheatley
Editor: Lois Sierra
Photographers: Andy White and Meg Kumin
Motion Designer: Trevor Mowry
Videographer: Andrew Lee
Social Content Manager: Bita Porubsky

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