Client: The D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University
The Corporate and Executive Education (CEE) practice within the D’Amore-McKim School of Business provides custom training and leadership development programs for executives at Fortune 500 companies in health care, life sciences, engineering and financial services. These programs focus on areas of expertise that include global management, sales enablement, leadership development, innovation, entrepreneurship and business acumen. The CEE team at D’Amore-McKim retained Schneider Associates (SA) to build a marketing, lead generation and lead nurturing program to help engage and interest a select audience of Chief Learning Officers, training executives and VPs of Learning and Development within large corporations regionally and nationally. Since the CEE practice had few existing marketing assets and was new to working with an agency, SA developed a comprehensive approach to reaching and engaging prospective customers with thought leadership from the program’s professors – centered around a content-rich, responsive blog titled #LeadersatWork, which would serve as the central hub for content creation.
As part of our larger integrated marketing campaign, our goals were to:
- Create a content-rich, responsive blog to host dynamic thought leadership content from professors.
- Brand the CEE practice’s offerings to corporations.
- Leverage the content created on the blog across multiple channels to create touch points with prospective customers.
- Connect prospective clients to CEE using a variety of digital and social channels in conjunction with the blog.
Program Planning & Strategy:
There were two significant challenges in marketing the CEE program. First, the school had been renamed to the D’Amore-McKim School of Business within a year of SA beginning our engagement, which held great opportunity but also diminished some of the strong brand recognition and equity in the Northeastern University name. Second, the CEE program offering lacked market awareness and was also difficult to explain as there were no off-the-shelf programs to promote, all were custom and conceived in conjunction with the client.
SA’s first step was to conduct a social brand audit to chart the school’s footprint compared to direct and indirect competitors, followed up by an in-depth discovery meeting with key management and stakeholders within the program and business school. Next came a rigorous messaging development process to create a comprehensive message guide.
We recognized that before we could develop core marketing assets such as the blog, the program still lacked a brand identity—a crisp, concise “frame” that would immediately communicate both the nature of the educational programs and its differentiated offering. We conducted an internal brand development and naming process, harkening back to the heritage of Northeastern University as a leader and first mover in experiential learning through the creation of their renowned Co-Op program. We also evaluated the current brand of the business school, named after Richard D’Amore and Alan McKim, two “bootstrap” no-nonsense entrepreneurs who started with little and worked hard to become highly successful businessmen. We decided that the business school’s identity was rooted in the concept of work and learning, and the CEE practice was designed and delivered by leaders in work and learning (the professors) and tailored for leaders at corporations. The #LeadersatWork name was created, with the hashtag included both to convey the type of content being created (social) and the aggregation of that content under the brand name.
With the concept ready and unanimously lauded by the client, SA developed a series of concept designs for the blog adhering to the business school graphic design standards. We created as a responsive site that would conform to the size of the device it is viewed on (tablet, smartphone or PC). SA developed the blog accordingly with a WordPress back end, and included full social sharing tools and a search engine optimized site structure. SA designed, developed and launched the blog in less than three months, while working with school professors to develop, curate, capture, write and edit blog posts, video testimonials and podcasts related to areas of expertise for CEE and the professors.
The blog launch was timed in advance of the first major content initiative for the CEE program—a webinar on Cultural Agility for a national audience of learning and development and training decision makers at large companies across the country. The blog was promoted at the webinar and received strong engagement, and since has been a content hub for the entire social media program (LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) as well as the source of all the content used in the monthly newsletter (consistently read monthly by more than 200 of the learning and development executives from the inaugural webinar).
SA successfully created a cutting edge, modern blog with a distinctive brand identity to differentiate and market the CEE practice at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. The blog has become the central marketing asset and content hub for the campaign, used to engage more than 130 Tier 1 and Tier 2 leads plus more than 570additional influencers each month. SA continues to find innovative ways to use the blog to engage new clients and prospects, as well as fresh ways to create engaging thought leadership content with an enthusiastic team of professors, making the blog an essential and beneficial long term fixture of the marketing program.
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