The Challenge: Raise visibility of Follett brand as top educational resource among educators, parents, students, and the media
In the summer of 2015, Follett – a leader in the educational resources industry selling college textbooks, K-12 learning materials and operating university bookstores – decided to move from a business-to-business company to reaching consumers directly. Although Follett has been a trusted name in education for more than 140 years, this was the company’s first foray into consumer marketing.
To transition from B2B to B2C after more than a century, the main challenge was to raise visibility for the Follett brand among consumers and the media since much of what the company provides is either branded by others (most bookstores are operated under the name of the school or college) or private labeled (Follett produces the products but they are branded with the school’s name).
College students and parents, who frequented bookstores operated by Follett, had little or no idea that Follett was operating the campus store or that there were a number of affordable ways to buy textbooks. On top of that, retailers like Amazon, which is a household consumer name, sells textbooks online—often at cheaper prices—and was directly competing with the bookstore.
Follett hired SA to relaunch the company to parents and students, using an integrated marketing campaign that positioned Follett as a valuable back-to-school resource for parents of students in kindergarten through college, as well as students in high school and college.
- Introduce Follett to a consumer audience for the first time
- Establish Follett as a valuable educational resource for parents and students during Back to School season
- Position Follett spokespeople as thought leaders on topics of interest to parents and students via top-tier media placements
Create dedicated #FallBacktoSchoolmicrosite and populate it with original content
Our Approach: To increase Follett’s brand awareness, SA created and implemented an integrated marketing campaign featuring media relations, content creation, influencer campaigns, social media, programmatic advertising and the creation of a microsite to host paid, earned, shared and owned media.
- Media Relations:
- Successfully recruited influential spokeswoman Rosalind Wiseman (author of Queen Bees & Wannabes, later adapted into the movie Mean Girls) to speak about issues students and parents face
- Secured reactive and proactive print, radio, online and broadcast media placements for Follett by conducting media outreach
- Wrote and pitched contributed pieces and op-ed placements
- Conducted Omnibus Survey to identify how parents feel about technology vs teaching and various social issues in education, and pitched the findings to national, regional and local media
- Distributed and pitched four major press releases
- Social Media:
- Drove referral traffic to Follett’s Back to School microsite
- Increased community growth and engagement on social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Scripted, staffed and implemented the successful #FallBacktoSchool Twitter party which reached more than 4 million users.
- Content Creation:
- Developed Back to School microsite as a content hub to provide value to consumers visiting Follett’s website with original blog posts
- Developed several infographics about Follett’s most sought-after products and other tips for college freshmen and their parents
- Created online quizzes called “Are You Smarter Than a Middle-Schooler” and “Are You Smarter Than a High Schooler”
- Wrote MAT columns regarding back to school tips for parents and ways parents can deal with newly empty nests
- Created and hosted a podcast series for Follett subject matter experts
The Results: In three months, this integrated marketing campaign generated nearly 100 million impressions for the brand across a variety of channels, and introduced Follett to a consumer audience for the first time in the company’s 140-year history
- Media Placements
- Secured top-tier media placements in USA Today, Bloomberg, Washington Post, and Education World
- Overall Social Media Reporting (August to October)
- 13,582 posts
- 1,667 users
- 4 million users reached
- 7 million impressions garnered
- 1,028 new followers on Twitter
- 1,983 new fans on Facebook
- 890 link clicks
- #FallBacktoSchool Twitter Party
- 11,951 posts
- 944 users
- 2 million users reached
- 15 million impressions garnered
- Influencer Campaign Blog Posts
- 416,375 total comments on the 47 posts
- 623 related Facebook posts from blogger content
- 1,613 Tweets related to blogger content
- 484 Pinterest posts related to blogger content
- 235 Google+ posts related to blogger content
- 7 million in potential reach
- Microsite Performance
- 6,355 sessions
- 5,177 users
- 8,475 page views
Learn more about our education services here.