Positioning NECB as a Leading Online School

Positioning NECB as a Leading Online School

Client: New England College of Business (NECB)

Situation Analysis:

Founded in 1909 as the American Banking Institute, New England College of Business (NECB) has a rich history of providing correspondence courses and career-oriented training to business professionals. To better compete in Boston’s crowded education marketplace, NECB needed to distinguish itself from competitors. With myriad options available to today’s student, NECB sought to position itself as a standout online school and spread the word through traditional and social media about its role as a trusted educator for working adults juggling jobs and family responsibilities. NECB enlisted Schneider Associates (SA) to generate awareness about its history of practical education and expanded role as an online institution. NECB also wanted to highlight its offerings: associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in subjects including business and finance, ethics and compliance and accounting.

SA identified Forbes.com writer Jacquelyn Smith whose beat, “From Campus to Career,” focuses on leadership, jobs and career-oriented topics. This was a perfect fit for stories related to NECB’s career-oriented degree programs, and SA began developing a plan to secure an online placement with Forbes.com that could be leveraged and shared on NECB’s social media channels.

Objectives:

SA developed the following objectives for placing the story with Forbes.com:

  • Use an online placement and social media to position NECB as a standout online school.
  • Connect Smith with NECB president Howard Horton, a thought leader in the field of online and career-oriented education.
  • Increase awareness of NECB in New England and throughout the country.
  • Distinguish NECB from its online and traditional education competitors.

Program Planning and Strategy:

To reach these media relations objectives, SA used a combination of research, news scanning, pitch development, conversations with the reporter and collaboration with NECB’s Horton to secure this placement. The sequence of events was as follows:

  • Discussed NECB’s leadership team, degree programs and potential story ideas with Smith.
  • Provided reporter with several potential story ideas and collaborated with her to develop a list of tips for professionals who want to return to school, tying perfectly to NECB’s mission of providing affordable online degree and certificate programs for working adults.
  • Coordinated with Horton to develop his list of tips for working professionals returning to school, providing feedback and guidance.
  • Corresponded with Smith as she wrote and edited the article, incorporating Horton’s tips.
  • Publicized the coverage on NECB’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels after the story ran onForbes.com on August 14, 2013.

Results:

SA’s media relations efforts and strategic sourcing resulted in an article and picture slideshow on Forbes.com. Horton, the primary source in the story, was quoted 14 times, the most of any expert mentioned. In the slideshow, Horton was quoted in nine of the 12 slides.

The media placement included:

  • Forbes.com, “12 Tips For Professionals Who Want to go Back to School,” August 14, 2013, (Viewers: 9,956,125)
  • Facebook shares of article: 85
  • Twitter shares of article: 81
  • LinkedIn shares of article: 78
  • Google+ shares of article: 13
  • Facebook shares of slideshow: 6
  • Twitter shares of slideshow: 22
  • LinkedIn shares of slideshow: 7

These efforts also helped strengthen NECB’s relationship with Forbes.com. This type of marquis national placement enabled SA to meet NECB’s goals of raising awareness about its programs and distinguishing itself from competitors. The extensive use of Horton’s quotes in the piece was a direct result of SA’s strategic collaboration with Smith and Horton’s expertise in the field of online and career-oriented education.

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