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DePaul Receives National Recognition for “Urban Educated. World Ready” Brand Campaign

DePaul recently won three national awards for achievement in education marketing and advertising. The 32nd Annual Educational Advertising Awards recognized the university with two silver awards for the “Urban Educated. World Ready” brand videos and integrated marketing campaign, and one gold award for the social media campaign. The awards were announced in March 2017.

DePaul’s “Urban Educated. World Ready” brand campaign has been led by EMM’s Marketing Strategy team. When the initiative first began in 2014, it focused on refreshing the university’s brand strategy, developing “the DePaul Story” and building brand assets.

“We’ve been committed to understanding and articulating the DePaul brand since early 2000,” shares Verna Donovan, associate vice president for Strategic Marketing and Branding in EMM. “This campaign was an effort to move from strategy to storytelling. To create a DePaul brand that is personalized and authentic.”

The campaign focuses on DePaul’s three defining qualities:
  • Education: Centered around practical real-world experiences and caring faculty
  • Environment: Characterized by DePaul’s urban campuses and connection to Chicago
  • Ethos: Grounded in DePaul’s Vincentian values, which focus on developing respect for others and celebrating our diversity
The four award-winning brand videos highlight DePaul’s brand essence, “Urban Education. World Ready,” and the three defining qualities—bringing the brand to life through storytelling. 

The campaign officially launched with the release of the first brand video in January 2016, to coincide with Blue Demon Week—an annual affinity-building week at DePaul.  The subsequent three video releases aligned with other major DePaul events to maximize impact and emphasize the overall message. As of June 2017, the four videos had a combined total of 12,357 views on YouTube.

Videos were also paired with an authentic story telling series that showed the DePaul brand in action; various members of the DePaul community were asked to share their DePaul experiences, which were then shared widely on social media.

The social media and integrated marketing campaign extended onto five platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), each with a unique strategy and customized communication approach.  Interest and engagement continued over the course of several months following the campaign launch. Social media outreach garnered over 280,000 impressions, which indicates the number of times the content was displayed. Audiences were highly engaged, and many shared their own stories in response.

“We found that people were looking for opportunities for engagement,” says Donovan. “So we leveraged existing vehicles to meet people where they are already absorbing content, and created opportunities for them to engage with the brand. We wanted to build a sense of togetherness and community that would encourage people to personalize and share their DePaul experiences.”

Internal support was critical to the campaign’s success. EMM partnered with multiple university stakeholders, key among them: the Office of Public Relations and Communications, Athletics, Student Affairs and Facility Operations. These partnerships served to raise awareness and encourage engagement, bolstering the campaign’s success.

“These awards are significant because it puts us in good company with other award-winning institutions,” says Donovan. “It also means our efforts are on target. We branched out through so many different channels, thanks to the support and collaboration of our university partners, and ultimately brought out the people of DePaul to tell their stories."

To learn more about the brand campaign, visit the DePaul Brand website.