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Client: Widener University HSLA
Breaking through a crowded higher education market

Leveraging a brand activation to get in front of the right audiences.

From big schools to small schools, historic institutions to trendy new research facilities, top-tier athletic programs to quality trade schools – the Philadelphia region has a commitment to higher education that very few cities can compete with. In the densely populated market, our team was tasked with helping Widener University – a private, metropolitan university – develop a compelling brand activation that would break through the clutter and raise brand awareness among high school administrators, prospective students and parents.

Widener University

Widener University High School Leadership Award recipient from Roman Catholic touts his award plaque

Award recipients participate in icebreaker activities during the High School Leadership Award ceremony at the National Constitution Center

Tracy Davidson from NBC10 hosts the 2018 High School Leadership Awards ceremony

Award recipients get to know each other during celebratory breakfast

Widener University and NBC10 recognize the award recipient from Roman Catholic during plaque delivery ceremony

Reaching the Target Audience: 1,300+ High School Students & 300+ Priority Schools

To increase brand visibility and loyalty among Widener’s target audience, we launched the High School Leadership Awards, a comprehensive scholarship program that focuses on recognizing high school juniors who exemplify a core principle of Widener’s mission and curriculum: Leadership. As an agency, Brian has supported this initiative from conceptualization to execution, managing everything from collecting and reviewing award submissions to securing a local broadcast partner and planning an annual award ceremony for 400+ students, administrators, and parents – and even taking the event virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Since launching the High School Leadership Awards program 10 years ago, we have helped Widener grow the program to a point where they have been able to publicly recognize over 1,300 high school juniors who are making a positive difference in their community, while making direct connections with over 300 target schools and administrators. What’s even cooler? An independent research report showed that high schoolers’ “Willingness to Consider” Widener University as their school of choice skyrocketed by 300%, moving from 13% to 44%.

It has been incredibly inspiring to meet so many hardworking, dedicated high school students.

Dr. Julie Wollman, President of Widener University



total award recipients


total participating schools

300% increase

in “Willingness to Consider”