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THE BRIEF

In 2011 Widener University, a private university based in the highly-competitive Philadelphia region, was feeling the pressures felt by many higher education institutions at that time. While a declining job market for the recent college graduate was the topic of national discussion, Widener faced its own set of distinctive challenges, notably a higher than average tuition. Additionally, key measurements of success such as applications, enrollment and retention had begun to plateau, and in some cases, decline.

 

However, university leadership smartly recognized these challenges and focused on how it could turn the tide.  There was an identified need to reinvigorate and redefine the Widener University brand.  To achieve this, Brian Communications was chosen to work with the university to uncover key strategic insights that would deliver a renewed brand platform and ultimately, lay the foundation for a synergized communications and marketing campaign to directly address the challenges faced by Widener, specifically those tied to enrollment.

 

Now in its fifth year, the campaign, “Widener Leadership Works™” continues to resonate and deliver.

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RESULTS

In a hyper competitive market, Brian Communications has helped Widener to establish a strong brand that drives students – and parents – to commit to it.

  • Based on independent research conducted by Melior:
    • “Willingness to Consider” has skyrocketed by 300% among prospective students, moving from 13% to 44%
    • “Likely to apply” also dramatically increased from 11% to 25% among prospective students
  • Key performance metrics of students also improved. Average SAT scores rose 23 points and average household income among families has grown by $19,000
  • In August 2015, Widener once again welcomed its largest Freshman Class with 846 freshmen students. Its retention rate is also at its highest point in 10 years
  • Within the past five years, as other universities struggle to differentiate their voice and fill their seats, enrollment at Widener is up 18%
  • Widener University professors are now quoted as experts in national media twice as often as local competitors