As the academic year ends, university admissions recruiters across the United States are scrambling to meet target admissions numbers, minimize student transfer rates and convince current high school graduates to choose their university over competitors. When it comes to strategies for branding universities, there are concerns separate from other businesses, but one thing is consistent: promotional products help students remember the schools and the educational experiences they offer.
To best attract students, admissions counselors need to know the ins and outs of every academic program offered and be able to convince them that the institution’s values are a fit with their own. Counselors will likely have to convince parents as well. Students may be attracted to location, size, program offerings or social aspects of a university, but with thousands of traditional and online options, universities can get lost in the mix.
Promotional gifts are a great way to raise awareness about university branding. These items can also reveal something about the core values of an institution that may attract students. Admissions representatives should first think of what the school offers and what item might be good for individuals who would benefit from those services. It makes sense that university promotional items should be useful to students because they appeal to their age group and are relevant to the programs being offered.
Incoming freshman will find themselves logging hundreds of hours on computer screens during their college careers. Think about items that may support that process along the way. USB flash drives are an excellent customizable option that provides student data portability, which is important whether they are spending a late night finishing an essay in the computer lab or transporting slide-based presentations to the classroom.
To build excitement at recruiting events, consider holding a raffle for a more desirable item that comes at a higher price point such as computer accessory kit that comes with a USB drive, a mouse and other accessories. it may also be helpful to include a solar powered iPhone charger. This may be particularly effective for institutions that offer a variety of online options. A customizable laptop bag or protective sleeve is also a desirable gift, and the lucky recipient will be pleased to receive it.
Universities engaged in sustainable practices are attractive to students today, and institutions that have established a green brand identity may see the benefits of those initiatives when it comes to students accepting admissions offers. Use recruitment fairs and admissions events as opportunities to reinforce green practices. Water bottles made out of metal or BPA-free plastic will encourage sustainability and promote healthy practices, which should be encouraging to parents as well.
Personalized tote bags made out of sustainable natural fibers also send an environmentally-friendly message. Students may reuse these bags for many functions,and doing so will create publicity in a variety of public settings amongst their age group. Bags can be packed with catalogs and other promotional literature to keep things all in one place.
Take advantage of athletic programs when it comes to marketing strategies that attract young people. A fan t-shirt screened with a university athletics logo is likely to be worn, and it may also build a sense of belonging at the university. Specialized programs may consider giving away customized logo golf balls or beach balls to gain students’ attention. These items are fun and will highlight the social life available on campus.
Promotional giveaways should cause students to give the university serious thought, and the more admissions counselors can customize these items to student needs, the greater effectiveness they will have boosting admissions numbers.