Case Study  |  Carrington College

Changing the For-Profit Dialogue

The Challenge

As the entire for-profit, higher-ed category was being dragged though the mud on Capitol Hill, reviled by the national news pundits and tanking on Wall Street, BVK's challenge for marketing Carrington's College System was daunting. Continue to drive record enrollment and profits, despite a complete name change and the biggest industry downturn in for-profit college history.

  • The Solution

    Start by burning the for-profit college marketing “playbook” that every major competitor followed. And develop a completely new platform — one that no college could ever duplicate. Armed with deep-dive qualitative and quantitative research of students, prospects and faculty, BVK uncovered what students were truly looking for from a school —support and guidance, or as often stated more authentically, “a college that gives a sh#t about me”. Now the question was, how do we bring that point of difference to life in a surprising and interruptive way that only Carrington could own?

    We started by finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. The school’s rather uninspiring logo. BVK transformed what was once viewed as an abstract design, into a set of wings that would help students dreams and aspirations soar. From there the wings were attached to two birds — Blue and Goldie. And arguably, the higher ed. industry’s most unique and differentiating campaign, took flight.

    As the symbols of caring for a college that excelled at helping students reach their goals, Blue and Goldie instantly became overnight sensations. On TV and outdoor. Online and in social media.  Not only did these feathered friends break through the advertising clutter, they also transcended the walk-alike, talk-alike approach of our competitors. They showed prospective students that Carrington College was truly a bird of a different color. And that the daunting proposition of breaking into the healthcare profession with all of the other challenges in their lives, actually was attainable. Making transformation believable was the critical next step for the brand.

    The Results

    Increase in Enrollments


    Increase in Unaided Brand Awareness


    Increase in Brand Consideration


    Over the past three years, while the majority of for-profit higher education colleges and universities suffered enrollment declines of 25% or more, Carrington College has increased enrollments by more than 25%. A 50% swing against the national average. On top of that, valuable long-term brand health metrics like Unaided Brand Awareness rose a whopping 31%, with Brand Consideration increasing an impressive 33%. No wonder, the Wall Street Journal labeled Carrington College one of the for-profit industry’s few bright spots. And based on other key performance indicators, this is just the beginning of the flight upward for Blue & Goldie.

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