AMA 2016: The New Normal in Higher Education

December 21, 2016  |  Tamalyn Powell

BVK  |  Education

There was a Theme.

At this year’s AMA Higher Education Conference, which just took place in Orlando, there were a couple of key themes that emerged throughout the week and one central message was clear throughout. Several of the keynote and breakout speakers had repeated references of the need for “centralization” of marketing efforts, with a “system focus” when it comes to branding a college — in contrast to the “siloed” branding that is so common across the industry — to produce the strongest “collective impact” for an institution.

Doing it Right.

An example of a higher education brand that is doing all of these things very well is Michigan State University.  Not only has the “Who Will? Spartans Will.” campaign exceeded its engagement objectives across target audiences and garnered a “Best of Show” in the 2016 Higher Education Marketing Awards, but MSU’s marketing chief was just awarded the coveted AMA “Marketer of the Year” award at this year’s conference. Congratulations to our client Heather Swain for this prestigious honor!

Heather Swain, vice president for communications and brand strategy at Michigan State University, receives her 2016 Marketer of the Year Award at the AMA Higher Education Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Heather Swain, vice president for communications and brand strategy at Michigan State University, receives her 2016 Marketer of the Year Award at the AMA Higher Education Conference in Orlando, Fla.

There’s More.

Plus, in addition to winning a 2016 CASE Circle of Excellence Platinum Award* for best practices in communications and marketing for its “Who Will? Spartans Will.” brand marketing campaign, MSU’s Communications and Brand Strategy unit scored gold medals in four other individual categories.

All these success metrics and accolades further demonstrate how a centralized brand strategy with an emotional connection to all aspects of the university can provide a collective impact across all marketing initiatives.

Who will?  Spartans will!

Learn more about how BVK can help your higher education institution break through the clutter by developing comprehensive and strategic advertising and marketing campaigns.

*This article was excerpted with permission from the November 2016 edition of CASE Currents Magazine. CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.


is a Senior VP, Group Account Director at BVK

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