Focusing on a Story or Idea in College Advertising

Focusing on a Story or Idea in College Advertising

Marketing to college students using a compelling story or innovative idea, will lead to a successful college advertising campaign.

The focus of any college advertising strategy is to increase awareness of your brand and gain new clientele. However, concentrating on the end result is a common trap advertisers fall into; getting bogged down with numbers can affect the quality of your content, leading to a less effective college marketing plan. A successful college advertising campaign prioritizes the concept above all else. Creating a compelling story or delivering an innovative new experience, will capture students’ attention.

In a recent ShellyPalmer article, Ideas Trump Technology: A Message Worth Sharing, Procter & Gamble’s Global Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard gave some good advice on the subject: ‘“Forget thinking about how to make a Vine or send out the most clever tweet. Instead, focus on how to connect to consumers using ideas so big they’ll work on any platform.”[1] With so many social media marketing platforms out there, and new ones constantly on the horizon, it takes herculean effort not to be swept into cyberspace. But you must resist this temptation and focus on developing an intriguing idea before ever worrying about the technological aspect.

Constructing a story that demonstrates the connectivity of your product or brand will have huge impact on the college demographic, as they value interconnectedness tremendously. They want to know how your product brings people together and how it will add to their experience. Stories provide insight, relatability, and meaning to their audience, engaging and captivating them. Plus, stories can start conversations, leading to increased brand awareness and social media marketing.

Once you have crafted a story that will leave a lasting impression on your audience, then, and only then, can you think of ways of advertising to students. The best way of reaching college students is through campus marketing, as students spend the majority of their time on college campuses. There are many different college advertising options, including P2P marketing, college street teams, college sampling, college postering, college flyering, as well as college newspaper advertising. College event marketing and college experiential marketing provide innovative ways to connect students with your brand, building buzz and creating an on-campus presence.

First, focus on the message and last, decide on the medium. A powerful story can capture hearts and minds; the medium allows the story to be communicated with the audience. Both are of incredible importance, but the order must be followed.

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[1] Keller, Ed. “Ideas Trump Technology: A Message Worth Sharing”. Shelly Palmer. 22 April 2013. <>


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