Fearless Ideas: Unlocking the Key to Powerful College Marketing
I recently had the pleasure of providing the commercial voice over work for the University of Maryland’s new Fearless Ideas campaign – the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s 164-year history.
The end result, shown above, is a case study in what makes a great college marketing campaign. Whether the objective is to build creditability, boost enrollment, raise funds for university projects or a combination of everything, there are some fundamental components that must be present in the marketing.
Let’s break down those key components.
What makes an effective college marketing campaign?
Like all advertising, each college marketing campaign has its own unique goals. But often, for colleges and universities, those goals need to overlap.
For example, an ambitious college fundraising project can’t simply ask for money. It needs to connect on a deep level with multiple audiences at once. It must resonate with donors, current students, prospective students, alumni, staff and members of the community.
As such, a good college marketing video needs to express several ideas simultaneously:
- The pride of being a student or graduate of the school
- Access to top-notch research facilities that you get as a student or staff member
- Confidence that is instilled in students that the college has their back and will help them in their time of need
- Motivation to take the next step – for example: learning more, applying to the school, making a donation, etc.
University of Maryland’s ‘fearless’ approach
Each of the ideas above are subtly woven into UMD’s video, along with another key message that was integral to this campaign: the idea of being FEARLESS … fearless in the pursuit of education, excellence, earning a degree AND in the school’s ambitious fundraising effort.
While the overt goal of this campaign is to announce UMD’s FEARLESS IDEAS fundraising campaign, there are several other objectives being achieved here: building the confidence of college students, motivating prospective students to enroll and pursue their journey, illustrating the power of education to unlock the potential in each student and building the credibility of UMD.
The elements that make it work
Several elements of the video play a role in getting those messages across to the audience, succinctly and effectively. The visuals of course carry a lot of weight. They showcase the school’s impressive facilities and programs, as well as the diverse student body that studies there. The music adds emotion, slowly building in intensity as the copy describes UMD’s mission and announces the new fundraising campaign (notice that the campaign isn’t revealed until halfway through the ad).
And finally, a professional voice over is used to ensure that all of these messages make the biggest impact possible …
The role of the voice artist
For this video, UMD was seeking a professional male voice over to make the campaign appeal to the wide range of audiences mentioned above. The voice needed to be relatable, familiar, encouraging and credible, all at the same time.
Getting the cadence right was also critical. As the voice artist, I needed to build excitement to reinforce the bold goals of UMD’s new campaign and underscore its central message: being FEARLESS.
The result is an ad that doesn’t just announce a fundraising campaign. It’s one that also positions the University of Maryland as a leader in higher education and a destination for free thinking and exchanging bold ideas.
PRO TIP: When searching for voice over talent for your college marketing video campaign – make sure the talent understands your college’s unique history and selling point. It is essential in reflecting the right tone of passion and pride when delivering voice over copy.
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