Campaign to change perception of community colleges surpasses all goals, sets enrollment record

Its campaign with agency APCO Worldwide led to a substantial number of soon-to-be college students considering community college. It won the Education Campaign category of Ragan’s PR Daily Awards.

The North Carolina Community College System needed to change the negative perception that community college offered second-rate education, and APCO Worldwide was happy to help.

The partnership launched the “Your Hire Education” campaign. The goal was to showcase modern and little-known offerings of North Carolina’s community colleges, create a sense of pride among prospective students and provide benefits of a community college education.

The paid media plan included digital and social media and programmatic display. To reach audiences in urban and rural areas, print ads, radio and TV spots and billboards were also created. Information sessions focused on the campaign were also offered to public information officers and marketing staff at 58 community colleges.

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From the summer of 2019 to February 2020, the campaign contributed to a 4.4% increase in enrollment across North Carolina, which had not been achieved in almost 10 years.

Among the achievements include delivering ads to more than 27 million people (surpassing its goal by 44%), earning more than 45,000 engagements (exceeding its goal by 576%) and earning an average of one minute and 11 seconds on the website (surpassing its goal by 103%).

A post-campaign perception survey revealed that people who saw their ads were 14% more likely to consider attending community college, 71% of respondents said they could see their children going to community college and 81% of high school students responded that they’d discussed the possibility of attending community college.

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