A Look at “What’s on Your Mind?”

By The Creative & Marketing Group, May 13, 2021
A look at the energetic, bold, and quirky marketing campaign aimed at prospective students.

Ads featuring a person with a boxing glove in place of their head. Tagline reads: Learn real-world fight.

Three variants from the "What's On Your Mind" digital ad campaign.

High school students have a lot going through their heads when they dive into a college search: What do I want to study? Who do I want to be? What sort of school is the right fit for me?  

It’s crucial we stand out from the typical (and typically ho-hum) marketing of other institutions—to get prospective students’ attention during the early phase of their search. Last fall, the “What’s on Your Mind?” (WOYM) recruitment campaign did exactly that.  

Quirky, bold, active imagery. Energetic colors. Definitive statements. These elements combine to snare divided and over-stimulated attention and interrupt Gen Z’s ever-swiping thumbs. WOYM social media ads stand out in the deluge of information, opinion, outrage, joy, and kittens that flood their feeds.       

This is a generation born and raised in the digital ecosystem. Yeah, sure, we’re all awash in information from every direction, but this is Gen Z’s natural state. It takes something unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary, and unique to disrupt an endless scroll. “What’s On Your Mind” was designed with that express purpose.

As with any marketing campaign, it’s aimed at a very specific audience—prospective students—with a clear call to action ("Request Info"). Once the a student engages with an ad by giving it a tap, they’re taken to a landing page. This interaction is the first indicator we can track to measure success of the campaign. 

The next—and most important—step (and key success metric for the campaign) is if the prospective student completes and submits the interest form on the landing page. This should excite us all, because it means they want to learn more about IC.  

Once that form is in, we can begin deeper engagement by sharing compelling narratives about the IC experience through email, social media, website personalization, and (hopefully!) in-person. Better yet, our interactions can be tailored to each student based on the details they provide about themselves, such as their interests and goals.  

Image of a laptop displaying a website.

A portion of the landing page for the "What's On Your Mind?" campaign.

“What’s On Your Mind?” is an example of a single marketing campaign developed using our brand position and platform “A Place Called Progress.”  

WOYM also happens to be the first marketing campaign that emerged from APCP. More are in the works. Future campaigns and messaging, which may focus on any of our stakeholders—including alumni or current students and families—will continue to be centered around our brand promise and informed by "Progress," "Place," and our brand attributes 

These campaigns are meant to spur a specific action or actions from the audience. One of the most powerful ways to encourage that result is by sharing our stories in a vibrant way—we’re talking about more than just a palette of distinctive colors—that highlights our people, our academics, and our place.

Have questions or want to learn more about a specific topic, please email progress@ithaca.edu