GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 30th, 2020

Protecting your brand in a time of judgement

Protecting your brand in a time of judgementAccording to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

And at the moment, most of us are not “in the room” together. So how, during this pandemic, can higher ed institutions protect their brands when electronic communications are replacing in-person interactions and it’s more important than ever to “get it right”?

A brand identity is a delicate balance of your values, personality, promise, communications and what you want people to feel when they interact with you. Most importantly, it gives people a reason to trust you. But that can change quickly.

In today’s hyper-sensitive environment, just one statement can polarize an entire group and all eyes are on how we react online, in communications and on social media. The brands succeeding are pivoting their communications to address adversity, lead with confidence and emphasize commitment to their students.

Re-evaluating (and enhancing) your brand promise

Although your brand promise can help you sell an educational experience, career development, a network and personal development, right now, it also needs to:

  • Display your resilience
  • Illustrate corporate social responsibility
  • Convey a promise of safety

Brands right now need to go above and beyond. Higher ed institutions are no exception. Returning to the basic tenants of branding with a SWOT analysis can help your school make the necessary communication shifts needed.

  • Strengths – positive things that give you an advantage in the market
  • Weaknesses – challenges that give you a disadvantage or areas for improvement
  • Opportunities – ways you can adapt to capitalize on change
  • Threats – things that cause you problems on a larger scale

You may need to expand upon your brand promise and take it a step further to relate it to the current situation. For example, brands in higher education tend to focus on belonging, advancement, personal scale and continuous learning. In a time where prospects are looking for a safe space where they can accomplish their goals, reiterating these ideals can go a long way to strengthen the relationship.

Re-evaluating your target’s needs

What mattered to your audience a few short months ago has most likely changed. Although their core values may remain the same, the situation has dictated an extreme pivot in priorities. If education and career development isn’t on their priority list, your communications can sound tone deaf if they are not addressing their needs. The tricky part is that there are so many opinions swirling around right now relating to COVID and recent events that it’s really difficult to tell where people fall. They may have lost their jobs, may be caring for a family member, homeschooling, attempting to work from home and struggling with uncertainty.

If you don’t want to lose them, a fair dose of empathy and confidence can go a long way. People are being inundated by communications from everywhere. They can check out and unsubscribe if it’s too much. Less is more. Try addressing your prospects’ concerns in a neutral, informational fashion vs. giving opinions – and keep the focus on them.

Communication tips for protecting your brand

  • Minimize polarization by keeping things neutral and informational
  • Put a hold on opinion pieces right now
  • Avoid attachment to political stances and public figures
  • Avoid making negative statements – replace with authentic positivity
  • Reinforce your brand promise
  • Avoid information overload
  • Address adversity confidently
  • Reassure students, prospects and influencers you are focused on safety
  • Use social media carefully

As you navigate this time of uncertainty, lean on partners who have experience in branding, digital presence and messaging. GPRS can help you quickly shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to pivot your messaging to protect your most valued asset – your brand.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 18th, 2020

The boom in online executive education and how to jump on board

Online learning: Executive Education boomWhen COVID-19 upended the higher ed industry, executive education received a great opportunity on a silver platter. With people at home, conferences being cancelled and more time for professional development, schools offering online learning are successfully finding ways to make up for lost income in other areas. This article in Poets & Quants, highlights the new generation of students taking online executive education courses, how individual learners are driving growth and how online programs are growing exponentially as schools rush to replace residential content with online options.

With many schools facing the prospect of losing revenue if they don’t innovate, executive education is in a unique position. By migrating classes people have already paid for (so they don’t ask for a refund) online and adding new digital offerings, business schools are aiming to cover the gap of revenue that residential programs may be losing. Schools also recognize that online learning and working from home are going to persist, so next year’s projections may look very different.

Reasons why executive education is popular right now

In addition to the fact that executive education doesn’t necessarily need to be delivered in-person, the same immersive experience can be offered to students since technology lends well to presentation, discussion and even small group breakouts. Here are some other reasons why executive education programs are booming right now:

  • People are working from home and more able to focus on professional development
  • Workers need new skills as they tackle digital team alignment
  • Managers are looking for new ways to address team dynamics
  • Those transitioning to different roles as a result of the pandemic are brushing up their resumes
  • Some companies are giving allocated time and budget to spend on personal growth
  • Conferences are cancelled (or offered in a scaled-back format), so online learning and networking are ideal
  • Programs not already online can transition with fewer logistics than degree programs
  • Content can be delivered as-is; although instructional design is helpful, it isn’t required and professors can deliver using technology

Ways to take advantage of the market boom with online learning

If your school currently has online offerings, or you are in the midst of developing a digital delivery plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind for your marketing strategy to organizations and individuals. You may even consider expanding your reach to students who wouldn’t normally be able to attend your school due to geographic limitations or time constraints.

B2B marketing tactics

  • Team with a company to become their online learning partner
  • Market online executive education as a way to responsibly provide your employees with opportunities for professional development
  • Showcase the need for learning how to manage change, cope with adversity, pivot management strategies and learn how to conduct a digital team

B2C marketing tactics

  • Market online programs as resume-boosters if COVID-19 has driven a job shift
  • Discuss benefits of learning to work in small digital teams
  • Promote programs aimed at helping people overcome obstacles
  • Point out now is a great time for professional development following conference cancellations
  • Highlight networking, lower costs (if applicable) and the opportunity to participate in programs they couldn’t attend before
  • Show flexibility allowing them to earn credentials from a university they couldn’t attend in person due to geographic limitations

As you navigate these uncertain times, lean on partners who have experience in marketing executive education and online programs. GPRS will help you shift your digital advertising and brainstorm ways to take advantage of unique opportunities in the market.



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For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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