Client project

Experiencing the spirit

Opportunity

Union College is located in Lincoln, Nebraska and has the relatively unique distinction of being an urban SDA campus. With just under 1,000 students, the experience of attending Union is familial. Faculty and staff know students personally, invite them to their homes, and truly care about providing a holistic Christ-centered education. 

Most students who would make a good fit at Union had heard of the school but didn’t know much about it. They knew it was located in Lincoln but didn’t understand what resources came with being part of that city. They knew it was small but didn’t associate that with a positive familial experience. They knew it was a Seventh-day Adventist school, but weren’t able to articulate why you would choose to go there over another SDA institution. We were engaged to create a campaign to attract more students that would thrive within the Union experience.

Establishing empathy

To understand what was authentically unique about Union we conducted extensive primary research. Two days were spent on campus interviewing executive administration, faculty, staff, current students, prospective students, and parents of prospective students. In addition, a member from our team was embedded as part of a Preview Days experience with other prospective students.

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Class Standing
We interviewed students within each year of college and included transfer and international students.
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Male/Female
Males and females were represented equally within each key student composition we interviewed.

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Location
Sixty percent of the students we spoke with were recruited from the Mid-America Union.

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Secondary Education
We included students who came to Union after an Adventist secondary education and those that did not.

Crafting key messages

To understand what was authentically unique about Union we conducted extensive primary research. Two days were spent on campus interviewing executive administration, faculty, staff, current students, prospective students, and parents of prospective students. In addition, a member from our team was embedded as part of a Preview Days experience with other prospective students.

experience a college that cares as much about who you will become as what you will become.

experience classes in which theory and practice, science and faith, leading and following, are all two sides of the same coin.

experience a campus where the president of the college is also the president of your fan club.

Clarifying the process

College admission can be a daunting and it’s confusing for prospective students to know where they’re at in the process. We created a comprehensive color-coded system that easily identifies which of four phases the student is in, what has been accomplished, and what’s coming next. And of course, the information on each form was carefully designed for simplicity and ease of use.

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Designing the enrollment experience

To support the enrollment marketing goals, a new identity toolkit was created. A week-long photo shoot was conducted on-campus to generate a library of custom imagery, updated typography was selected, color palettes established, messaging was written, and a diverse range of applications were designed to support the entire enrollment experience. 

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“Mark and his team took time to understand our marketing and branding challenges and had an excellent understanding of the culture of our unique Seventh-day Adventist marketplace.

Mark conducted careful research and did focus groups with current and prospective student to help develop a visual brand to help our recruiting and marketing campaign to attract students to Union College. The design solutions resulted in us better telling the story of Union College and ultimately increasing our student engagement and enrollment.

The communication with Mark was excellent. His time commitment was extraordinary. His thoughtfulness of design was exceptional. His deliverables were intelligent. The outside of the box thinking helped create an end product that went beyond my expectations.

What I appreciated most about working with Mark was his ability to cut through the politics of a project, keep everyone happy, and deliver the expected results and then some.”

Nadine Nelson
Vice President, Enrollment & Student Financial Services 
Union College

“Seven years ago, when Andrews University needed expert design help to brand the Andrews Study Bible, it was no surprise that the university’s in-house communication team turned to Mark Cook and his team. Cook’s insightful, high quality service has become a hallmark of Andrews’ identity, as the Study Bible has become a compelling force in advancing the work of the Advent movement around the world—great design for the Good News.”

Ronald Knott
Director, Andrews University Press
publisher of the Andrews Study Bible

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