Changing long-standing perceptions through a strategic campaign
Ask anyone who works in career-technical education about their greatest challenge and the majority will no doubt mention the continuing myths and stigma that seemingly haunt it, stifling the great work teachers and students do in this field. While vocational education was formed in the 1960s and 70s to create a force of skilled workers in trade careers, it eventually evolved to meet the needs of a changing workforce in the 90s and 2000s, with new programs catering to both workforce-driven and college-bound students. Yet, perceptions about it did not.
Because Tolles Career & Technical Center needed to increase enrollment in two of their most affluent and largest districts, a campaign was developed that could begin a conversation about the changed face of “vocational” education and one that could educate parents, students, and these communities on the realities facing the next generation.
The Landed Campaign was developed around a central content piece, a 21-minute documentary, featuring Tolles alumni and showcasing their paths after high school. It was designed as a conversation starter around a much larger issue: valuing student interests and the various paths to help them achieve their goals. The campaign was designed to begin discussions, influence people, and shape a new image for not only Tolles, but also career-tech. The campaign included tactical elements of content marketing, social media, thought leadership, paid advertising, direct mail, and live events.
The results of the campaign included earned media placements, more than 25 influencer-related posts on social media, successful live events with parents and students and an increase in applications from the two targeted communities. The Landed documentary was awarded a National School Public Relations Associaton (NSPRA) Award of Excellence for video and the campaign was one of seven honored nationwide and in Canada with NSPRA’s most prestigious honor, The Gold Medallion.