Whether from the perspective of per-head provincial government grants or tuition revenue, the enrolment and retention of students is fiscally all-important for the college.
So, with every passing year – as the means to secure enrolment and stabilize retention – effective recruitment, marketing, advertising, branding and “community engagement” become more integral to St. Clair’s success.
During its October 25th meeting, the college’s Board of Governors received a report on “Community Engagement and Brand Identification” from the administration.
Given its importance to the institution, it is worth quoting the report at length:
St. Clair College’s 2022-2023 “Rise Above the Ordinary” recruitment initiatives are focused on face-to-face delivery, as we have progressed out of COVID-19 restrictions. Our long-standing taglines of “Start Here Go Anywhere” and “Rise Above the Ordinary” have continued. Other campaign taglines and themes used throughout the recruitment cycle include “Take Flight”, “Saints Nation”, “Saints Strong” and “The World Needs You – See Beyond Today”.
New taglines and themes, such as “Women in Robotics – Future Focused”, have been developed to resonate with females that are poised to be innovative and future leaders in engineering and robotics. This campaign features current robotic students and will extend to other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related programs to increase female enrolment.
SCHOOL VISITS AND COLLEGE FAIRS
As restrictions have lifted, the domestic recruiting team is booked with in-person visits, including students on our campuses, and school visits within our catchment area and provincially. The marketing and recruitment team also do individual, family and group tours as requested.
The upcoming Fall Open House on Saturday, November 12 will be a return to a campus-wide, face-to-face event. Each campus will be open for prospective students to meet our faculty, learn about our student services, see our facilities, and meet industry partners who hire our students. We are planning to have industry partners join the Open House to promote their organizations and industries.
LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD ENGAGEMENT
In the summer, discussions commenced with the administration of both the public and Catholic school boards in Windsor-Essex. The focus of these discussions was on STEM programs offered by the college. Enrolment in STEM programs has declined in recent years. The college is aiming to change this trend. Recent community announcements regarding renewed investments in manufacturing and community partnerships will provide some direction for program development that will assist with the future needs of local industry.
We have started to bring local Grade 11 and 12 students on to campus to provide an intentional presentation and tour of specific college programs and facilities that align with potential program interest.
There will be an invitation for campus visits sent out to all local STEM high school teachers and guidance counsellors to tour our facilities, learn about our programs, and meet the industry partners who hire our students. We are also planning visits to our industry partner locations for both high students and invited guests from the school boards. In the new year, we will also begin to host tours with local Grade 7 and 8 students so that they begin to get familiar with St. Clair College and the programs that we offer. Parents will be invited for focused events throughout the year to learn about the college programs and career potential offered by a St. Clair College education.
SAINTS ATHLETICS SUCCESS
The success and investment in the Saints varsity programs have boosted the brand of the college. The “Saints Nation” brand has been very popular, and is being used by our student groups and for promotion of team sports. The excitement of team sports with spectators has allowed the college to engage our community to come to the campus and see our facilities. The recruiting effort of varsity athletes, both locally and provincially, has been impactful for our overall domestic strategy.
For various campaigns, data is collected from online college recruitment and branding initiatives to gain insight into student preferences.
April 1, 2022 – October 11, 2022 (Globally)
1. Programmatic (program specific) and Behavioural (student experience)
• Delivered a total 4,050,000 million impressions on ad sets.
• This equates to 19,400 clicks to campaign related sites.
• Click through rate 0.48 percent.
• Impressions (each time someone sees the ad): 3,884,473.
• Clicks on the ad: 39,871.
• Reach (number of unique individuals): 419,392.
• Landing Page Views (people who click on the ad and land on our website): 2,263.
3. Google Text and Display (Google Search, Display and YouTube)
• Generated 259,490 impressions.
• Clicks on the ad: 2,055.
• Bell Media: AM800, 93.9 FM, 88.7 FM commercials and sponsorships.
• Blackburn Radio: commercials and sponsorships in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
• Wallaceburg 99.1 FM commercials and sponsorships.
2. Newspapers – Community, National, Online and Trade Publications: Windsor Star, Chatham Daily News, Essex Free Press, The Drive, Biz X, Windsor Life, Neighbours LaSalle, Southpoint Sun (Leamington), Wallaceburg Courier, OSCA, Skills Ontario, WE Manufacture, Perspective (Globe and Mail), Toronto Star, National Post, Harrow News (new this year), Macleans.
3. Billboard: Year-round contracts were purchased, securing key locations throughout Windsor, Chatham and Wallaceburg.
4. Television: CTV, CBC, YourTV (Cogeco Cable) commercials and sponsorships.
5. Website Traffic
• The website traffic and number of sessions has steadily increased since the implementation of the digital recruitment strategy. Overall, there were 1.1 million users on the site between April 1 and October 11, 2022.
• Million page views (duplicated, defined as the total number of pages the 1.1 million users viewed on stclaircollege.com)
• The bounce rate in the range of 26-40 percent is considered excellent. stclaircollege.com is at 40.13 percent. (A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the analytics server during that session).
During the last fiscal year, the recruitment team, along with Douglas Marketing Group (DMG), have continued to expand the microsite with pages that are specific and targeted for future students. This was presented as a first phase to the recruitment strategy, and has become the hub for all online advertising initiatives, as well as virtual recruitment outreach.
Discoverstclaircollege.com and st.claircollege.com work in tandem and pull relevant information from each other based on the users’ stage of decision-making. This is possible with tagging at key access points and buttons within the website.
OTHER BRANDING INITIATIVES THIS YEAR INCLUDE ...
• Ongoing campus beautification initiatives across all campuses.
• Replacement of college banners on campuses and on downtown streets.
• Increased student space at the Downtown Windsor campus.
• Social media use of hashtags: #saintsnation #stclaircollege, #riseabovetheordinary.
• Increase engagement on all social platforms including TikTok.
• Working with the Alumni Association to use funding to support cross promotion and community presence at local events.
• Branding in Alumni Association monthly newsletters and Alumni social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
• Community engagement with Saints Athletics in partnerships and hosting of tournaments and games at the Sports Park and SportsPlex.
• Event partnerships and sponsorships (Ruthven Apple Festival, Chatham Crowfest, Chatham Armouries Holiday Light Festival, Downtown Windsor weekly market vendor, Windsor International Film Festival, Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards).
• Partnerships with our student groups SSAA, SRC and TSI.
• Partnerships with Windsor Tennis Management and local charity groups at the Zekelman Tennis Centre.
• Partnership with Art Windsor-Essex and Zekelman Foundation for outdoor art displays at our Windsor campus.
OTHER STORIES FROM THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
• The midyear financial numbers are looking good: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/budget-track-according-mid-year-actuals
• Apprentices voice their opinion of the college: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/fluctuating-apprenticeship-surveys-reviewed-board
• Contract/Corporate Training has rebounded: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/contract-training-rebounds-pandemic
• Running the college is risky business: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-reviews-its-risks
• College prepares for impact of new enrolment-related funding formula: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/college-prepares-change-funding-formula