Bay Path College

Bay Path College

Began work in 2011

In February of 2011, RHB was retained by Bay Path College to help discover and express the institution’s distinctive story.

We started by conducting Circles of Influence; internal focus groups with current students (including traditional residential undergraduates, women enrolled in the One-Day-a-Week Saturday Program and graduate students) and faculty; external focus groups with prospective students, employers of Bay Path alumni and influential community leaders; interviews with high school guidance counselors and transfer advisors at community colleges in the region. In addition, we reviewed Bay Path’s recent alumni study to assess perceptions and satisfaction among former students. Finally, we conducted a Coherence Inventory to review existing Bay Path communications. After our extensive research we discovered that Bay Path:

  1. Wasn’t articulating a clear, coherent brand message
  2. Were battling outdated perceptions built on their “secretarial school” past
  3. Weren’t keeping critical audiences on track with their institutional progress
  4. Suffered from a general lack of awareness in the marketplace

We also discovered a culturally and geographically diverse community that celebrated difference; a community devoted to serving first-generation students; a community with a strong entrepreneurial spirit that was incredibly responsive to consumer needs.

With this data in hand, we set to work to develop new communications that told stories and used current profiles of students and faculty that reflected the vibrancy of the College. We recommended a new tagline and campaign theme to match the enterprising spirit of the Bay Path community (“The New American Women’s College”). We refreshed the color palette to better reflect the energy and vitality of the College. And we produced a Coherence Manifest to guide internal marketers in generating new communication tools, including the website, advertising and fund-raising materials.

Campus leaders then asked us to help introduce the big campaign ideas and train the undergraduate recruitment staff to tell the Bay Path story using the new materials. Later, we consulted with deans and program heads in the graduate programs to translate the brand to this important market of prospective students, some of who are men.

Within a year, we observed exciting results, the most obvious of which may be renewed internal pride. Across the campus we noted greater focus on telling the distinctive Bay Path story with better interpretation of the vision and redesign of the core curriculum. These efforts reshaped the recruitment funnel and focused on the types of students that Bay Path wanted to recruit. And though total enrollment remained constant in the first year, the quality of the students who enrolled improved. Undergraduate enrollment at the highest academic levels increased by 91%, including overall significant jumps in test scores, class rankings and GPAs.

Now, only in our second year of work with Bay Path, we’re developing the graduate school materials and defining a strategy to support enrollment levels across a burgeoning number of programs. We’re tweaking the undergraduate communications to reflect changes and refining the strategies based on their use in the first year. We’re working with in-house professionals at Bay Path to explore how the tagline and themes can be applied to advertising and fund-raising efforts. And we’re providing on-going counsel regarding the use of the brand message to reach broader markets.