Learn strategies to convey your institution’s most powerful stories in the most compelling ways.
Humans are wired for narrative, so stories can act as powerful motivators to those who are touched by them. Institutions are more likely to build connection, engagement, affinity, and inspiration with a story than with more traditional “sales-oriented” forms of marketing. While storytelling is often discussed in the world of higher ed marketing, few schools are doing it in a way that is intentional, strategic, and sustainable.
It takes creativity to know a great story and how to share it in a compelling and authentic way, but there is also a science behind effective storytelling. No matter the medium (written or visual), one must have insight and data about target audiences and a strong brand strategy to provide the roots for growing narratives. During this highly interactive workshop, you will explore storytelling through both artistic and scientific lenses and work with your peers and our expert instructors to hone the skills you need to create high-impact stories for your campus.
Who Should Attend
This program has been designed for higher ed marketing and communications professionals who are looking to enhance storytelling strategies. You will learn how to identify the right stories and match them to the most compelling medium in order to most effectively convey your narrative. You’ll leave this event able to build a high-impact strategy across multiple digital channels and platforms.
Your registration for the conference includes full access to all sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast on Tuesday, as well as refreshments throughout the conference.
Welcome and Introductions
We will use this opening session to get to know each other and our instructors, and share what we are hoping to accomplish during this workshop.
Building Your Storytelling Philosophy
A sustainable storytelling strategy must be rooted in a philosophy that is shared across the team, and it should be tied to the greater mission and vision of the institution. What is your current institutional approach to storytelling? You will see examples of great storytelling, reflect on how storytelling is currently handled at your institution, and begin to think about how you would like to approach it moving forward.
Knowing your Audience: The Importance of Data (includes activity)
Before writing a story, you must understand your target audience. What data will help with storytelling? Our expert instructor will discuss how to gather insights on your target audience to help you craft high-impact stories for them. Gathering the right data is also a key piece of gaining buy-in from institutional leadership.
Finding the Right Stories and Choosing Your Platform (Includes activity)
Once you understand your audience and their preferences, it is time to unearth the stories you want to share and the best medium to do so. Our instructors will provide an overview of best practices for finding and soliciting powerful stories on your campus and how to pair your message and platform with your target audience’s expectations.
Practice: The Art of a Compelling Story
During this interactive session, you will learn the core principles of compelling storytelling and hone your own practice through small group activities.
Building Storytelling Strategy and Prioritizing Channels for Generation Z
It is critical to have a brand strategy to serve as the beacon for your storytelling efforts. You will learn about brand strategies at various institutions and the stories that were crafted within these frameworks. You will also explore Generation Z, a growing and important cohort to understand. Armed with these examples, you will begin prioritizing the types of communication channels (e.g., social media, print, film, etc.) you want to focus on and start crafting a storytelling strategy for yourself and your area.
Bringing It Home: Next Steps when You Return to Campus
Your ability to directly impact brand strategy at your institution can vary greatly depending upon your role. This session will provide you with steps you can take back to campus to help enhance storytelling practices from both the bottom-up and top-down.
Final Q&A, closing remarks, and conference evaluations.
Elizabeth Scarborough Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
With over 25 years of experience conducting market research studies, she’s an industry leader in providing strategic marketing solutions to colleges and universities.
David Peck, Ph.D.
Vice President for University Relations
Azusa Pacific University
Boasting a background in Hollywood, David’s expertise lies in branding, marketing, public relations, social media, and visual storytelling. He’s been responsible for promoting and protecting the brand at APU for 21 years.
Director, Content Strategy
Mike finds innovative and effective ways to bring Harvard stories to the world through digital platforms and his team produces, distributes, and measures multi-channel content for a variety of flagship properties.
Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.
Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.
Questions About the Event?
Program Manager, Academic Impressions