Mary Baldwin University earns dual marketing honors

mary baldwin universityThe Office of Integrated Communications at Mary Baldwin University earned two awards at the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Marketing Association’s 2019 Excellence in Marketing Awards celebration Thursday night in Charlottesville.

The EMMAs are the organization’s annual signature competition and awards gala to recognize the work of marketing professionals in the Central Virginia region.

The marketing accolades have come at a time of celebration at MBU. On National College Enrollment Deposit Day on May 1, MBU had received a historic number of deposits from prospective students; on the same day, the university shattered its goal for its annual online day of giving; and the university looks toward conferring degrees upon a record number of students later this month at Commencement.

The award-winning MBU team, led by Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Chief Strategy Officer Aimee Rose, received EMMA awards for best campaign for its undergraduate enrollment campaign of 2017–18 and best website for its university website redesign in collaboration with Charlottesville-based web agency VibeThink and lead designer, Cheyenne Crawford, an MBU alumna.

“I am beyond proud of this team. Key to our success is the talent and speed with which we envision and execute our work,” Rose said. “Campus collaboration has also been integral to the entire university’s success within the past year, and the collaboration on this team is unprecedented.”

The team was tasked with producing massive amounts of campaign collateral, and positioning the university in a way that attracted new male students while preserving the university’s women-centered heritage. A new brand positioning platform was developed in one week; a new prospective student viewbook conceived, written, designed, and sent to press in 16 working days; a new website launched in six weeks; and college fair materials, monthly postcard series, email marketing, videos, and a new website launched in short order. Experiential graphic design projects and a revamped campus tour experience — including gamifying visit days for admitted students — further delivered on the brand promise of high-touch, personalized education in a vibrant community.

The result? Welcoming MBU’s largest incoming first-year, residential class — a  222 percent increase over the previous year.

The Herculean task was achieved in a higher education landscape not known for its willingness to take risks and by an all-women team of seven, led by Rose: Leighton Carruth, Ginny Clemenko, Liesel Crosier, Pam Dixon, Nicole Goodnough, Lisa Ha, and Phoebe West.

“This dream team broke barriers at the same time we broke records,” said Ha, associate vice president of marketing. “Nearly all of us have small children at home — including four with infants and one pregnant at the time. And while our task was monumental, our methodology was simple: speak to the audience in the manner the audience wanted, using the authentic voice of the brand.”

Founded in 1842, Mary Baldwin University is a small, coeducational university offering a range of degree programs from bachelor to doctoral. It serves a vibrant student population on its main campus in Staunton, Virginia; at its nearby health sciences campus in Augusta County; and online.

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