[It is] imperative for HBCUs to present a fresh and compelling case for their ability to meet the needs of black college-bound youth.
— Phillip L. Clay, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2012 while a Senior Fellow at The Ford Foundation)

All universities are challenged by more competition and a changing environment, and HBCUs are no exception. In fact, we think they face more daunting challenges.

Our work has included helping the largest HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University, and the fastest growing HBCU, Jackson State University. What do you want your headline to be? We’d like to make headlines for your HBCU.

what is HBCUgrow?

vitalink has developed a program called HBCUgrow, which has adapted our university brand vitalization process for HBCU’s and is further customized to your unique situation. We address key impact areas, including university branding and positioning, enrollment marketing, alumni engagement and giving. Our HBCUgrow partners help round out our offerings with responsive websites and trackable multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns. We partner with you to:

  1. Clarify + focus strategy to increase effectiveness of branding, marketing, and communications;
  2. Better understand your target markets through research that yields key consumer insights;
  3. Engage + build consensus with internal/external stakeholders, so positive change enjoys broad support;
  4. Refine + strengthen your brand platform across stakeholder groups + delivery mediums;
  5. Create a clear + compelling case for your university, making sure your brand, website + other touchpoints tell your story;
  6. Improve your ability to deliver the optimal higher education experience for your University.

The JSU Branding Case Study

Jeanne Frazer (vitalink), Andrea Ferguson (AndiSites) and David Hoard (JSU + vitalink) recently presented JSU’s branding success story at the 2014 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education and HBCUgrow Conference ‘2015. Here is the slide show from the event:

is your HBCU a good fit?

..the schools that are so defined by heritage are now searching for a formula to stay viable in a new era of scarce resources and unparalleled competition for students.
— News & Observer article

With the great results seen in our work with the largest HBCU and fastest-growing HBCU, why doesn’t everyone work with us? Simple, it takes work and it isn’t free. But if you’re dedicated to finding ways to grow your HBCU in the areas of enrollment and alumni giving, we can help.

We have found over the years that some institutions believe they are ready to move forward, but really are not. If you are committed to change, the benefits can be enormous. The fastest-growing HBCU in the country (JSU) estimates:

100 new students = $1million in new income

(net present value of each student is even higher).

With a commitment to change, JSU increased enrollment 6 straight semesters, going from 8,000 to 9,700 (an increase of 1,700 students or $17 million in revenue). Did we say alumni giving has also increased for 3 consecutive years? Now that we have your attention…

We’re looking for our HBCU to make headlines. Requirements:

  • Support from leadership.
  • Build it right with research that provides direction.
  • Desire to engage stakeholders.
  • Willingness to implement positive change.
  • Commitment to funding and implementing campaign.

If you’ve said “yes” to these items, we might be a good fit!

We are a small band of marketers who are passionate about our clients and helping them to achieve great things. That motivates us! We don’t work with tons of universities, so you get our attention. You also get a nimble, responsive partner who has created results for other universities. We understand our full program might not be right for everyone, we just want to work with those who are a good fit! Our clients get to shape the partnership that’s right for them. You control the plan, growth and direction. Ready to find out if your school is a good fit? Give us a call at 919.850.0605 or email us.

a sample of our HBCU and university clients

Jackson State University
North Carolina A&T State University
NC State University College of Natural Resources
Center for Geospatial Analytics at NC State
NC State University College of Education
NC State University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
University of South Carolina – Sumter
Shaw University
St. Augustine College

Join the HBCUgrow community!

Visit our website, join the LinkedIn HBCUgrow community, or check out videos from HBCUgrow Conference ‘2015 at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. Check back for details on the next HBCUgrow Conference!