The GoAbroad Team pleased to bring you the 2013 GoAbroad Innovation Awards Finalists! Today we celebrate and recognize the Innovation in Marketing and Social Media Finalists.
We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of May 2013, GoAbroad will highlight the finalists in each of the GoAbroad Innovation Award categories! Winners for each category will be announced during the GoAbroad Reception during the Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo.
Congratulations to the 2013 Innovation in Marketing & Social Media Finalists!
EF Education First
EF College Study Tour’s new Guidebook design was conceived to do what no other program provider’s brochure does today: match the right program to the right educator (or institution) through a dynamic, individualized experience.
The experience was designed on the basis of end-to-end support- we wouldn’t reject the idea that a partnership can start as early as when an educator looks at a print brochure. And it was modeled with a question: “What would a print brochure be like if it behaved like a digital piece?” The answer was a responsive design that includes expert local knowledge and industry leader quotes, living iconography and program attribution, “featured” editorial spreads, a flip-out program legend that is accessible no matter where you are in the Guidebook and [most importantly] a table of contents that offers multiple perspectives on individual programs, allowing the reader to find the one that’s right for them.
And whether it’s through the flex-grid layout of the program pages (that pack in just enough detail to help educators and administrators alike prepare for richer conversations with us), or whether it’s the inspiring world-class copy and photography, one thing is for sure: the new Guidebook is a product of the whole study abroad industry collaborating. We spoke to clients in our office, talked to industry colleagues at NAFSA regionals, brought in our expert local guides from overseas and even sent our own creative staff abroad to collect iconic imagery where they learned why it is that we do what we do. The world becomes richer when we can show someone what it’s like out there and we think the new Guidebook puts the globe at educators’ fingertips.
Study Abroad Storytellers was an open-mic event that brought returned students together with an audience of prospective participants. This event, partnered with the Purdue Student Union Board, took place during International Education Week. The objective was to provide a casual venue for students to hear about adventures had abroad, thus being inspired to seek their own.
Domestic returnees, international & exchange students, as well as faculty program-leaders were invited to take the stage to tell a 2-5 minute tale. Some stories were hilarious, while others were thought-provoking; all were entertaining. Our Union Commons played host and free coffee was provided. The event was heavily promoted, but as with any open-mic, there was concern over participation. That faded fast as a queue of enthusiastic storytellers grew throughout the evening. Quite a few shared more than one. Some came with their stories rehearsed. Others just happen to be studying near-by and jumped at the chance to join-in. As past participants bonded over similar experience we practically had a Re-Entry workshop on our hands.
The event allowed us to market study abroad in a more personal way. By sharing stories about cultural faux pas and aha! moments, we painted pictures of what international education can truly be about. This endeavor succeeded in a way no publication, or more technical marketing campaign has. Through simple stories, connections were made and a thirst for meaningful travel was ignited. For the storytellers, it was strengthened through reflection and self-evaluation. Shortly after the final tale was told, many more were shared at the pub down the street.
Through this effort, a new excitement for studying abroad was generated on the Purdue campus. Sometimes a basic idea can end up being the most innovative of all!
Study Abroad Spotlight
Since its launch last October, Study Abroad Spotlight has filled a previous void within the industry by bringing students, parents, and education abroad professionals together through an innovative marketing and social media campaign.
Study Abroad Spotlight offers students a free forum to share their stories with their peers from across the country. We invite students who have studied all over the world (and through any program imaginable!) to reflect on their time abroad, answer a few questions, and inspire someone else to study abroad by sharing their Spotlight. This also provides a platform for study abroad alumni to showcase their experience abroad to future employers by including a link to their spotlight on their resumes.
Parents can also submit their own Spotlights to reassure other parents that studying abroad is an invaluable experience for one’s son or daughter. And if that wasn’t enough, we also encourage education abroad professionals to share their love for the field by submitting their own Spotlights.
Study Abroad Spotlight has integrated its blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn to communicate with prospective study abroad students, study abroad alumni, and even those who just simply have a love for overseas travel and study. Study Abroad Spotlight’s Director of Spotlighting, Sparky the Spotlight, even has his own eNewsletter to share his latest and greatest news on all things study abroad.
Study Abroad Spotlight recently celebrated their 100th Spotlight submission – quite a feat for a website that started as an idea and has grown into a game-changer in the world of study abroad. Sparky is proud of his team and their vision to connect with study abroad enthusiasts on a number of social media levels, and looks forward to the future growth and success of Study Abroad Spotlight.
University of South Florida EA Office
At the University of South Florida we have identified a ‘sweet spot’ for study abroad that spans from the summer before sophomore year to the summer after sophomore year which allows students the greatest flexibility in course selection, accessibility to funding and time to be inspired by their experience and study abroad again. Our university-wide Spotlight on Education Abroad for Sophomores (SEAS) Campaign kicked off in the Summer of 2012 and has since reached over 2,000 first and second year students. A targeted marketing campaign was strategically implemented in partnership with the USF Offices of New Student Connections, Orientation, Housing and Residential Education, Transitional Advising as well as USF’s Living and Learning Communities (LLCs).
The USF World Education Abroad (EA) Office staff, with the help of 50+ study abroad alumni GloBull Ambassadors, incorporated SEAS into our weekly ‘Getting Started’ sessions and annual outreach events as well as developed a portfolio of SEAS specific programming focused on first and second year students, such as our LLCs SEAS the World Nights and SEAS First Year Experience curriculum. In the eight months the campaign has been in place we’ve already seen a significant increase in study abroad participation by second year students from sophomores making up 5.8% of overall enrollment in Spring 2012 to 15.4% during Spring 2013. While it is too early to provide data for Summer 2013, preliminary analysis indicates that this trend will continue resulting in significant growth of participating sophomores for the academic year.
We believe the strength of this program is its simplicity, capitalization on strategic student affairs partnership and emphasis on in-person peer-to-peer engagement. In the age of social media marketing, we believe that our SEAS initiatives suggests that there is still room for innovation in a print-driven recruitment campaign when it’s accompanied by intentional face-to-face programming.
The Before I Die video campaign has inspired hundreds of people who want to realize their travel dreams. By asking travelers to share their dream trip, WeHostels has started a conversation in the travel community and pushed the dreamers to make their trip a reality. The video combined with a tweet stream of travelers’ entries is a great innovation in marketing and social media.
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