Written by Jordan Barela, Editor-in-Chief
Valdosta State is blazing the trail with its new marketing campaign.
Beginning earlier this semester, Valdosta State rolled out a new marketing campaign titled “VSYOU”.
The basis of the marketing campaign started back in 2013. Former President William McKinney’s term gave funding for an identity study.
“The point of [the study] was to see really who VSU was, what we represent in the community to perspective students, to current students, to alumni, to faculty, to staff,” Keith Warburg, Assistant Director of Creative Services, said.
Along with the study, VSU also hired a firm to do research with focus groups. These focus groups took place on campus with faculty and staff and also in Moultrie, Atlanta, and Tallahassee.
“What those results showed us is that our students really key in on the fact that they have an individual experience,” Warburg said. “It’s all about when I come to VSU, I feel like I get individual attention, that I am not just a number on campus like Georgia or Alabama or Florida.”
According to Warburg, the individual attention to each student is what the research showed; hence the “YOU” in “VSYOU”.
What resulted was the first marketing campaign called “Ignite”. Ignite ran between 2014 and 2015 for recruitment of new students.
According to Warburg, the point of the “Ignite” campaign was high energy and spirit, a goal to build excitement and school spirit for Valdosta State.
The “Ignite” campaign was under the McKinney administration; VSYOU is under Interim President’s Cecil Staton’s administration.
“We are still using the same research, the same sentiment behind ‘Ignite’ and really, this is where ‘Ignite’ was going in a year anyway,” Warburg said. “We just sort of changed the paintjob [but it’s] the same car.”
While “Ignite” and “VSYOU” have the same basis as a marketing campaign, there are differences.
“VSYOU” has three main focuses. The first focus is the individual experience.
“Everything that you encounter, every interaction that you have with a faculty member, with another student, with the department, everything on campus is an experience,” Warburg said. “For us as an institution, we want to make that the best possible experience.”
The first focus directly feeds into the second focus: service excellence.
According to Warburg, this is the push for faculty and staff to put the students first. This means that whatever experience, the goal is a positive experience in the end.
The third major aspect is the individual. This is the core of the “VSYOU” campaign.
“It’s all about the opportunities that[the students], are going to have at VSU, so our wording instead of doing the big explosive fire and sparks ignite, that kind of thing. We’re really focusing more on if you come to VSU, you’re going to have the chance to build your major, to get involved in the activities that you want to, and that your experience is going to be different than everyone else’s, but that you’re going to have the opportunity to do anything you want to on our campus,” Warburg said.
Along with pushing the campaign in Georgia, “VSYOU” is also gaining traction in different areas of Florida, North and South Carolina due to in-state tuition being offered in those states.
“It’s a good value no matter what, so we’re really trying to push that. We’ve already seen good results out of Florida already, and we’re surprised to see a lot of interest from South Carolina as well, so that kind of surprised us,” Warburg said.