University of Bridgeport

Boosting Enrollment by Changing Perceptions

The benefits of a long-term creative and strategic partnership.

For many years, the University of Bridgeport struggled to shape its reputation. In 2013, with the goal of strengthening its brand and highlighting the institution’s many positive attributes, UB hired Spark451 for a full range of services, including a creative partnership and robust student search and yield packages.

Strategic Creative Services

Our writers and designers reimagined a full suite of cohesive communications across print, email, and digital mediums, including UB’s university viewbook, program– and college-specific brochures, and materials for students at every stage of the funnel. For example, in an exciting admit packet designed to celebrate and motivate recipients, we included a selfie card to drive social media engagement, as well as a unique brochure featuring testimonials from faculty, students, and alumni, emphasizing why they chose UB over any other institution.

We also initiated a motivational campaign that included a new viewbook, supporting materials, and UB’s search communications. Several of our projects — including an origami-inspired, die-cut road piece — not only drove engagement, but also won Educational Advertising Awards and Collegiate Advertising Awards.

Data-driven Student Search and Yield

In addition to our creative efforts, our strategic work focused on raising the academic profile of the institution by targeting prospective students with higher grades and standardized test scores.

To cultivate a more qualified pool in student search and yield, we increased personalization by segmenting based on students’ interests, academic standing, stage of the funnel, proximity, financial need, and other factors. Delivering more detail on what matters most to each student allows us to deepen their engagement.

Our powerful predictive modeling tools helped determine what to personalize. Harnessing data on campus visits, applications, programs in which students have noted interest, and geographical location, among other factors, we were able to deliver each student the most relevant communications at each phase of enrollment.

Continuing to Push Limits

Our relationship with UB has deepened considerably over time. When we started working together, Spark451 was primarily tasked with developing materials for incoming freshmen. UB’s admissions teams have also since asked for help with a wide array of materials for graduate, transfer, and international students, as well.

When asked what about our partnership is most valuable to UB, the head of enrollment management said that, in addition to helping to recruit each class, Spark451 really helped improve the perception of UB — as well as the Bridgeport area — by creating a system of effective messages and highlighting the campus’ scenic location on the Long Island Sound with gorgeous photography and graphics. In fact, UB was recently named the safest campus in Connecticut in a national study by ADT. (We are proud to have contributed to such a major shift in perception.)

UB’s admissions team also credits Spark451 with shaping a positive image that helps prospective students, their parents, and the community see the university in a bright and positive way, as well as helping highlight the quality of the institution’s programs with powerful writing and design throughout their materials. The head of enrollment also said that, prior to our partnership, “UB did not have a true brand identity. Spark451 helped build a foundation with a consistent style that allows for continuity — among printed publications, search materials, and digital assets — with cohesive elements that look like they are part of a family.”

Utilizing our technological tools, strategic insights, and creative services, we have contributed to a considerably higher profile for UB, and have helped shape their pool of applicants. Not only has the quantity of applications steadily increased, but the academic backgrounds of those applying have become notably more competitive.

UB has experienced significant improvement in its application and enrollment numbers over the past five years. In fact, its number of applicants more than doubled between 2014 and 2018. And through 2017, enrollment at UB had increased by nearly 15 percent.