What is Storytelling in Higher Education Marketing?
We recently posted a video from “The Beard” explaining storytelling web design.
This post generated a conversation on the Higher Education Public Relations & Marketing Group. The response was that the video was unclear and confusing….not really providing a definition to answer “what is storytelling design in higher education marketing?”
The person commenting made an excellent point. They referenced that “perhaps it was a twist on narrative journalism?”
And, indeed that is the point. There are a few other sites that did a much better job explaining the trend, but here is a great collection of examples:
- Econsultancy has a great explanation and shares 30 examples (not necessarily specific to higher education)
- Dtelepahy also has a nice list of their examples of visual storytelling
- And Web Standards Sherpa has a list and explanation
- While this was not the same storytelling design as today’s, our experience with the Lumina Foundation’s Webby award-winning website Camino a la Universidad was very similar and groundbreaking in 2008.
I found in the reviews that by far, the New York Times Snowfall is what I would consider the best example and most compelling use of storytelling design. This site is apparently the inspiration for the long-awaited nytimes.com redesign.
I’ll make an argument that using this technique of storytelling design in higher education marketing could provide several impacts for your school. Here are some ideas:
Narrative Case Statement
For your next campaign, supplement the case statement with a microsite that will bring narrative journalism to life with video, graphics, etc. These websites are the essence of the best ways to currently communicate on the web. Bring in the aspect of responsive web-design that will allow your users to view the same quality of content on their mobile devices and tablets as the desktop and laptop.
Niche Audience Specific Enrollment Site
When recruiting for a specific niche audience, consider using storytelling design to really impact the message. Include videos of current students, parents, as well as interactive graphics and statistics. This will enable your market to really dig deep and understand your commitment to issues such as diversity, first generation students, and adult learners.
Graduate and Adult Programs (GAP)
So many non-traditional students need to “see” themselves in the program to really understand what that will look like. An immersive storytelling website will provide them the ability to read through a narrative and place themselves in the story.
When considering how to convey the history of your institution for the next milestone anniversary, consider creating a microsite to not only illustrate the timeline and highlights, but to underscore and communicate your brand story. By combining video, narrative, animation, graphics, and illustrations, you’ll be able to communicate the past as well as the future vision.
How are you starting to use storytelling in your higher education marketing plan?