Insights — Building Trust

Building Trust

Strategy , COVID-19 , Weekly Brief / April 20, 2020
Matt McFadden
Matt McFadden

I'll state the obvious. We don't know when on-campus classes will resume, how they'll be delivered, or how much anything will cost. We don't know what residence life will be like, if student/faculty research will resume, or if there will be football this fall. It's almost an impossible environment to build trust. That's a problem because building trust should be the central focus of all communications right now.

As information changes daily, students, parents, and internal audiences need a single source of truth. Schools that set up frequent communications that point back to a centralized location will be the schools that come out ahead.  Below are a few great examples of trust-building from around higher ed. 


In the least surprising news you'll hear today, social media and messaging apps have seen a 40+% increase in usage among those under the age of 35. Take a look at Dartmouth's Instagram when you get a chance. They are making great use of Stories (and pin the important ones as highlights) to disseminate news, resources, and other articles from their owned properties. 

Ohio State

Our recent national survey showed that 40% of decided high school seniors say they aren't getting enough information about how COVID-19 will affect their enrollment. Ohio State has done as fine a job as anyone in centralizing information from across campus into their Admitted Student Microsite. Their colleges and schools are contributing at a high level as well, building out their own subpages on this site with really solid video content. 

Cal Poly

When we asked college-bound high school seniors how they prefer to engage with colleges in light of COVID, 64% of high school said they wanted some form of virtual campus tour (see page 17 of the study— no other option ranked higher). Our friends at Cal Poly offered up a great example, sending their ambassadors around campus with their phones to capture and compile a 17-minute tour experience we love. 

Indiana University

According to a recent Kantar survey, web browsing has increased by 70% through the last week of March 2020. IU is taking advantage of this fact by dedicating the key real estate on their homepage to resources for current students, faculty and researchers, and staff. It's easy to consume and continuously updated.

Here's to the Heroes

If you haven't read Jason Simon's post from last week celebrating higher ed marketers, it's worth five minutes of your time. Even better, he's hosting an informal discussion this coming Wednesday, April 22nd @ 1pm EST highlighting some of the best examples from around the world of higher ed and a look to what's ahead for Marcomm professionals. If you're interested, you can signup here

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