Maricopa Community Colleges – Case Study

Opportunity: The Maricopa County Community College District comprises 10 colleges, two skill centers and numerous education centers dedicated to educational excellence to meet the needs of businesses and the residents of Maricopa County. Each college is individually accredited, yet part of a larger system, MCCCD.

MCCCD ranks as the nation’s largest system of its kind and as the largest single provider of higher education in Arizona. The district educates and trains more than 260,000 students year-round.

Maricopa County Community College District’s chief executive officer is the chancellor; a president heads each of the colleges. In the past, the district’s marketing team was unable to create cohesion for district-wide marketing and branding initiatives as each college’s marketing director or president felt their individual needs were compromised by the overarching vision.

Strategy: As a former district employee and lead of media and public relations for the largest of the community colleges, Heather Austin, director of The Ferraro Group’s Phoenix office was the lead on the winning rebranding RFP and served as account manager for rebranding efforts embraced by the colleges.

Through verbal cue analysis, social media listening, a discovery day of in-depth interviews and numerous collaborative meetings, each college decided their needs were understood and represented. As a former employee, Austin gained immediate rapport with each director and alleviated concerns that previous rebranding efforts had confronted.

Results: Austin led Maricopa County Community College District’s first-ever successful collaborative branding effort to build and sustain student awareness and enrollment. Messaging and tools that strategically aligned – yet had the flexibility to accommodate individual campuses concerns – were implemented. Tremendous resources and revenue were saved by creating and utilizing templates for each college, rather than spending dollars on separate design and messaging platforms.

Website, social media and traditional media engagement increased as did enrollment numbers for targeted audiences at each college. The initial campaign has since been used a model and replicated for future enrollment growth and collaboration between the diverse colleges of the Maricopa County Community College District.