The introduction of a completely new Marlboro College website in June is the final stage of a two-year process to research the college’s marketing needs, for both the undergraduate and graduate campuses, and redesign its admission materials and online presence. Since spring 2012, a marketing and communications team led by kor group has worked closely with the admissions office, marketing staff, and other community members to learn how to make Marlboro more visible and improve the college’s recruitment efforts.
“The school is really taking the time to look at itself and talk about things in a way that hasn’t happened before,” said Neal Kane, founder and president of Libretto, which focused on writing content for the new materials. “It’s more about how you bring things together in a way that feels consistent and unified.”
True to Marlboro form, bringing things together meant engaging the community, and kor accomplished this in presentations and breakout groups at several Town Meetings, starting in April 2012. The most comprehensive of these efforts involved a full week of “creative collection,” in which community members responded to prompts posted on the dining hall wall about why they chose Marlboro and what makes it unique.
Kor then designed materials based on this experience and returned with an exhibition that allowed the community members on campus to react and to vote on preferences. Those results had a direct impact on final designs for web and print, creating a truly representative impression of Marlboro. Many of the comments from the “creative collection,” eloquently scrawled and illustrated in colorful magic markers, were incorporated into the final versions of the undergraduate viewbook, which won two Circle of Excellence Gold Awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
“The process generated a more accurate picture of our student body and the desires that bring students to campus,” said politics professor Meg Mott, who was on the Admissions Committee when kor began working with Marlboro. “If anyone had any doubts that we are student-centered, those close-ups and hand-written comments should dispel them.”
The new website generated by the kor group, with guidance from Marlboro’s IT and marketing departments, combines ease of navigation with a more engaging and interactive web experience. Many of the details of life on campus are relegated to an internal site for current community members, leaving a more direct and inviting experience for prospective students such as the interactive Virtual Plan Room, where they can explore inspiring Plan summaries. The new site uses responsive design to fit within mobile devices and tablets, used by more and more students, and also allows a more seamless transition between undergraduate and graduate programs. You can find it at the same old web address.
This comprehensive suite of materials and new messaging stands to have an important and long-lasting impact on the college. But the most important thing, for all involved, is that it fairly represents the diverse thoughts and ideals of the people who make up the Marlboro community. “Kor group is creating products that speak on students’ behalf with their own words,” said Sean Pyles ’13. “This process has been available for all on campus to watch and join.”