Well-versed in the most sophisticated research tools, SimpsonScarborough customizes a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore your unique institutional challenges. On the qualitative side, we use tools such as online and in-person focus groups, in-depth interviews (IDIs), and online bulletin boards to gauge perceptions and attitudes, understand emotional drivers, and find common uses of language.
Our emphasis on quantitative analysis makes us unique among firms that specialize in brand strategy development for higher education. We use advanced research techniques such as multivariate analysis, segmentation analysis and discrete-choice modeling (DCM) exercises that mimic real-life “buying” scenarios. Surveys are conducted using telephone (CATI) and online data collection methods as appropriate.
Drawing on our experience working with more than 1,000 colleges and universities, we conduct assessments of an institution’s operational and marketing activities and provide recommendations for aligning them with strategic goals. We offer four types of assessments:
The real excitement begins when we combine all the information generated by the research and assessments and transform it into detailed strategic recommendations that have the ability to profoundly affect an institution’s marketing and operational strategies. Typical projects cover all areas of the institution, including marketing and communications, pricing, program development, alumni engagement, fund raising, image and identity, and recruitment and admissions. We develop positioning statements that determine the most distinctive attribute, program, or personality trait that truly differentiates an institution from its competitors and motivates prospective students to enroll, alumni to donate, and community leaders to support an institution. We also create BrandPrints™ that document the brand strategy and provide the positioning platform that guide an institution’s marketing activities and creative communications materials.
"Words cannot express how often I am reminded of the importance of our branding effort, which began with research conducted by SimpsonScarborough."
Jack Ohle, President
Gustavus Adolphus College
"The SimpsonScarborough research findings have been integrated on a number of fronts. Almost immediately, our marketing and admissions offices incorporated the findings into messaging across all media, and the research is being used to upgrade our website. We also used the findings to construct new messages, which we then tested against our current messaging. It was no surprise that those based on the SimpsonScarborough research resonated much higher with prospective students and their parents than the ones we had traditionally used. Just this first set of changes combined with our ongoing marketing and admissions efforts has resulted in a 22% increase in applications for our traditional students. We couldn’t be more pleased!"
Meghan Corbin, Director of Marketing & Public Relations