Promoting your MBA Rankings: Lessons from the Red Carpet
There’s plenty of speculation leading up to the Academy Awards. Will the first silent film in 85 years win Best Picture? Will the most photographed actor in the world take home the most recognized trophy in the world? Will the most nominated actress win her first Academy Award since 1982?
All this anticipation and nail-biting is just like a scene from the higher education equivalent of awards season. Each time a media ranking is published MBA admissions officers take a deep breath and click on that “virtual envelope” in their inbox.
Here are some tips on promoting your media rankings, no matter what the result, that come straight from the red carpet in Hollywood.
1. You won Best Foreign Film!!!
You don’t have to win Best Picture to promote excellence. Cinematography and original screenplay also play an important role in creating a star. Be sure to analyze all of your MBA rankings results and define the categories in which you excelled. Maybe you have a leading role in your percentage of female or international students. Consider your position on the national or global stage from a regional perspective as well. Create your own headlines.
2. Display your Million Dollar Baby
Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly keeps her trophy in storage. Jack Nicholson is rumored to use one of his three Oscars as a hat stand. Don’t hide your rankings results. Channel Morgan Freeman who proudly displays his statue in a trophy cabinet. Showcase your results in prominent places throughout your business school. Create colorful and eye catching banners that display all of the years of your rankings results in your lobby. Display the results at information sessions, on your website, in advertisements, brochures, and your email signature – anywhere prospective MBA students will see it.
3. Create a Hollywood Walk of Fame
Notice how movies always emphasize Oscar winning actors in their trailers no matter how long ago they received the award. Be sure to promote all of your rankings results over the years in your communications including your website, brochures, and information sessions. Consider building a “wall of fame” that displays all the years of MBA rankings results in a high traffic area. Collectively, it sends a powerful message about the reputation of the brand to MBA prospects and visitors who will spread the word.
4. “You like me, you really like me!”
Acceptance speeches are one of the highlights of awards shows and there have been some truly memorable ones over the years. Who can forget Sally Field’s heartfelt speech for her award-winning performance in Places in the Heart? Think about your message as you step on the virtual stage to accept your award. Create a memorable marketing collateral announcing your MBA ranking result to generate applications to your programs. Include congratulatory quotes from the CEOs of well-known companies in your business community. Also, some of the most meaningful speeches are from actors who pay tribute to veteran nominees in their category. In your rankings communications, be sure to mention elite business schools also included in the ranking to highlight the prestigious company that your MBA program keeps.
5. What do Julia Child, Karen Blixen, and Miranda Priestly have in common?
Although Meryl Streep has only taken home the Oscar twice, she has been nominated for Best Actress 17 times. How do you increase your chances for a "nomination" in future MBA rankings or boost your rankings position? Like the Academy Awards, media rankings will be back next year. Establish a media rankings strategy committee to evaluate all the rankings your business school is participating in and identify the best ones to pursue. Think about a mid-term or exit survey of your students to drive continuous improvement. Develop strategies to encourage student and alumni participation in surveys to meet the response threshold for MBA rankings eligibility.
Barbara Coward, author of this article, is a marketing communications consultant at Percept Research. Barbara welcomes your questions and comments