Over the weekend, I caught a commercial for Walden University, one of the many online education institutions that’s popped over the past decade. But unlike the other universities that boast the benefits attending classes online and accelerated degree programs, Walden focuses on cultivating the social change leaders of tomorrow.
Their new positioning, “A higher degree. A higher purpose.” is designed to attract those who want to make a difference in the world, and the 60-second spot focuses on the traits of those whom embody this mindset and the changes students can make using their Walden degree.
The multimedia campaign includes print and online advertising, and they will also be rolling out a video contest where students and alumni can submit short videos describing how Walden has helped them to make positive changes in their careers, their lives, or the lives of others.
I think this campaign works well because, while the overarching goal is ultimately to enroll more students, the execution isn’t focused on pushing viewers toward admissions. Rather, it highlights the emotional impact of being able to fulfill your dreams, and the quality of life of others, by obtaining a Walden University degree.
And rather than portraying the cookie cutter visuals of students in classrooms raising their hands or high powered business execs, Walden shows an urban community being rebuilt, hospital innovation, and an alternative energy project underway.
By highlighting what’s possible, they leave viewers inspired to action, which will hopefully lead to taking the next step of enrolling in one of Walden’s higher degree programs, ranging from Master’s of Public Health to M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. The beauty is that it’s not about the Walden brand, but the possibilities of adopting the brand in building a better tomorrow.
“Why do working professionals committed to making a difference in the world choose Walden University? They enroll here because they want to advance their careers while also effecting positive social change in their neighborhoods, in their workplaces and industries, and in the lives of others,” said Jonathan Kaplan, president of Walden University. “Our campaign resonates with those who seek a higher education that also delivers a higher purpose.”
So while this approach may not appeal to the masses, or those seeking quick degrees through online education programs, it will reach the social entrepreneurs, change agents and do-gooders fueled by a philanthropic spirit and a passion for the greater good. Walden is investing in those individuals and the long-term difference that can be made by serving as a vessel of change for students vs. a pedantic purveyor of a dying consumer capitalist agenda.
As the spot reinforces, “It’s not about a corner office, it’s about a greater good.” And that’s a proposition with no walls and a much better view.