5 Ways to Use Video for Colleges and Universities

At Tribe, we don’t begin with the video; we begin with the problem and what communication strategies will solve that problem.

We start from a strategic point of view, understanding that your institution has a voice and a plan. Together, we need to choose the right tone that will both resonate with your target audience and address a very specific problem.

The following list collects the “greatest hits” from from our whitepaper “12 Ways to Use Video for Higher Education” which goes deeper. Here are five ways to use video in a college or university setting:

When a new president comes to a college or university, a video is the fastest and most effective way to make an introduction—and a connection—to staff, students, and alumni both near and far. These constituents need to understand any new vision as quickly as possible. And they want to put a face to the vision – to personalize the president. A video makes that happen.

Video: Franklin & Marshall Introduces New President

We created this film to introduce Franklin & Marshall’s president Dan Porterfield. The audience hears his philosophy, sees his passion, and discovers a part of his unique approach. They don’t just read bullet points; they see Porterfield engage with students and faculty and get an inside look into his strategic vision. 

Admissions is perhaps the area most ripe for video content, and we focus our efforts in three areas: general admissions, targeted admissions, and long-form content.

General admissions videos may be emailed and posted online or on social media platforms. Targeted content is specific. Some videos play in the admissions office, some speak to students in a specific major, and others address specific academic or athletic areas. Longer videos can play in the admissions office while students wait for an interview or the campus tour.

With admissions, we want our clients to reach prospects and their parents at multiple waypoints to maximize the college’s visibility.

Franklin & Marshall “Yield”
Franklin & Marshall “Admissions”
Franklin & Marshall “A Closer Look”

We produced many videos for Franklin & Marshall. Our general admissions video starts with a close-up of a new student opening his acceptance letter and transitions to upbeat and sometimes humorous student interviews that give prospects an authentic and personal look at the F&M experience.

When you’re trying to inspire financial contributions, a well-made video can communicate your goals, broadcast a call-to-action, and make a compelling case for your need. Plus, you can bring the present-day campus and students to the alumni.

Video: Washington & Lee “Echoes of Our Past”

Our video for Washington and Lee University, “Echoes of Past, Voices of Future,” illustrates the unique history and character of the rural Virginia campus and the college’s proud history in the context of our nation. We used emotional triggers like a violinist playing the familiar “Shenandoah” tune while a lone figure walks the university’s iconic Colonnade, and students share inspiring quotes from distinguished alumni to help the University connect with potential donors and energize them to support a half-billion dollar capital campaign.

Videos that delve into a college’s history showcase the true impact each college has had on its students, the community, our nation, and the world. These films highlight important connections and encourage people to give back or join in the ongoing efforts to advance the institution.

Video: Hamilton College Celebrated 200 Years

In 2012, we helped Hamilton College commemorate its bicentennial with a video created to launch a festive week for thousands of alumni, families, students, and community members. In the video, students read letters from graduates who tell of their Hamilton days and relate the important milestones that have built Hamilton’s legacy. Beautiful flyover and time-lapse images illustrate this historic and inspirational college in action. 

In order to more deeply connect with their “tribes,” our clients often recognize their finest achievements and milestone events through ceremonies that help them say “thank you” or “let’s celebrate.”

Video: Reed College Thank You

This video for Reed College thanks the 12,000 donors who participated in the important centennial campaign by transporting them back to campus and into the lives of the students whose Reed experience has been transformed because of the campaign. And the way the video is structured also allows it to serve as an important recruiting tool.

These are only five of several more methods of using video effectively to communication with alumni, students or staff.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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