62: Communicating the Value of “Mission” at Carroll College w/ Chato Hazelbaker

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Chato Hazelbaker, Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing at Carroll College, joined the podcast to discuss how institutions can do a better job communicating and effectively positioning their “mission.”

People Fall in love with colleges. You know, they don't fall into like with colleges and they don't make it necessarily a brain decision, they make a heart decision. So that mission statement and those mission examples have be in a language that resonates with them. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect eedu podcast network. I'm Ericleson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr Chadow, Hazelbaker, vice president of enrollment and marketing at Carol College. Chato, welcome to the show. Yeah, thank you very much. Really excited to talk with you today about how institutions can...

...do a better job communicating and effectively positioning against their mission. Before we dig into that Chadow, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Carol College and your rule there? Yeah, so the vice president of enrollment management marketing. You know, I run the team in both sort of institutional wildwide marketing, as well as the admissions and enrollment teams here at Carol College, where a smaller, semi selective Catholic institution, the oldest Catholic Institution in Montana, or a Diocesan College, which means we're a pretty locally connected but really a pretty wide regional draw for US Washington, Idaho or again in Montana. Those are the big states that we draw from and really the key here is it's all about, as it is for many schools, it's all about one on one attention and the fact that as an undergraduate, you're going to come here and you're going to have all the skills that you need to be successful across the variety of degrees and across the variety of jobs. Awesome. Let's start off this conversation today by talking about how we can communicate the...

...value of mission to prospective students. Yeah, I think the value of mission. I think there's a couple of things there. I think that one of the key things is that, you know, every college has a mission, but most of them are just pretty boring, and so what is marketing people out of times. We have to do we have to figure out how to put that into compelling language and that really help align with the audience that were seeking. So, you know, I mean one of the challenges we have, it's some of the colleges that I've been is that is written in a really institutional language and a lot of times it's really even written in the language that falls pretty flat. And we need to realize about our students and about the mission is the mission should really be about the heart. It really should be about the emotions around the school. People Fall in love with colleges. You know, they don't fall into like with colleges and they don't make it necessarily a brain decision. They make a heart decision. So that mission statement, in that mission, those mission examples have to be in a language that resonates with them. For religiously affiliated institutions, there are often internal discussions about...

...how externally religious we want to present ourselves to the market. In your opinion, is a religious identity? Are Religious Mission for an institution a helpful differentiator or a potential liability? No, I think that it has to. I don't know how you can have this job and and think of it as a liability, because really this is a differentiator. Right. So I have good friends that are read college. Read College philosophically couldn't be any different in some ways than the college that I'm math but they don't take that part of their mission, that read is a little bit of a funky institution, and say, well, that's a liability. We want to ractimate kids may be interested in religious thoughts. Right, right. So we have a distinctive here that you're going to choose read or you're going to choose Carol. You're probably not looking at too of those both side by side, and neither one of us are going to hide our identity, and I just think that that religious identity, you have to be upfront about it for two reasons. One is is you want to make sure that students are attracted, students are interested in attracted...

...to that know that that's what they're signed up for. The second thing is you certainly don't want to build the culture on your of US trying to hide part of your identity, because then you know, as you recruited four or five classes where you've downplayed a part of your identity, what you're going to discoverage. Your identity is changed around you and you can't even get back. So I think it is a differentiator and I think it's an important differentiator that you actually have to just make sure that you explain really well. But I think that hiding it, down playing it, you know, I think that's a path through a very milk post kind of message out in the market place about your college. Can you give us some examples about how we in high read, whether we come from a religious institution or not, can't can communicate our missional positioning more effectively? Yeah, I think that the bottom line is is that communicating mission is inherently emotional and it means thinking about strong anecdotes and stories, and I think this is when I deal with boards and I deal with leaderships, this is this is one of the biggest challenges I have. Is Is that people always want you to use numbers. You know, so I oh gave you an example. You know, ninety nine percent of our...

...students receive financial aid. Well, that number just is really confusing in the market place. I mean, are you saying that you're so expensive that most of your students can financial aid? Are you selling the fact that you know every kids going to get financial aid. What does that ninety nine percent actually mean? So well, cost may not be a may not be a mission factor, but if part of your mission is to be affordable, stories about how students actually affordage your college that's what's important. And actually that one can compelling story often makes a better case than all of the numbers and charts and graphs in the world. Yeah, I've seen some really effective infographics, but if you think about what an infographic is, is an infographic is really a visual way to tell a story, and mission is inherently a storytelling project. And I think that's one of the things that it's hard to get across two boards and leadership sometimes is that one or two really compelling stories about one student can actually be much, much more effective than charts full of graphs, because we identify with people. We identify with stories. We have a hard time...

...identifying with percentage. Really good stuff. Chat of for an institution with a strong mission like you had at Carroll College. Talk about how that strong mission impacts your broader strategic decision making, how it helps you determine what tactics to pursue. Well, one of the things that I've always loved is I've always loved the fact that starbucks has a strong brand. But one of the like brand different shaders for me it's bucks, is that it smells like coffee. Right, but I walk into a starbucks and it smells like coffee. They're not going to sell scented candles in starbucks. They would be a completely brand wrong sort of point of view way to go. And they're not going to try to hide the coffee smell. Right. I mean this is this is the core of the brand, is the actual UPO coffee. And so I think for institutions we need to think about what are the decisions that were making that either build or detract from brand. So at a previous institution we again we're really we were really focused on one on one attention and that was part of this sense of community, was part of our mission statement. Yeah,...

...but what we did is we decided over one summer that we were going to go to visit programs that were all really, really big visit program the rather than doing visit programs for small groups of students over several weekends during the summer, we were going to go to a couple of visit programs that had three or four hundred perspective students that each one of them. That's really brand wrong. What we were selling these students on was this really oneonone, close intimate experience, but their first major is it. The campus was this big, boisterous sort of party kind of atmosphere. That's just not who we were. It just wasn't brand right. So those students that came to us because they'd read about our brand or our mission wanted to come. They were sort of turned off because this wasn't what they expected and we were never going to do the kind of big, boisterous fun event at a major research university was going to be able to pull off. So the decisions that you make on a day to day basis a lot of times, I think the VP of enrollmentnder the VP of marketing really needs to be the voice in the room that asked...

...the question, is this decision that we're making positively or negatively affect the brand? Now there's realities of budget and other things and sometimes you just have to make those decisions, but somebody needs to be in the room asking the question. Is this particular decision adding this program shutting down this program doing the event, doing this event this way, having this speaker on campus? Are those things enhancing or moving our brand forward? And how does that happen or is it actually working against it's a really good example and also slightly convicting as well. Really good stuff, jettle. Finally, any next steps advice for institutions looking to effectively communicate their mission? I think you know. The bottom line is is that I think that every admissions officer, every person in the marketing office, really needs to be able to have two things. One is they really need to be able to stay with mission. is they really need to be able to state it in their own words and in a way that's really authentic to them. And then the next thing is is, you know, does every member and your staff or every member in your area of influence,...

...do they have one good story about the mission when they think about the mission? Is there one example, one student, one professor project? You know, I have one right now about you know, here I am at a Catholic institution and one of the best stories I have about our mission is a research project that one of our chemistry faculty did one on one with a group of undergraduates learning about how copper leaches from a Moscow Mule Cup into the drink. It is totally mission centric when I tell that full story. So that's really my action point. Is My action point is, you know, how do you state the mission and can everybody in your fear state the mission? And then do you have one good story that, if you had to tell, what is the mission really mean? You that you actually could tell that compelling story and that's that's, I think, the place that I would start and really trying to get mission focused are. You can't set that one up and not paid off for us. You got to give us a little bit of into of how that story ends. This story is awesome. At the headline is drink fast because essentially the rate at which the Moscow Mule Cup,...

...the Copper Cup, Leeches into the drink exceeds EPA limits for the amount of copper that you're supposed to consume. So the folks in the Bar instry out there won't love me telling them that, but the bottom line is is that it actually takes several days for that leaching. So no one needs to be concerned that long drink that particular drink. But you know, it's a great example, on campus of you know, here's a professor that took it that he looked and he found something that was going to be interesting in the community, something that was going to be interesting to his student and he worked side by side, hands on to do this with them and sure enough, they're going to get a publication out of it. You know, it's multidisciplinary, it's just you know, and that's the kind of story that I think students will really resonate with really good stuff. Chadow, thanks so much for your time to day. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you they have any follow up questions? Yeah, if people have follow up questions, you know I'm certainly happy to have them. Just send me an email. It's pretty easy. It's chadow Dot Hazel Baker at outlookcom, just the JATO...

DOT Hazelbaker, Ajazl be akae are at outlookcom and I'm a happy to engage and I'm always happy to take ideas from other folks. So if you send me a note just then know that I will be asking you for advice. As bluell deal awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us to a Chatou all right. Thank you, attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Download it today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You've been listening to enrollment...

...growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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