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The Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) has undergone significant evolution since its founding in 1983. Starting as the South Winnipeg Technical Vocational Centre, the school—which provides students with industry-driven education and work skills—underwent several changes of name and mandate over the decades as it grew.
By 2019, under the name MITT, the school was providing education to secondary and post-secondary students as well as to international, English language, post-graduate and adult education students. The school’s evolving history and multiple audience groups made raising awareness and telling a clear, consistent brand story a challenge. MITT leadership recognized that the lack of a straightforward, differentiated brand was making it difficult for the school to engage audiences and distinguish itself from other schools. They brought Metric on board to help them understand their target audience and current perceptions of their school, define their brand, raise MITT’s profile and ultimately drive conversions of qualified applicants.
We began this project by gathering as much information as possible about MITT, its audiences and stakeholders, existing perceptions and desired outcomes. This included interviewing all members of MITT’s Executive Council as well as external stakeholders, a survey of all faculty and staff, roundtables with select staff groups, an omnibus survey and a survey of the current student body. This primary research was complemented by in-depth market research. The information we gathered enabled us to develop profiles for MITT’s key audience groups, including the resources they use and how they make decisions regarding post-secondary education. By measuring how MITT was perceived and studying its position in-market, we could clearly define its unique strengths and establish benchmarks against which future brand and marketing efforts could be measured.
With audiences profiled and benchmarks set, our next step was to define the MITT brand. The brand story of “Bridging the Gap” emphasized the Institute’s strengths in a clear, compelling and differentiated manner. It gave meaning to the school’s existing brand, addressed the needs of all audiences and highlighted the common thread that ran throughout MITT’s many divisions and mandates. At every stage, we worked closely and collaboratively with the MITT marketing team, equipping them with tools to facilitate board and stakeholder buy-in and data to back up their strategic and creative decisions.
With the brand and marketing foundations in place, we then rolled up our sleeves and delved into the work of developing MITT’s first marketing campaign with the newly defined brand. The school’s leadership and marketing team identified post-secondary students in the domestic market as the top priority audience for the immediate future, so our campaign creative as well as marketing tactics were selected to resonate specifically with that audience. The concept of Start Here to Get There communicates the value proposition and differentiator that MITT offers in equipping students with the knowledge and work skills they need to step into a career they love and hit the ground running.
By generating stakeholder participation and feedback at all stages of brand definition and campaign development, we ensured all voices felt heard and respected. As a result, when we presented the final brand and campaign to MITT leaders, staff and stakeholders (including the key data that drove our decisions), both projects were overwhelmingly well-received. As a result of the campaign, MITT experienced record market exposure and its most successful open house to-date, with record attendance by qualified candidates. Campaign outcomes far exceeded our goals. Over 65,500 new users visited the website, resulting in more than 5,400 conversions including nearly 1,400 emails, nearly 200 open house registrations and nearly 300 post-secondary student registrations.
Establishing goals, metrics and analytic frameworks beforehand gave us a clear understanding of which ad creative, headlines, placements and targeting groups were most (and least) effective, and identified clear trends in audience preferences and behaviour. By developing methods to track traffic and conversions driven by traditional media such as billboards, transit ads and radio, we were able to measure both the volume and value of traffic generated by these placements. Altogether, this enables us and MITT to optimize efficiency and effectiveness in future campaigns.