Peirce College


The Story

Non-traditional colleges often require a non-traditional solution. Peirce College is one of the oldest colleges in a market that is saturated by a large number of colleges and universities—many of which are considered world-class. Our challenge was to first understand that we weren’t talking to traditional students, we were talking to adult learners who look at the world and their prospects quite differently than high-school age students. 20nine crafted a series of immersion sessions with a wide range of audiences, including recent graduates, current students, professors, administrators, alumni and students who considered Peirce but chose to go otherwise. Our highly interactive sessions yielded a treasure trove of insights we were able to translate into potential brand strategies. While developing strategies were the primary challenge, getting the college board, professors and administrators to adopt and embrace the new approach was an equally formidable challenge. The disruption: attract prospective students by appealing their sense of personal mission and purpose. Adult learners have a different agenda and need to be spoken to in a completely different way. For example, their motivations for getting a degree are vastly different and are often culturally based. Many Peirce students—especially African American and Hispanic students—consider family to be a key driver of their decision. Many adult learners are inspired by family members and colleagues, and want to be successful beyond just their own self interests. Our “Powered By Peirce” strategic platform struck the perfect balance between personal empowerment and pride in achievement. The effectiveness of the new strategic platform was dramatic and played out across all touchpoints both internally and externally. Traffic to the website spiked significantly following launch and online banner ads produced 3X the number of inquiries from the previous year and drove numbers to explore specific programs. The internal Peirce College community adopted the brand strategy and went as far as having the core values, vision and mission we created emblazoned in their lobby for all the world to see. In other words, Peirce lives its brand each and every day. Enrollment in the brand direction extends from the President all the way through professors, administrators, alumni as well as the Peirce community throughout Philadelphia.