University College at Washington University in St. Louis

A Clear & Guided Path

Using branding design and content strategy for differentiation


University College, the evening division of the heart of Washington University, offers adults in the St. Louis area opportunities for world-class learning. They were ready to use branding design to connect with their unique audience.


As a division of Arts & Sciences, University College connects Washington University to the businesses, organizations and people of St. Louis in a unique and valuable way. While we first began working with University College on its website, it soon became clear that there was a need for an overall marketing strategy, connecting the University brand to University College's unique audiences and role. Our branding design process included developing buyer personas, based on the different segments UCollege serves.


Positioning University College as the local leader in continuing education, we developed an overall communications strategy on guiding adult learners toward their personal goals: career advancement, degree completion or skill building. To help prospective students overcome the intimidation of attending a top-ranked liberal arts university, we enlisted the help of actual students, telling real success stories. We used our buyer personas to guide us toward the students whose backgrounds and experiences most closely matched UCollege's target audiences.

My WashU

Adult learners return to higher education for a variety of reasons, and have many barriers to overcome when they decide to continue their educational journeys. We began by developing detailed buyer personas, defining the backgrounds, motivations and concerns that target audience segments would have. Using those personas, we recruited current students and graduates to feature in a series of testimonial videos, each focused on one of University College’s strategic communication goals. The videos are used on the website and in social media, while still photos and quotes from featured students are woven through the print Inquiry Packet that prospective students receive.

A Different View

University College students don’t see Washington University’s beautiful campus in the same way as most undergrads do. They attend at night when skies are deeper and windows glow with light. To create that same feeling in their website and print materials we used a combination of evening shots of familiar locations and daytime images of campus.

Keeping it Simple

While returning to higher education can seem like a complex process, University College advisors make it simple. The goal of messaging on both the website and in print materials is to help prospective students understand that they are not alone and that they can accomplish their degree-completion goals with the support and help of the University College staff.


Let's Make Magic

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