Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Powered by Orange: A Social Marketing Case Study

If you live anywhere near Oregon, you'd have to be living in a cone of silence to not be familiar with "Powered by Orange."

Powered by Orange is the social marketing juggernaut that's boosting the image and awareness of Oregon State University far and wide. The apparent success of the campaign was summed up recently in a piece by Kaukab Jhumra Smith, "'It's OK to Be Imperfect': One School's Quest for Social-marketing Success."

As OSU's VP for University Advancement Luanne Lawrence notes in the article, not everything goes as planned when it comes to social marketing. However, most of the experiments the university is trying seem to be paying off in terms of engaging students, staff, and most important, alumni and others seeking a connection to OSU.

In addition to soaring traffic on OSU's website, the article notes an increase in first-time donations by alums and a wave of new enrollment. As Jhumra Smith points out, here's what OSU is doing:
  • Recruiting bloggers from around campus to be opinion leaders.
  • Training staff, students and faculty to use social media platforms to talk about the work and campus life.
  • Emphasizing relationships through meetups, contests and other events.
  • Soliciting videos and other submissions to build participation.
  • Creating an online directory and making available marketing materials to businesses and others who want to join in the campaign.

“It’s really kind of fun to make mistakes in social media because you can learn and recover very quickly,” Lawrence said in the article. “Fifteen- to 25-year-olds are rebuilding every aspect of the industry, and I’m listening to them.”

Michael Stoner examined Powered by Orange a year ago, calling the campaign "the most comprehensive university social marketing campaign that we’ve seen to date."

Believe it.



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