Current Project

Chicago College of Performing Art

Rebranding, Marketing Campaign


College of Performing Arts

Chicago College of Performing Arts has a widely-known reputation as one of the best performing arts schools in the United States. However, enrollment and show attendance were on the decline. In order to revitalize the program, I redesigned the look and feel from the ground up, focused on students, and initiated a fully integrated marketing communication plan. The results were full-enrollment, multiple sold-out shows, and CCPA was back on track to become the number one performing arts college in Chicago again.

Client Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA)
Platform Marketing Campaign, Performing Arts Show Collaterals, Photography, Print, Direct Mail, Advertising
The Challenges CCPA had been facing a decline in enrollment and show attendance for a while. So they approached us to help them in their marketing effort and revitalize the program's image.
Findings After talking to students, the obvious finding was that the design of the program's marketing was outdated. But we didn't stop there. After additional research and persona analysis, we found that students wanted to see other students and faculty perform — not just guest performers. This may sound obvious, but it was an eye-opening moment. The school thought that by using big name performers, people would be more likely to attend. This might be true in many cases, but not here.
Show Solutions With these findings, the program changed their annual concert, Vivid. Instead of high-profile guest performers, the concert featured current students and a few jam sessions with faculty. The design for the concert was refreshed by using a more elegant layout and typography. It was supported with a full marketing push including email blast, direct mail, and online and offline ads. The registration process was also moved to the EventBrite platform for easy checkout, reduced manpower, and a better overall user experience.
Show Results From an average attendance of 50%, attendance for the new Vivid concert rose to 90% that year and sold out every year after. Additionally, we gained valuable demographic insight from EventBrite, social media, and Google Analytics that could be used to improve our ongoing marketing.
Revised Look The new design approach was based on the students and their performances. A combination of angled image frames and white space showed the movement of the artists while keeping an elegant look. We hired photographers and videographers to record the shows and featured those images as the main focal point. This design was used consistently throughout the campaign to drive the CCPA brand.
The Impact We stopped the declining enrollment trend. In fact, applicant numbers shot up significantly, with tons more buzz around programs and shows. Currently, CCPA has an acceptance rate of 24%.
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