Connect Year, located in Portland, Ore., will be a year-long post-high-school program that gives students exposure and experience within a variety of professions before they make a high-stakes choice about their college major. Its founder noticed a trend in the nation’s high school grads who went straight to college — many ended up confused freshmen who had trouble choosing a major and knowing what real-world career options were in that field. That’s when he came up with Connect Year, an innovative concept akin to the European “gap year” tradition, but without losing any ground.
Connect Year approached us to help attract and enroll students for their incoming class, and the challenges were huge — after all, the tradition of going straight from high school to college is deeply ingrained in American society. We needed to make an extremely compelling case to parents and students alike that there was a huge benefit in taking a different path and gaining real-world experience before beginning your college education.
Taking students, parents and high school guidance counselors into consideration, we established brand, marketing, and communication strategies to best make the case for the program. The brand we created for Connect Year was based on simple, powerful graphic and typographic treatments that gave Connect Year an honest, confident and passionate feel. We then held a photo shoot and applied the new photos, look and communication strategy to the website, admission booklets, and other print collateral.
As you can imagine, a new, innovative program like this is extremely difficult to launch, so Connect Year has delayed their launch while they focus on a variety of efforts to better ensure the long-term success of the program.