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Seeing the Future of “Future BUILT”… Feature Story

April 30, 2019

The future is here. That is, the future of “Future BUILT,” a region-wide marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness about the Orange County Community Colleges’ career education offerings.

Initiated in 2018 as a joint effort between the nine regional Orange County community colleges, “Future BUILT” has since become synonymous with advanced, industry-focused career education and the critical role these opportunities play in addressing California’s future workforce needs.

“The Future Built campaign has been tremendously important in helping us promote the key role that our Orange County community colleges play in not only providing pertinent career education opportunities, but more importantly their key role in improving the lives of students and their families,” says Gustavo Chamorro, Orange County Director, LA/OC Regional Consortium.

Orange County students and residents are not the only ones taking notice. On March 25, 2019, Orange County’s Saddleback College received a prestigious Silver Paragon award from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR) in the “Radio Ad-Series” category for a set of Pandora radio advertisements that were part of the larger “Future BUILT” campaign.

Drawing nearly 1,939 entries from 262 colleges across the United States and Canada this year, the Paragons are the only national competition of their kind that recognize exceptional achievement in design and communication at community and technical colleges.

Future BUILT started with a philosophy.

Beginning with the communications preferences of real, Orange County students, and continuing with in-depth research with all relevant stakeholder groups, the South Orange County Community College District developed custom branding and messaging that captured the cutting-edge nature of career education programs, as well as the practical training they provide.

The broader campaign leveraged low-cost, high-traffic platforms, including digital, YouTube, social media and streaming radio, to achieve significant impact with a limited media buying budget. The effort also included a custom career education website (futurebuilt.org) and a regional career education viewbook aimed at high school counselors and influencers.

“The ‘Future BUILT’ campaign message is simple and clear: by attending an Orange County community college, students are building better futures for themselves and their families,” says Cheryl Broom, President of Interact Communications, the marketing agency behind the “Future BUILT” campaign. “As our data makes clear, this message is resonating – we are seeing more interest in Orange County’s community colleges and increased enrollments in career education programs.”

The data Broom references is significant. Take, for example, the results seen by the North Orange County Community College District, which includes Cypress College, Fullerton College, and North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE). Before their main campaign push even began, career education landing page traffic started to increase, as did in-person visits and phone inquiries.

In the short time since launch, the multi-platform effort has driven hundreds of thousands of impressions, yielding thousands of website visits and a marked increase in general interest and awareness.

“We are already getting tons of requests from the new website for more information about our programs,” said NOCCCD Director Raine Hambly, at the outset of the campaign. “This is definitely very exciting for us!”

The campaign’s overall numbers were equally impressive. The YouTube portion of the campaign recorded a completed view rate of 61.7 percent, smashing the industry standard of 15 percent and generating 1,080,000 impressions, with more than 667,000 completed views.

As the campaign enters its second year, the Orange County Community Colleges will continue to work with Interact to build on “Future BUILT’s” success in order to improve its ability to reach students and provide employers with the highly-skilled workforce it will need to continue prospering well into the future.