CalArts Extended Studies
Back in early 2021, schools began to close as they scrambled to create remote learning systems admidst the pandemic. We all know how that went: the schools that already had a platform in place benefited; others suffered. As remote learning became the new normal, it suddenly no longer mattered where you lived in the world. Our prospective audience base had just exploded.

In light of the changing audience demographics, I worked with the Extended Studies department at CalArts to spearhead a digital campaign targeted at artistic hotspots all over the world. Because they already had a robust online offering, we quickly pivoted to how best to get the message out there. This was a delicate balance, one that acknowledged this historic moment, celebrated the quirky, artistic pedagogy of CalArts and these unusual courses, yet reassured our audience that we were adept in a time of hit-or-miss online learning.

Usually, our attention was spent on recruitment campaigns for specific programs. But this strange time created space to double down on an opportunity to create warmer leads. We began investing in a broader brand awareness campaign throughout the year through Google search and display advertising, search engine optimization, podcast advertising, and paid Social Media. When things began to return to normal, we supported arthouse theaters in the area and secured incredible rates on OOH advertising.

Once the bigger brand umbrella campaign was up and running, we began to fold in individual initiatives throughout the year that built on the look and feel. We used this visual language across our digital network, printed postcards, on-campus posters, and social media.

In doing a competitive analysis, I found new channels of social media were a goldmine our competitors had yet to tap into. We started keeping multi-channel social media calendars, and mobilizing a team of student ambassadors to help us generate the content we were seeking through a series of timed “takeovers” on Instagram. As a result, we saw a 50% increase in followers in one year.

We also ran a partnership with Youtuber and CalArts alumnx Meppity, which introduced our programs to her 161,000 subscribers. Tik Tok is everywhere now, but back in 2021 few colleges had a presence on the platform. We launched on Tik Tok and quickly amassed almost half a million impressions, and employed organic tagging that continue to reel in new followers every day.

  • Over 2.4M impressions.
  • Over 1,000 new subscribers + automated onboarding.
  • 50% increase in Instagram following.
  • New social channels established.

“Working with Stephanie Chan to promote Extended Studies at CalArts has been a real pleasure and I couldn't be happier with the results. We've been working with her for a few years, and with each campaign we end up with a fresh and exciting new look that is in keeping with our global reputation for being creative innovators. She's a phenomenal talent and a delight to work with."

-Hilary Darling
California Institute of the Arts, Director of Summer Institute & Extended Studies Project Manager