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A career — and life — with purpose: it’s the millennial dream.

The University of Holy Cross in New Orleans was delivering just that for its grads. Yet it remained misunderstood in the area as “just a nursing school” or “the little college across the river.”

The “Do Good. Do Well.” brand emphasizes students as people with a purpose, and it spotlights personal success stories. Communications tools show, step-by-step, just how students can fit UHC into their already busy lives and map out successful career paths.

Univercity of Holy Cross


Univercity of Holy Cross



  • Broaden the reach for a university that recently changed its name — and wasn’t well-known outside a certain section of New Orleans.
  • Capitalize on the reputation of the well-known nursing program and extend it across the entire university.
  • Become a first-choice school by connecting with more best-fit students.
  • Help working students, non-trads and first-gens see UHC’s private-college experience as achievable with less debt than any private college in the region.


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Applications jumped more than 70 percent in year one.

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Enrollment jump

UHC bucked trends during COVID-19 and marked its first fall-over-fall enrollment increase — up 3.4% — since 2017.

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UHC’s admissions viewbook, microsite, digital and print ads, and college brochures won top awards from Educational Advertising Awards and UCDA.

Univercity of Holy Cross


Univercity of Holy Cross


Univercity of Holy Cross


Univercity of Holy Cross


Univercity of Holy Cross


UHC’s typical students are most interested in being better people, are motivated to care for others and are pursuing careers in the helping professions.

The helping professions don’t get as much publicity in the world but can be your academic niche if you’re good at them. The trick is to elevate being good at other things beyond your best-known program, and let the halo rub off on those other areas.

Nursing and counseling are UHC’s best-known programs. But other health professions, business and education are on the rise. The new brand concept embraces the idea of “doing good” or using talents to help others — instead of shying away from it as some schools might in favor of higher-paying or flashier degrees. The concept also pairs “doing good” with the idea of “doing well” or launching a meaningful career, which is important to UHC’s student population that includes many first-generation and adult students.

We promoted a broader range of programs by showing good people doing great things across majors and mapping steps to get students from A to B.

Profile stories feature students in “a day in the life,” depicting them in internships, jobs, class and on the go. These timestamps show prospects how UHC’s students are able to juggle work, school and family — and how they could too. Profiles also map out students’ success stories in clear, achievable steps — showing progressions to degrees with a mix of courses, club activities, conferences and networking events, licensure steps and more.

Adjusting marketing to the pandemic

While the national average for freshmen enrollment was down 13% amid COVID-19, UHC marked its first fall-over-fall enrollment increase since 2017 (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center).

What did UHC do differently to drive up enrollment 3.4%?

UHC leadership responded to market demand with new online degree programs. And when its most effective marketing tool — in-person visits — was no longer possible, UHC recalibrated and built tools specific for the social distancing era.

An online marketing campaign — emails and digital ads pushing prospects to new program web pages and UHC’s most popular programs highlighting careers and online options — drove up interest and applications.

The key to its virtual visit success was making UHC accessible in the most ways possible. Prospects could interact with UHC through live events, Zoom discussions with current students, a mini tour and one-on-one calls with admissions.


  • Brand audit and strategic recommendations.
  • Brand platform.
  • Brand vision.
  • Flagship content including profiles and photo shoot.
  • Admissions campaign: TV ad, viewbook, program brochures, admit pack and other items.
  • Admissions microsite.
  • Environmental signage: campus banners, billboards and bus shelters.
Univercity of Holy Cross

Tips for your team

  1. Run with the big dogs. If you want your school to compete with aspirational institutions, you need to think aspirationally. Go bold with your brand.
  2. Show — don’t just tell — how your students can succeed. If work-life balance is a concern, show exactly what a day in the life looks like for a typical student. Make it realistic and achievable.
  3. Don’t be afraid to show emotion. If your campus community oozes warmth and personal attention, show students joking around with their professors. Include a student’s support network — even her mom! — in a photo shoot.

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