Our Services

The nuances of working with faculty and boards, the preferences of students and parents, relationships with guidance counselors, staff, and alumni: we understand these relationships because we’ve been studying them for years.

In higher ed, creative ideas need to be inspirational and motivational — but also grounded in research and vetted by stakeholders. That’s why we take an integrated approach: all of our services are connected, and we bring what we learn from each area of our work to every question, every conversation, and every project.

Our Clients

“SimpsonScarborough has been an incredible strategic partner in our brand development efforts, helping to define our challenge, gain insight from all of our key stakeholders, and develop a compelling brand position. I look forward to working with them to bring the brand to life, measure our impact, and further optimize our future efforts.”

Matt Mindrum
Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Butler University

Market Research

Custom research that answers your most pressing questions.

View More

Whether you have burning questions or need help finding the right ones to ask, we believe in starting with empirical knowledge.

We design customized research methodologies to gauge perceptions and attitudes of the people who matter most to your institution: prospective students, alumni, donors, influencers, faculty, staff, or students. We can explore alumni engagement, drivers and motivators for giving, awareness and brand, and even demand for new academic programs.

For each project, we customize a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore your unique institutional challenges:

  • For a solid qualitative foundation for understanding your school, we use tools like online and in-person focus groups, in-depth interviews, and online bulletin boards to gauge perceptions and attitudes, understand emotional drivers, and find common uses of language.
  • To get the full picture, we also use powerful quantitative tools like multivariate analysis, segmentation analysis, and discrete-choice modeling exercises that mimic real-life “buying” scenarios. Our surveys use telephone (landline and mobile) and/or online data collection methods.

Once we’ve gathered the data, we group, analyze, and interpret the findings to discover new insights about our clients’ operations and brands.

Strategy Development

Grounded, measurable marketing and branding plans that strengthen your institution.

View More

Strategy rooted in research has transformative power: it can clarify muddled priorities, build consensus among key stakeholders, and guide decision-making for years to come.

Our brand strategies shed light on the attributes, programs, or personality traits that differentiate an institution from its competitors. Working from research findings, we deliver targeted BrandPrints, which clarify brand positioning, personality descriptors, decision drivers, and segmented messaging — while aligning with broader institutional plans and objectives.

We also develop comprehensive marketing strategies: whether the goal is motivating prospective students to enroll, alumni to donate, or community leaders to support an institution, our recommendations are both forward-looking and realistic. Bringing together competitor analysis, audience segments and journeys, targeted messaging, paid media and advertising plans, and multi-year budget plans, we look for the most effective tactics and timing to meet strategic needs.

Creative Services

Campaigns and experiences that drive awareness, fuel loyalty, and build communities.

View More

Research and logic drive your insights and strategies. But your brand comes to life in how your community experiences it. With a clear brand architecture as framework, we help you express your institution’s story in ways that are inspiring and dynamic without ever losing sight of your goals and priorities.

Our research-driven choices and collaborative process build confidence in every creative decision as we establish key touchpoints for expressing your brand. Our nontraditional approach means that every project results in rich experiences and engaging content that drives awareness, fuels loyalty, and builds communities.

All of our creative work is informed by storytelling because powerful stories reach beyond speaking to your audience to bring them into the brand itself. With experience in brand identity, advertising, experience design, and content strategy and creation (including digital, social media, and video), we push the envelope and create new ideas that fit your brand, your community, and your strategy.

Organizational Assessments

Recommendations for aligning activities and structure with strategic goals.

View More

Drawing on our experience working with more than 1,000 colleges and universities, we conduct assessments of an institution’s operational and marketing activities and provide recommendations for aligning them with strategic goals.

We offer three types of assessments:

  • Communications assessments identify strengths and weaknesses in communication efforts and suggest new or innovative strategies to implement.
  • Marketing operations assessments evaluate the effectiveness of marketing activities, organizational structure, and campus-wide integration.
  • Recruitment/enrollment assessments identify top-producing recruitment activities, suggest new tactics for improving enrollment, and evaluate departmental organization.