Universities have gravitated quickly towards digital transformation in the past year as social distancing requirements and COVID19 place a temporary but impactful hold on university activities. For the team at Boise State University, moving Bronco Day, an admissions-driven event to attract prospective students to the school, and commencement, to engaging virtual experiences was no small task. To quickly create a digital experience to build a virtual event, the Boise State marketing team turned to Pixlee.
Throughout the COVID-19 era, many events have been changed or canceled with very little notice. For Boise State, the decision to move Bronco Day online was not finalized until March 13th, leaving roughly six weeks to reconfigure the entire Bronco Day event – scheduled for April 25th. To determine and execute a new digital-first strategy, the admissions group, student affairs team, marketing team, and events team quickly came together to design a virtual admissions day from scratch. Tom Beitia, Director of Sponsorship at Boise State, shares insight into the process:
“Boise State’s social media manager had to figure out the delivery piece – that's when she mentioned Pixlee. We knew what we wanted the message to be, and what we had done in the past. But we'd always done it in person. It was a whole team effort. We all had to work on our certain slice of the delivery and make sure that it came through – and we were very pleased with the results.”
The team was able to fully launch Pixlee before the Bronco Day event and collect nearly 1,300 pieces of approved and permissioned content to feature in the galleries. As a core component of the team, Boise State’s social media manager, Leigh Ann Dufurrena, explained her experience shifting to a digital experience with Pixlee.
“After moving two major campus events to digital delivery (Bronco Day, our annual campus open-house for prospective students and families, and our spring commencement ceremony), we are very impressed with the power and ease of the Pixlee platform. We used Pixlee a little differently for each event, with custom displays that fit the needs of each event and audience. The performance and viewer-engagement for each web gallery were well beyond our expectations, including positive feedback from attendees of the virtual events.”
One of the key reasons why Pixlee stood out to the team in their quest for a UGC solution was the adaptability of the platform. With different user permissions, the team can ensure brand guidelines are being followed across every college, department, and team at Boise State. Beitia, who oversees all commercial partnerships, explained that this was a critical point for the team in choosing to adopt Pixlee.
“Pixlee seemed very adaptable to our environment. With Pixlee we have decentralized management of the product through each team, but with the confidence at a central level that we know what is going on with all of our various messages. That's important to us because we do have quite a bit of marketing that is done by our College of Business versus our College of Health Sciences and our Honors College. Each one is different, but yet they put out the marketing content that is all Boise State, and that's managed by our communications and marketing team.”
By giving each part of the university their own access to the platform, every team is able to share the voices of the diverse student body while maintaining a cohesive Boise State message.
Although in-person events will return eventually, the team at Boise State has big plans to expand their use of Pixlee throughout different use-cases. Beitia explained that Pixlee’s uniquely flexible and reliable platform has opened the team up to other potential opportunities in the future.
“We like the ecommerce opportunity for us as well, that's not traditionally what you think of with a university, but especially now, anything that we can utilize to monetize and help us on our return, we also look for.”
And as the Boise State team prepares for the next year, Pixlee remains an important part of their growth strategy, according to Beitia.
“We look forward to how can we incorporate Pixlee in more. Whether it's the COVID world or the post-COVID world, we see this as the future and digital needs to be combined with the in-person. With Pixlee, we'll have that very cutting edge robust type of delivery of anything going forward. Whether it be a conference, a class, or in any event that we do.”
Dufurrena echoed Tom’s sentiments for her department’s use of Pixlee in the future.
“We are excited to continue to be innovative with Pixlee - to put a creative spin on using an ecommerce marketing model to effectively harness the power of influencer-driven decisions within the world of higher education.”