Ever receive a holiday card from your alma mater? Chances are, you read the same disposable “Season’s greetings and good tidings” message that every school sends. These days, you might even open up an eCard, but it’s often just a slideshow set to holiday music. Sure, it’s a nice gesture, but you know that ‘best wishes this holiday’ is really code for ‘send money this spring.’
In marketing, you’re taught to differentiate. To get attention, you need to surprise and delight. To connect with your customers, you must share their values (and a laugh too). Maybe that’s why some business programs are taking their own advice when it comes to delivering holiday greetings.
Forget signing off with “best wishes from “faculty, staff, and students.” Schools are now featuring these people in holiday videos. Why? It’s all about the connection. Just watch a video and feel those memories come flooding back. You can watch your mentor – the economist who’s consulted by the World Bank –prancing around in a Santa hat. Or, you can see students lounging round the union, reminding you of that debate on moral hazard. No, these students aren’t abstractions. And faculty and staff members are something more than your past. Despite time and distance, they are your community. In many ways, they are you.
With the holidays approaching, Poets&Quants collected business school videos that reflect a festive spirit – and reinforce the best of a school’s brand. From Cambridge to Seattle, here are the best holiday videos from business schools in recent years.
1) University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management (Deck the Halls)
Forget crowdsourcing. At Carlson, they teach flash mobbing. Or, so you’d think after watching this 2011 classic. Starting with a lone saxophone, the atrium quickly erupts with choral singers and dancers (that even manages to snag security). Yes, these carolers were as gleefully pitch perfect as New Directions or The Barden Bellas. Even Goldy was touched. This video reminds us that the holidays are a time for unexpected wonder and goodwill. Slow down and enjoy them.
2) University of Washington Foster School of Business (Happy Holidays)
Talk about the total package: A video that infuses the holiday spirit with humor and branding. Starting with sweeping views of Seattle before swooping down onto campus, a voiceover recites “The Night Before Christmas”…with a decidedly Foster twist. Who couldn’t chuckle at lyrics like, “For winter is coming / and with it vacation / But first survive finals / with much caffeination.” As the video continues, it becomes increasingly promotional. Despite this, the concept remains funny to the end, even subversively tweaking school administration (Our holiday wish / for a brand new “Mackenzie” / Is only because / of the Foster growth frenzy.”). It’s definitely a welcome addition to any alum’s mailbox.
3) Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (Holiday Video)
Like Foster, Kelley leans heavily on familiar faces and local landmarks to infuse community. Call it the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of b-school videos. It opens with a solemn version of “Hail to Old IU” to play on our sentimental side. Then, it flips to the Indiana fight song featuring faculty, administrators, and students. Then, it concludes with a warm holiday wishes from Dean Idie Kesner. You couldn’t find anything more IU unless you imported Bobby Knight or the cast from Breaking Away. And it doesn’t resort to schlocky marketing, either (Taking notes, Foster?). Here’s the best part: The opening is actually sung by Tim Smith, Kelley’s Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Maybe The Voice should pay a visit to Bloomington.