Showcasing The Emory Difference

Leveraging Tailored Marketing to Yield “Chosen” Recruits


Since 1836, Emory University has been renowned as a top private research university and was recently ranked #22 for National Universities by US News & World Report. Emory’s mission – “to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity” – has guided the university in its work to drive discovery, serve the common good and prepare leaders to make a difference in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emory knew that fostering relationships with high school students, counselors and parents was more important than ever. In response, the Emory University Office of Undergraduate Admissions hired Jackson Spalding to support marketing efforts for the 2021 recruitment cycle and show recently admitted students why they belong at Emory.

Deliverables included admission print assets, a custom microsite, HTML emails and a video series, as well as production of special enrollment events.


Research showed that Emory needed to market Atlanta — especially among admitted international students – as much as the University itself so that students could place themselves in the city and see a “home” for the next four years. The JS team created a series of Atlanta hype videos to showcase the best of  Emory’s city. As an added bonus, admitted students to both Emory’s Atlanta campus and Oxford campus (roughly 35 miles from Atlanta) could sense proximity to the city of Atlanta and all it offers.

Marketing Communications Strategy & Development

Emory came to JS needing to develop a fresh, creative, story-driven and energetic approach to the mailed admissions packet. The print piece would serve as a celebratory welcome to admitted Emory students, while simultaneously compelling those with acceptances from multiple schools to choose the Emory difference. With that in mind, JS concepted and created the new admissions packet with a singular focus—to stand out from the crowd by making students feel seen and chosen. The JS Creative team utilized vibrant and engaging shapes and colors to emphasize an insight from our research: Emory University is a vibrant gateway to the world.

Stakeholder Relations

JS created a content campaign targeting high school counselors with three supporting business goals to guide the approach: increase overall brand awareness, increase the number of competitive applicants and improve yield rate. JS took a not-so-traditional approach for a not-so-traditional PR campaign and developed targeted outreach letters to high school counselors globally, as well as conducted surveys and phone interviews with this critical audience. The findings informed priority assets to support these key stakeholders in the admissions process. 


With the persistence of COVID-19, it was essential to produce an engaging and informative online event series for these new students. JS partnered with Emory’s events team to oversee the concepting, planning, execution and facilitation of the Inaugural President Signature Series. These online events occurred in the span of just four weeks and were a large success for the University. Deliverables included run of shows, moderator guides, Zoom etiquette tips, a branded presentation and more.


JS’s team of web designers, developers and digital project managers collaborated to create a welcoming, intuitive microsite for admitted students. This site continues to serve as a key touch point for information and resources relevant to the start of students’ journeys as Emory Eagles.

The Results

This integrated-marketing campaign exceeded client expectations and proved to be very successful in garnering interest and increasing yields for Emory University.
“Partnering with Jackson Spalding felt like an extension of our own marketing team. Our colleagues at JS not only contributed creatively through stellar concepts and deliverables, but they were as fully invested in the success of our organization’s work as we were. We didn’t just meet our annual targets. We exceeded them. Despite a downturn in the marketplace. I believe our partnership with JS is part of that success, and we are excited to partner with them further.” – Lisa Coetzee, Former Director of Enrollment Marketing and Communications

At a Glance


increase in applicants


email open rate


YoY increase in RSVPs for Office of Admission events

The Team

Alicia Harwell

Image of Brian Steely

Brian Steely

Carolina Hazard

Caroline Nutter Duffy

Charles Edwards

Charlie Crose

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