City College of San Francisco

Overview

City College of San Francisco is among the largest community college system in the United States. But accreditation and image concern, combined with negative press, had conspired to decrease enrollment by almost 20,000 students. Moreover, the college was beginning to lose control of its messaging, with anti-public education entities seizing the opportunity to attack the districts reputation.

Enrollment, Awareness and Public Relations

In less than three weeks, Interact developed and implemented a powerful hybrid campaign that sought to increase immediate enrollment while pushing back against the harmful news stories. Interact’s confident “Still Standing” campaign emphasized the rich history of education and enlightenment in San Francisco, and in particular, City College’s important role in that history.

The campaign injected a sense of pride into CCSF’s messaging that was missing before, helping to stem the negative tide, while ensuring the community that the college was “standing its ground.” The campaign’s art style subtly evoked the city’s unique architecture and “vibe” while avoiding obvious San Francisco cliches that would detract from the sincerity of the message.

Results

The “Still Standing” campaign helped stop the enrollment bleeding and brought public focus back to the positive things that the college provides for its community. The campaign concluded with a wave of support from the community, which included a stamp of approval from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who proudly signed one of Interact’s posters.

This campaign (now in its second term) stands as an ideal example of Interact’s ability to mix the emotional and the practical. It remains a powerful campaign that appears to the city’s unique pride and the power of education to link individuals to their goals. In the spring and fall of 2016, Interact freshened the campaign with a “Future Focused” message that aims to continue the message of pride while pledging to remain dynamic into the future.