Illinois Student Assistance Commission for College Illinois!

The Client

Illinois Student Assistance Commission for College Illinois!, the state’s 529 pre-paid tuition program.

The Challenge

CBD worked for three years with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) on its College Illinois! 529 prepaid tuition program. Our objective was to drive new enrollments. However, during the period of our engagement, new enrollments were halted due to questions about the program’s financial stability. This was subsequently addressed and the program was re-opened, creating challenges and opportunities for public messaging and PR.

The Fix

While a paid media campaign helped achieve the campaign’s sales goals for new enrollments, earned and social media became important platforms for delivering key messages relating to the programs benefits to parents and—importantly—its financial viability.

  • CBD’s PR team initiated a steady drumbeat of speaking engagements, media interviews with ISAC board members and its executive director, events, news announcements, and social media posts
  • We produced a radio PSA for the periods between paid media activity
  • Media relations focused on general and minority media, including Spanish-language media for print, TV and radio
  • The program was featured in a “Trib University” for parents on how to finance a college education
  • The ISAC internal team was provided with a “Speaker’s Roadmap” of speaking opportunities for ISAC executives at all the Chicago business and civic clubs

The Results

  • In one year, more than 40 radio, TV and print interviews statewide were scheduled with ISAC executives, including their Board Co-Chairman, a leading member of the city’s Hispanic community
  • Over 500 articles statewide reported on news of the program, generating 300 million impressions
  • The program exhibited at a Chicago-area Kids’ EXPO, generating hundreds of qualified leads at one event
  • Interviews and articles focused on the benefits to parents of starting to save early for their children’s college education, and reassuring the community about the program’s stability and its viability as a financial management tool

CBD PR & Social Media services:

  • Consumer and business media relations
  • Press releases
  • News distribution
  • Speaking engagements
  • Custom content development (articles and bylines)
  • Event research and execution
  • Social media content for Facebook, Twitter and LInkedIn
  • Radio PSA
  • Tracking and ROI reporting