Thousands ‘Experience’ Brock at Ontario Universities’ Fair

As Tom Dunk wandered around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto over the weekend he realized just how difficult it would be for someone to miss the Brock University branding.

From the spacious, revamped booth to the friendly team of staff, students and faculty members on hand to answer questions, Brock’s display at the Ontario Universities’ Fair from Sept. 22 to 24, made a very good impression on the high school students and their families in attendance.

With more than 139,000 people in attendance this year, OUF is the biggest exhibition of post-secondary institutions in Canada, making it the single-most important event on the annual recruiting calendar.

If OUF was a baseball game, Brock hit a grand slam.

“It’s very important that we’re there and that we put on a good show. When you came in and you saw Brock, you said ‘wow,’” said Dunk, Brock’s Vice-President, Academic, who was at OUF all three days. “This is a big production and everyone who worked on this did a really good job.”

The Brock team this year was made up of around 250 people from across the University including: senior administration, all seven Faculties, the Registrar’s Office, Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, Aboriginal Student Services, Residences, Student Accounts and Financial Aid, Brock Sports, Student Wellness and Accessibility Services, Brock Alumni Association, Development and Alumni Relations, Brock International and University Marketing and Communications.

“They did a great job. Some of them gave up their entire weekend doing long days of talking to people,” Dunk said. “We really appreciate their contribution and the job they did selling Brock.”

Dunk said it’s difficult to gauge exactly how successful Brock’s OUF outreach was, but anecdotally he’s positive the recruitment effort will pay off.

“What always impresses me is how good of an opportunity it is to explain what we do. Many of these high school students have talked to guidance counsellors, but they don’t know exactly what we have to offer. They ask lots of good questions,” he said.

The Brock branding and the ‘Experience’ campaign wasn’t limited to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre itself. For the second year in a row, Brock did a complete branded takeover of the Skywalk area of Union Station with massive banners, larger-than-life digital screens and floor graphics.

“The energy at OUF was electric as Brock continues to proudly promote our brand and tell our ‘Experience’ story,” said Jenny Halinda, Manager of Brand and Marketing. “Pairing the impact of the Skywalk takeover with a newly designed, open-concept booth, Brock’s brand presence has never been stronger.

“We are continuing to integrate the ‘Experience’ campaign into every aspect of our marketing initiatives and the result is a powerful narrative and unified brand.”

And while OUF is now done for another year, the post-event work is just getting started.

Beth Natale, Director, Recruitment and Retention, said follow-up e-mails were sent within 24 hours to students and families who provided contact information. A call campaign inviting students to Fall Preview Day on Nov. 5 is also getting started this week.

“It’s about continuing the momentum and keeping Brock top of mind over the course of a very long cycle,” Natale said. “OUF is very much a launching pad for us. It’s the start of a conversation that is meant to inspire them, motivate them and push them to visit campus and apply to Brock — and ultimately accept our offer of admission when we get to that point.”

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