After losing their accreditation status due to financial problems, Florida Christian College approached Johnson University requesting a buy-out. After careful consideration and value assessment, Johnson agreed to pursue the acquisition and paid off the existing debt of FCC. The merger-acquisition was approved by accrediting bodies and was officially announced on July 1, 2013.
Johnson approached Girl on the Roof only three weeks before the accrediting bodies were scheduled to approve the merger. Because the Advancement team had very limited PR experience, Carol Reeve stepped in as the project manager for the communications team comprised of members from both the Tennessee and Florida campuses. GotR quickly developed a detailed project plan that identified the necessary assets, an outlined draft and approval deadlines, and articulated team members’ responsibilities. Girl on the Roof took the lead in the writing and layout of official statements, history documents, key staff and board bios on both campuses, talking points, media advisories, media event agendas, and post-event media releases. GotR supervised the development of regional, national, and trade press lists and served as art directors for the selection of photography, the compilation of electronic (thumb drives) and printed press kits, PowerPoint presentations, banners, and signage for both campuses. Girl on the Roof also developed and oversaw the execution of a social media strategy and website triage (content changes including media pages, new branding, edited history, etc.) for the TN and FL campuses.
Girl on the Roof proposed to the Johnson University Cabinet the idea of a new Johnson University System brand, with the System being comprised of three campuses: Tennessee, Florida, and Online. Up to that point Johnson offered some strong online programs (including a very reputable PhD program), but the programs were not supported through marketing and were difficult to find on the Johnson website. The branding of an “Online campus” significantly raised the profile of the online programs while strengthening the overall University positioning.
As part of the branding efforts, Girl on the Roof facilitated an identity strategy session with the University Cabinet and drafted positioning statements for the System and the three campuses. GotR made recommendations around alumni communications and social media to strengthen loyalty and pride among current and former students of both Johnson and FCC. GotR developed website designs for the University System site as well as three campus websites and an athletics site. Girl on the Roof researched, drafted, edited and optimized (for search engines) the website content – totaling over 400 pages – and, in the interest of time, fully developed the Johnson University Online and Johnson University Suns (FL athletics) websites. (Other sites are being constructed in Johnson’s existing web platform, Kentico, using GotR’s design; the TN site is slated to launch in December of 2014.)
Girl on the Roof planned and orchestrated two media events announcing the final merger-acquisition (one in Knoxville, TN on July 1; the other in Kissimmee, FL on July 2, 2013). The local, regional, and national media coverage (TV, online, and print including Associated Press) from the events was greater than any coverage the University had achieved in its 120-year history.
Johnson University Tennessee and Johnson University Online campuses have achieved new record levels of student enrollment in the three semesters following the media events. Johnson has been nationally recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the country’s most financially stable institutions of higher learning and continues to receive praise for its leadership and stability.