Now You Know Enters Second Phase

By Renee Kestenbaum
On September 1, 2010

Yeshiva University (YU)'s department of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) is set to launch the second phase its Now You Know campaign under the guidance of Moshe Isaacson, CPAdirector of interactive media. "We wanted to contrast people's experience of Yeshiva University in previous years with the experience of today," said Isaacson about the campaign's initial launch in May.

However, this semester Isaacson and his team of design geniuses plan to take their campaign one step further. The second phase will allow students to interact with the campaign by sharing their personal experiences at YU and describing what YU means to them, in the hopes of spreading a sense of good will, school pride, and ownership toward the university.

Now You Know began as a challenge posed to the communications department by CPA Vice President Georgia Pollak, according to Isaacson. She requested that they build an ad campaign to showcase how the university has changed over the years.

In the first phase, a webpage was developed to house statistics about YU, illustrated with bright colors and simplistic, geometric graphics. Some of the statistics are very creative, like the number of pieces of gefilte fish eaten by YU students each year (13,000). The department of CPA approached each department around the university for unique statistics that could give the public an idea of what YU has become today.

The first-stage webpage also has quizzes about the statistics and a form where users can submit their own trivia. Some of the graphics are animated and were spliced together into videos, which are also available on Yeshiva University's YouTube channel.

The goal of the first phase was to show alumni and others who are familiar with the traditional YU what the university looks like today. The site takes changes in the physical campuses, faculty, and student activity into account, as well as how YU has become oriented more toward customer service and engaging an audience than in previous years, noted Isaacson. The campaign's objective is captured by the slogan "Perception, meet reality."

Now You Know's primary audience for the first phase was anyone affiliated with YU, including alumni, donors, parents and current students. Even prospective students were provided with Now You Know campaign brochures in university information packets. Creative Services Director Judy Tashji, Media Relations Associate Matthew Yaniv, and Director of Events for CPA Aliza Berenholz all played major roles in its development.

Isaacson considers the statistical series "a good first step," although it leaves a lot more work to do. The campaign's initial effectiveness can be tracked through web analytics and personal feedback, yet Isaacson preferred not to judge its true success until the process is turned over to the student body. This will be phase two.

When asked to describe the new phase, Isaacson simply responded: "fun." It will be advertised in Stern College for Women (SCW)'s student newspapers to encourage each student at Stern College to submit her YU story and to share what YU means to her. Students will be rewarded for participating through giveaway contests later in the year. User input will be collected and showcased on the Now You Know webpage.

The Now You Know campaign is only one of the department of CPA's numerous projects. The department of CPA works with other YU departments to publicize their events, disseminate their announcements, provide web and print assistance, and generally help decide how to best present YU and its departments to YU students, alumni and donors, as well as external media.

The department of CPA plans to unveil the dynamic, student-oriented second phase of the Now You Know campaign near the beginning of the fall semester.


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