The Iota Woman A Communications Campaign for The Delta Alpha Chapter at Savannah State University

CAMPAIGN OVERVIEW

The purpose of this campaign was to increase student awareness of the Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. at Savannah State University. Many students were not aware that the organization existed on campus, and those that did had little knowledge of it . The Iota Woman campaign increased awareness of the organization on campus and the benefits of membership.

BACKGROUND RESEARCH

Student Attraction to ‘Greek Letter’ Organizations

Research done in regards to Greek letter organization attractiveness to college students produced astonishing results. Fouts (2010) examined the declining interest in Greek letter organizations. The reality is, some of these organizations find it extremely hard to identify potential members and explain to them the tangible and intangible benefits of membership (Fouts, 2010). Chandler (2010) finds that black women are excelling in education and entrepreneurship, and that two-thirds of African-American college undergrads are female” (Chandler, 2011). At Savannah State University, where majority of the student population is African American, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. should be a sought after organization. They are an active organization on campus aiming to develop young women into business and professional women.

Communications in the “Go Greek” Process

In an effort to create an effective campaign geared towards enhancing Iota Phi Lambda's position on campus, one must create ways to spark interest in the students. Case (2011) advocates for understanding the variables that predict student involvement in clubs and organizations. She finds that a sense of community, student-faculty interaction, and peer interaction can greatly contribute to student involvement. In other words, when students feel they belong, then they are one step closer to involving themselves in clubs and organizations. When there is a “high level of encouragement” from faculty, they tend to consider their options. As friends tell other friends about the great things a certain organization offers, there is no doubt that there will not be open ears (Case, 2011). These variables are prime examples of factors to integrate into a successful campaign. Case (2011) proves that success in this aspect can start within the campus environment as well.

Fouts (2010) provides a unique way of tackling nonparticipation in student organizations. One must know the target audience, including the stereotypes and misperceptions non-members may hold, and the internal and external influences that keep them from pursuing membership (Fouts, 2010). It seems as though it may be difficult to persuade college students to lean towards a certain organization, and outside factors play a critical role in students considering their options. Fouts (2010) examined the Innovation-Decision Model and how it can help those organizations looking to figure out their target audience. She states that “information about ideas or innovations is diffused or transmitted through a culture through conversation, media, technology, and other channels of information-sharing” (Fouts, 2010). It is important to create conversation about an on-campus organization so that students are aware it even exists.

Media and technology play a key role in today’s society. A 2015 study of college students’ use of technology proved that it plays a crucial role in their lives. Out of 1,211 students surveyed, 61% of students who attended a 4-year college or university documented being avid users of technology such as their mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. 55% of students surveyed were women (Pearson, 2015). Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. could benefit a great deal by implementing current popular technology into this campaign.

Fouts (2010) provided other key factors in organizations communicating better to the public. Aside from creating discussion in the campus community and emphasizing benefits, organizations should delve into cleaning up perceptions, understanding their audience. According to Fouts (2010), students who choose not to participate in recruitment processes are turned off by the stereotypes and poor images associated with certain chapters or membership in general, by a perceived conflict in values, not being comfortable with chapter members (Fouts, 2010). It is also discussed that it is up to the chapter members to “understand their role in the maintenance of the organization’s image” (Fouts, 2010).

All in all, it is just as important to work on internal communication as it is external communication. Fouts (2010) found that some women do not join certain organizations on the basis of misinformation and poor public relations (Fouts, 2010). It is evident that public relations plays a large role in the reception of an audience. To further explore, primary research was conducted to analyze African American female students’ perception of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. at Savannah State University and ways to improve their position on campus.

METHOD

Participants

The study used a non-random convenience sample, which focuses on sampling a portion of the population that is easier to obtain. One characteristic was of relevance: I was interested in the female students at Savannah State University. Recruitment was solely based on word-of-mouth. The participants were aged 18 and over. Twenty-five female students of Savannah State University were included.

Procedure

The goal of this research is to analyze female students’ perception of The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. at Savannah State University and improve their position on campus. Research was conducted through an electronic survey of 17 questions, lasting 3 minutes. A consent form was mandated prior to taking each survey so that students were aware of the research and reason for the research. The survey was made available on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 2 P.M. until Friday, August 26, 2016 at 1 P.M.

In order to maintain answers from only female students, the survey was distributed in-person on a tablet using Google Forms. Surveys are great at achieving insight on how participants feel about a current situation, and provides unbiased data which can be analyzed thoroughly, and that is ideal for this study. Allotting time for survey questions proved their hypotheses to be accurate. A survey is ideal for this study in order to get descriptive results, especially when it is harder to encourage busy stakeholders to complete an interview. Although it is ideal, surveys become complicated when respondents do not feel comfortable answering certain questions, which can cause unwillingness to participate.

FINDINGS

When studying the perceptions of female students at Savannah State University of female only organizations on campus, many factors were found. The students were surveyed on their perceptions in order to discover the reason The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. lacks awareness. After reviewing the data, factors that were acknowledged in previous research were uncovered. As discovered before, a sense of community, student-faculty interaction, and peer interaction can greatly contribute to student involvement (Case, 2011). The same was discovered in the survey. 72 percent of the female students surveyed claimed that they would join a female only organization when a peer referred them.

Another surprising aspect that was uncovered were the amount of students who are unsatisfied with the current state of female only organizations on campus. 20 percent of those surveyed claim to be unsatisfied with the female organizations on campus. In previous research, it was uncovered that students who choose not to participate in recruitment processes are turned off by the stereotypes and poor images associated with certain chapters (Fouts, 2010).

Technology is prevalent in today’s society. It is not uncommon for a college student to use their technology for a lengthy amount of time. Almost all of the participants surveyed proved themselves to be avid users of technology. In a previous study, it was found that mostly women who attend a 4-year college or university are avid users of technology such as their mobile phones, laptops, and tablets (Pearson, 2015).

PLAN

CAMPAIGN GOAL

To increase the awareness of The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. amongst all of the female students that currently attend Savannah State University

TARGET AUDIENCE

Female students at Savannah State University

OBJECTIVE

To increase awareness of The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. amongst female students at Savannah State University by 20 percent by November 8, 2016.

KEY MESSAGES

The campaign centered around two key messages:

  1. The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. will help you towards your career goals.
  2. The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. will provide you with skills and opportunities to last a lifetime.

KEY THEMES

The campaign utilized the unique national logo of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Their green logo, which correlates with growth, was incorporated in all deliverables.

CHANNELS AND STRATEGIES

Media Channels

News releases were constructed and sent to Savannah State University’s student newspaper, Tiger’s Roar. Research showed that 12% of the female students refer to Tiger’s Roar for their information. In addition to news releases, Bonita Bradley, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, was contacted in order to send a mass email to the student body and reach a large portion of the female students. Research showed that 84% of female students actively use their student email.

Non-Media Channels

An informational event was held for The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. in the Student Union at Savannah State University. The event encouraged students to learn more about the organization and participate in the organization’s future business and professional related activities. Flyers and brochures were created in order for female students to learn more about The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.

Interactive Media Channels

A :30 video highlighting The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. was posted on the organization’s Instagram and Twitter. 52% of female students actively use Instagram, and 44% actively use Twitter. Live posts of the event were posted to the organization’s Snapchat. When it came to actively using social media platforms, 32% of female students spend 2-3 hours on social media a day, 28% spend 3-4 hours on social media a day, and 32% spend more than 5 hours on social media a day. These statistics proved social media to be a vital part of the campaign and reaching the female students at Savannah State University.

IMPLEMENTATION

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

POSTER

BROCHURE

E-MARKETING (MAILCHIMP)

:30 COMMERCIAL

INFORMATION TABLE

The President and I discussing The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. with students. Students were handed brochures, saw an informative display board, and showed interest in the organization by writing their name and emails on a sign-in sheet for MailChimp.
EVALUATION

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal

To increase the awareness of The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. amongst all of the female students that currently attend Savannah State University.

Objective

To increase awareness of The Delta Alpha Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. amongst female students at Savannah State University by 20 percent (Only 60% are aware of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.)

METHOD

Participants

The study used a non-random convenience sample, which focuses on sampling a portion of the population that is easier to obtain. One characteristic was of relevance: I was interested in the female students at Savannah State University. Recruitment was solely based on word-of-mouth. The participants were aged 18 and over. Twenty-five female students of Savannah State University were included.

Procedure

The goal of this research is to analyze female students’ perception of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. at Savannah State University and improve their position on campus. Research was conducted through a post electronic survey of 13 questions, lasting 3 minutes. A consent form was mandated prior to taking each survey so that students were aware of the research and reason for the research. The survey was made available on Monday, November 7, 2016 at 4 P.M. until Tuesday, November 7, 2016 at 3 P.M.

In order to maintain answers from only female students, the survey was distributed in-person on a tablet and IPhone using Google Forms. Surveys are great at achieving insight on how participants feel about a current situation, and provides unbiased data which can be analyzed thoroughly, and that is ideal for this study. A follow-up survey was ideal for this study in order to get descriptive results, especially when it is harder to encourage busy stakeholders to complete an interview.

FINDINGS

The post-campaign survey yielded the following results about the campaign:

Before-and-After Campaign Comparison
CONCLUSION

Event: Through the event (information table) in the Student Union, about thirteen students were reached. Each student was briefed on the key points that we wanted to promote:

1. Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. will help you towards your career goals.

2. Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. will provide you with skills and opportunities to last a lifetime.

Each student also received a brochure at the information table. Flyers were placed around the campus that displayed Iota Phi Lambda’s motto, mission, and current members of the local chapter. The brochures contained the motto, mission, goals, contact information, and pictures of current members as well. While students were standing around the table, the :30 commercial was shown, the President of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority was of access to explain more about the organization, a sign-in sheet was available so members can be contacted through MailChimp, a display board was set up to give quick facts, and they were encouraged to follow the organization’s social media platforms.

Based on the statistics, it would appear that the campaign was successful in its objectives. Savvy PR increased its objective by 36%.

LIMITATIONS

Given the time constraints, only one objective was required to be implemented . In addition, the combined time constraints of Savvy PR and Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. prevented setting up the information table at a high traffic time of day.

FORMATIVE RESEARCH

After weeks of campaigning to the target audience, a post survey was conducted and it included an array of questions that determined the amount of female students who held a better understanding of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Based on the responses of the sample, the next step would be to address the areas of the campaign that were not significantly improved after the campaigning process. We would assess the data and identify a new strategy of campaigning to the specific audience to ensure future campaigning success.

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