Bring on the Power of Chewbacca Mom

If you wanted a boost of inspiration to how you and your institution could be engaging with this generation driven by instant gratification – then this morning’s Plenary with Jackie Kassteen of Transformative Marketing Solutions would have perked you up.  From the vantage point of our own respective institutions, we are all striving to find the perfect formula for engaging with our clients – whether they be students, partners, or otherwise.  Many of us are so eager to push out content that we ‘think’ our audiences need/want, but how effective are we in doing this?  From research Jackie shared – the more content; the less impact.

Don’t be alarmed or discouraged though.  Her message was more nuanced than just ‘less is more’.  It’s about the genesis, shape, and feel of the content that creates impact.  I think we see it all around us but may not recognise it.

‘Co-created’ and ‘user generated’ content is gold, typically more cost effective, and if done well – achieves the greatest reach.

Key messages for me:

  • Student numbers are the measure but not the GOAL.
  • What is our GOAL?  Creating global citizens is no longer a USP, so what is it?
  • Standardised test scores and degrees are no longer paramount for employers.  They are seeking graduates that can THINK, so how are we living up to that?
  • People tend to buy a product or service based on how it makes them FEEL, not based on what it does.

Of the many current examples she shared, we were re-introduced to Chewbacca Mom – a video about a woman from Texas that filmed herself laughing uncontrollably whilst wearing a Chewbacca mask that went viral on social media earlier this year. This video embodied how this ‘user generated’ content created an unexpected platform for a range of organisations to benefit, because viewers found it to be conversational, believable, and authentic.

It certainly prompted discussion amongst delegates about how many of our educational institutions are needing to shed themselves of what is seen as an antiquated approach, and instead, embody their own Chewbacca Mom that yields the authentic message to get the cut through that we all want to achieve.


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