We All Have to Sing the Same Song – An Interview with Eddie Francis

Back in November, I sat in on a roundtable discussion on social media marketing in higher ed during #AMAHigherEd and noticed Eddie Francis seamlessly moderate the session attended by nearly 30 people with ease.

The next morning I saw Eddie at breakfast, introduced myself, struck up a conversation, started following him on LinkedIn, and took note of a social proof campaign he started at Dillard University.

Friends, meet Eddie Francis, Dillard University’s Director of Communications and Marketing, part-time lecturer, AMA Higher Education Marketer of the Year Nominee, and host of the “For Our Edification” podcast.

Eddie joined Dillard as the MarCom director in 2019 and was impressed by the school’s distinguished list of alumni, which includes a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice, a Pulitzer Prize Winner, and university presidents.

However, when he asked people what made Dillard the institution that produced such notable alumni, he noticed that there was no unifying language that explained the Dillard experience.

That’s when he started the “Write Your Legacy” project, a call to the Dillard community to tell its story in a clear, concise, bold, and unapologetic way.

A social proof campaign featuring students, alumni, faculty, and staff that encourages those involved in the university to share their Dillard story with others and build a community in the process.

And “community is our superpower,” Eddie says. “Dillard has a distinct way of making sure that the students form this really nice, productive academic culture, and it really comes out of that strong sense of community.”

Knowing his audience, Eddie’s team leans heavily on video content to share featured student stories and long-form articles for alumni, faculty, and staff stories.

To ensure story contributors express Dillard’s value in one voice, Eddie’s team offers a toolkit that educates content creators about the school’s brand guidelines.

As Eddie said: “it is important for folks to realize that they can look at the campaign differently, obviously, because everybody is going to bring themselves to the campaign, but we all got to sing the same song.”

Emphasizing that “like the legendary Dillard University Concert Choir, [Dillard’s] community must sing with one voice to attract students, donors, and community partners.”

If you’re a higher ed marketer trying to build a sense of community with your students, alumni, faculty, and staff or thought about starting a social proof campaign like the “Write Your Legacy,” give Eddie a follow, listen to his podcast, or visit Dillard’s website to learn more about the campaign.

As Maya Angelou once said: “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

It’s time to let it out.

Until next time. ✌️


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