The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal

Helping a venerable brand 
connect to a new generation.

WSJ has an aging core subscription base and had struggled to resonate with students. They partnered with Neato to develop a strategy and supportive programming to help them connect with a new generation of subscribers.

We created a set of campaigns and experiences that changed student perception of the brand, increased engagement with WSJ content, and ultimately grew student subscriptions.

The Challenge

WSJ partners with colleges throughout the US to give students complimentary WSJ subscriptions. Getting students to activate their subscription was naturally a primary business goal for WSJ and our program. However, we had a bigger question – if our objective was to build a future base of WSJ loyalists, how do we not just win their activation, but also win their hearts and minds?

We hosted roundtables to better understand student needs, their perception of WSJ. The student perception of WSJ was a barrier. To students, WSJ was old media. They acknowledged its credibility but felt it wasn’t for them. We also learned that students are more ambitious than ever. They are chronic overachievers and have high hopes for their professional future. But They lack the skills and knowledge to achieve the success that they aspire to. 

The path students have followed up until this point has been predictable and prescribed. The next steps after college feel complex and uncertain.  We realized The WSJ was well-positioned to be their companion and help propel their transition from a student to a young professional. We also knew we had to show up in a way that showed WSJ understood students and was relevant to their needs. 

This approach came to life in many forms over the last few years, from national student-centered ad campaigns, experiences, and a national ambassador program. Some highlights include:

WSJ Picture Your Future

Students were feeling insecure and anxious about their ability to show up in the professional world. They knew that a strong online profile contributes to a critical first impression but they were struggling with content. The WSJ Picture Your Future pop-up photography studio provided students a valuable tool to up their professional status–a fresh career-focused profile photo for LinkedIn and other portfolios.

Hosted on campus in high-traffic areas and career fairs, students activated or showed proof of WSJ membership before getting their photo taken, not only as a ticket to a complimentary photo, but as a resource to inspire and inform them as they transition into the professional world.

The experience also appealed to a secondary WSJ customer – the Universities. Picture Your Future was the standout at each career fair. Schools began proactively requesting it, which enrichened WSJ’s relationships with University stakeholders.

  • The Wall Street Journal

National Campaign Development

WSJ was in need of relevant messaging and copy that would appeal to students in its national student campaigns. Neato developed a set of student-centered concepts and headlines that were catered to key moments throughout the year.

Student Ambassador Program

Neato recruited, hired and trained ambitious and driven Student Ambassadors at campuses across the country to serve as WSJ Ambassadors.

WSJ Student Ambassadors were influential students who helped bring the WSJ brand to life on their campus and gave a credible voice to the WSJ mission, ultimately establishing relevance and driving activations, through the following tactics:

  • Social Media Engagement
  • Direct On-Campus Engagement
  • Event Engagement and Partnerships
  • Indirect Engagement
  • Campus Popup Events
  • 2,862

    Total Headshots Taken at Picture Your Future

  • 18,000+

    Total Activations

  • 54%

    of students knew about the free WSJ membership

  • 70%

    of students would tell their friends about the WSJ membership