How a Single Business School Became a Career-Cooking Behemoth
Sullivan didn’t start out as the largest private university in Kentucky. Back in 1962, A. O. Sullivan and his son, A. R. Sullivan, recognized a unique need; a center for higher learning that could provide its students viable tools to excel. That ambition led to the founding of a one-year school of business: Sullivan Business College.
Even before the business college evolved into a university, it was already taking historic strides. The distinguished Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) granted collegiate accreditation at the Associate degree level — making Sullivan the first ever private career college in the South to achieve this in 1979. By 1992, the SACSCOC awarded Sullivan’s baccalaureate program accreditation, placing Sullivan on the same playing field as major colleges and universities.
In 1999, the multi-million dollar doors opened to the Sullivan University Library and Learning Resource Center — and a new suburban campus in Lexington along with it. The university began to plant roots internationally through its online education format, giving students all over the world the chance to hone their professional abilities.
Training Leading Professionals Across the Globe
Since expanding into a bevy of universities, Sullivan offers comprehensive and internationally recognized degree programs — empowering learners of all ages. Seeing to it that every program is state-of-the-art, students can pursue any career track of their choice; leaping through a stair-step curriculum and sharpening skills at their own pace.
Sullivan’s course of studies are cutting-edge and career-focused, from undergraduate and associate to doctoral degree levels. The university equips each student to think critically, communicate decisively, gain computer literacy, and collaborate in a team — every relevant technique and prowess needed to thrive beyond the classroom.
This is what student-centered learning was designed for: a diverse atmosphere that allows individuals to advance quickly into their careers. Sullivan students go on to become highly-skilled and capable surgical technologists, business leaders, and experts in the IT and cybersecurity industries. They succeed, because Sullivan prepares them with active, collaborative, experiential, and problem-based learning strategies, on modern equipment that they’ll soon use daily — tools they will take with them into their professions.
Producing a Multi-Hyphenate: Sharing Sullivan’s Vision with the World
When Sullivan asked Hatfield Media to produce a series of commercials and testimonials, our video production team was eager to put this campaign in motion. Christina Pfeifer, Senior Account Representative at Hatfield Media, notes, “Our team is committed to helping Sullivan University share the message that higher education can help you step forward with confidence. Sullivan has many great stories to tell and it is a joy to help bring them to light (literally!)”
Our team wanted every audience watching to come away with two inspired takeaways: 1) This university has the direct education and qualifications that help you qualify for the job you want; 2) The structure of Sullivan’s programs propels you to that job expeditiously. Pfeifer notes, “Sullivan targets multiple audiences so the video team's ability to focus on their initiatives, whether it be adult learners or high school students, is always admirable.”
Hatfield Media produced the following videos, working within the parameters of a global pandemic to deliver powerful results:
- Sullivan University — Be Essential
- Sullivan University Alumni Highlight — Justin Murphy
- Sullivan University — Prior Learning Assessment
- Sullivan University — Surgical Technologist
- Go Online at Sullivan University
- Sullivan University — IT & Cybersecurity (feat. Joe Martinez)
- Online Business Administration Degree — Sullivan University
- Sullivan University Alumni Highlight - Dominic Tardy
- Sullivan University Alumni Highlight - Ben Rhodes & HVAC
- Sullivan University Alumni Highlight - Crane Naval Base (Angie Lewis)
- Sullivan University – Cannabusiness
- Sullivan University – PhD Program (feat. Chris Gray)
- Sullivan University - Tech & Design
- Sullivan University - Pursue MBA
- Sullivan University - Alumni Highlight Logistics & Transportation
- Sullivan University - College of Pharmacy and Health Services
- Sullivan University - Cabookie Cupcakes
- Sullivan University - Cabookie Cupcakes (Short Highlight)
Hatfield Video Producer, Bryce Ury, explains, “Sullivan offers countless fields of study [...] This means we are often touching base with a new corner of the university, opening up different dialogues for each project. That’s why with every video project, we gain a deeper and broader understanding — determining not only who the Sullivan community is, but how we can best serve their needs.”
Reinventing the Wheel: A History of Curating Excellence Together
“Hatfield has a longstanding relationship with Sullivan,” expresses Isaac Harrison, Video Producer at Hatfield Media. “This gives us the opportunity to build up a library of content and pull from it as projects come up. Because of our history working together, we’re in a strong position to tell Sullivan’s story.”
“Every time we produce content, it is a chance to go above and beyond, and create something that feels truly innovative,” continues Harrison. The finesse of Hatfield Media’s video production is first and foremost grounded in storytelling. Every creative element used was designed to further communicate Sullivan’s message — that this was the school to help individuals unleash their professional potential.
Harrison believes, “To best be able to serve Sullivan, it’s crucial to understand their programs, and the industries they prepare students to enter. This becomes our foundation for creating compelling content. In this string of videos specifically, we featured essential careers, where we dove into a variety of fields: IT, cybersecurity, logistics, and transportation. Our video team enjoys being able to highlight so many different industries, spanning from Kentucky to across the country.”
Producing a campaign that met Hatfield’s highest standards amidst COVID-19 was a tremendous undertaking. Our video producers made every effort to ensure the utmost safety. “The pandemic is the biggest challenge our video department has ever navigated. It meant social distancing, wearing masks, and following key safety guidelines, so that we could all feel safe and supported throughout content production,” said Harrison.
Turning a Hurdle into a Blank Canvas for Creativity
Videography that dazzles an audience and invites them to engage with a story starts with confident teamwork. Harrison witnessed how collaboration helped move video production forward, even through the pandemic’s challenges, noting: “Blending our skill sets, everyone in the Hatfield video department came together to bring these projects to life. Christina, our strategic project manager, helped us ensure we had a well-defined grasp on the goals Sullivan needed us to achieve.”
“When faced with any type of restriction, we saw it as a chance to be creative,” continues Harrison, who spotlights how our video production team turned an obstacle into creative gold: “Facing COVID-19 restrictions, Douglas, our Motion Graphics Designer, created some animated videos, pushing them to fresh heights. Using a combination of motion graphics, green screen, existing footage and new footage, we were able to deliver captivating content that fully showcases Sullivan University.”
Douglas Grillo found it key “to walk a fine line when creating animated graphics pieces for Sullivan,” wanting every message “to have its own unique voice, feeling different from the last. Simultaneously we wanted each piece to fit perfectly in the uniform campaign Hatfield Media structured.” Striking that balance, Grillo crafted how to dial up some green screen excitement.
Making Green Screen Magic — and Filming Something “Sullivan-Worthy”
“Placing ourselves in the shoes of Sullivan’s target audience, we were able to convey each message clearly; where each detail was tailored to resonate with viewers,” Grillo explains. “Sometimes it meant a piece needed a simple pop of displayed text. Sometimes it meant bringing in a more dynamic and bold style to the video.”
“Take the ‘Blackboard Training’ and ‘Prior Learning Assessment’ videos, for example. Those pieces couldn’t just be educational and informative — they had to feel interesting and engaging to the audience, too. For those pieces, we designed key animated icons: an approach that’s highly effective, because of its simplicity. We supported those subtle icon touches with clever animated texts and a voice-over to immerse all of the audience’s senses,” Grillo shares. Some videos involved “more in-depth work, like with the Alumni Highlights series,” he adds, commending project lead, Harrison, for his idea to “re-create those shoots with stunning composite images.”
Grillo indicates that with technology and a savvy vision, we could build a campaign that felt authentic: “Using 3D software, we set out to create an office space for one of the videos — one where our talent could look through a big window and see the city reflected right outside it. Sometimes we’ll compose those kinds of shots using photos as backgrounds. We’ll match the lighting, make some small particles of dust fly through the light, and add a diffused fog; all to give a sensation as if the shoot was shot in that space.”
We have a lot of fun getting creative with our work!” asserts Grillo, who says, “Every time a new project for Sullivan comes through our doors, the first thing that comes to my mind is how to make this idea Sullivan-worthy.”
Imagining a Space Where Past Successes Greet the Next Generation
“The video team is professional and great at what they do. I love working with them and I love the quality of their work,” says Eric Short, Senior Director of Admissions and Marketing at Sullivan University, who also appreciates the way the finishing touches of these projects have come together. “They’re great with detail and animation. They’re effective at scriptwriting as well!”
Harrison notes that transparency is a high priority throughout the production process, as he believes, “The best choices in a project help our client reach their goals. Whether Sullivan comes to us with a campaign idea or an initiative for a college, we strive to spotlight the university’s program or capture the institution as a whole.”
Our team relishes every chance to shape and share Sullivan’s message, enticing future students of all backgrounds to fulfill their dreams. Robbie Myers, Video Producer at Hatfield Media, notes, “Choosing to interview alumni about their experience at Sullivan is a moving and personal way to market the school — as if the people who have succeeded through the program are connecting with those ready to enter it.” It’s a triumph that the team could “shoot in our studio and still capture a sense of being in the interviewees’ respective spaces,” offering a “deep dive into Sullivan’s programs.”
Ultimately, Harrison contends, “Whether producing a commercial video or an alumni testimonial, we are in the business of telling stories. I look at each project as a chance to tell a powerful story. If we can do that, we have succeeded.”
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