University of Canterbury: Real Stories Digital
Digital Strategy + Social Media Optimisation
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- Read about the challenge, solution and result
Facing a potentially significant drop in intake in 2012 following the regions devastating earthquakes, University of Canterbury (UC) had even more to overcome than the usual challenge - of standing out and successfully recruiting their share of new students from within a very competitive regional and national market.
UC needed to drive enrollments among final year high school students, however the UC website was underpowered as a sales tool - for the target audience of 17–18 year olds it was lacking in both appeal and content. A critical part of UC's acquisition campaign would require strong integration with a rich digital experience where potential students could explore the courses and calibre of the UC offering.
The focus was to drive enrolments among final year high school students in the local catchment. Post the earthquakes in Christchurch - validation around ‘new barriers’ was going to be critical. Additionally there was a need to better engage with potential students right through their journey – from consideration to application. A review identified the need to support key audiences (students and influencers) in prime channels more singularly.
Our solution was an integrated campaign with a microsite at its heart. The concept for the microsite was to build it around the stories of seven UC students. We supported this with video content of lecturer cameo's and other typical campus wide journeys and experiences. These stories were told in a short video format, shot in a direct and authentic style to best capture the students’ voices. Peer to peer and connected to real life – the video was shot 'from the hip' and told straight. The solution was delivered through a dedicated site and pointed to from all other components of the acquisition campaign.
The site was integrated with social media and allowed dialogue and interaction with UC. This enabled potential students to gain insight in to and get a real world view the diversity of the UC Colleges and student experiences. The development solution by the DNA dev team delivered a seductive UX with multiple transitions and a smart SM integration.
We recognised the need to; re-establish credibility that UC is viable option; break down perceptions of a compromised University offer in a ruined city; deliver a sense of comfort as to ‘what to expect' at UC; offer up peer guides and experiences; leverage real stories of triumph over adversity; play on the curiosity of people wondering how existing UC students have coped. The microsite and student stories gave us a way to address all, these factors an constantly iterate content and support of this channel.
Check out he site at www.ucan.ac.nz
The site as a critical part of the campaign has seen huge traffic and long site session times across a breadth of the content. The site is getting campaign directed traffic, but also gaining visitors from search and strong traffic from the UC site. Additionally dialogue and enquiry has been strong. The solution was a very cost effective means to create content with a long term appeal to target audiences. This element of the campaign has:
> been vital in filling a glaring gap in the UC interface directly with target Students
> clearly proven that UC was still operating at high levels of service and students were doing well
> become the central element of the campaign
> has take a life of its own as it has been a point of dialogue and integrated with social media
> been an efficient and low cost way to unlock validation around key consideration points.
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The site is still live and going strong, and user numbers are still growing. Youtube views of the video's are in excess of 14k +. In the first 2 months of the campaign the ucan the site saw:
44k + pageviews
20K + unique visitors
1.35 minutes the average time on site.
- Digital Strategy
- Integrated Communication
- Interaction Design
- Personas and Scenarios