Marketing and Communications blog

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Here's to snap-happy parents and graduation selfies

Posted by Richard Tatnall | 0 comments

Graduation is one of the most significant milestones in the life of any student and an opportunity for us as a university to give them the send-off they deserve. From a social media perspective, this means capturing the attention of graduates and saying congratulations in style. 

Awards ceremonies are fuelled by proud, snap-happy parents and graduation selfies which inevitably finds their way onto a treasure trove of social media channels. To capitalise on this appetite for visual content, a campaign celebrating student success would need to be social to the core. Enter then, the UWE Bristol Instagram frame.  A quick hat tip to Ithaca College at this point, which has previously employed this idea to showcase its scenic campus. 

Why Instagram? 

As a platform to emulate, Instagram fitted the bill perfectly and not just for its emphasis on photography. The setting of UWE’s graduation ceremonies, Bristol Cathedral and College Green, lend themselves perfectly to Instagram’s vintage filters – who doesn’t enjoy Norman, Gothic architecture through a Kelvin filter? And while the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have their lovers and haters in varying measures, Instagram holds the greatest universal respect among our primary audience meaning we were able to strike the perfect cheesey/innovative balance.

Loaded with the appropriate hashtags to maximise both reach and engagement, the frame brought a new twist to the normal graduation photography and one which nicely put UWE’s social presence front and centre.

Maximising the reach

As well as providing a means to add branding to graduation photography, the frame also enabled the conversation around the ceremonies on social media to continue well beyond the events themselves. With an average of 100 photographs from each of the four faculties’ award ceremonies, UWE Bristol’s Facebook page was well stocked with highly shareable content for the whole two weeks of graduation. 

As soon as albums were posted, graduates would start to tag themselves, friends and family in the individual photographs causing engagement with the Facebook page to snowball. Some photographs received more than 50 engagements each, while the organic reach of each faculty album broke the page record that had been set by the one before – all breaking the 20,000 impression mark.

Naturally UWE’s Instagram channel was also ultilised by hosting a selection of the best shots from each ceremony and, as with UWE’s Twitter feed, signposting audiences to the full Facebook albums.

The life of the campaign doesn’t end there however. The Instagram frame photographs have been widely used as Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars, giving the campaign a much longer lifespan and further extending the reach of the original albums. There’s also an outdoor advertising campaign in the pipeline which features a selection of the Instagram frame photographs to further maximise the multi-channel potential of the campaign.

The real measure of success

The greatest result of the campaign however was the reaction of the graduates and their families to being photographed with the frame. As soon as it was brought out each day, people were queuing up to use it in their photographs; experimenting with different ways to pose with it (unsurprisingly the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education scooped the originality award); and flocking to photograph their sons and daughter in full on celebratory mode. The frame was able to capture the triumphant mood of the ceremonies and truly social to the core.

Virtual Open Day filming

Posted by Jo Docker | 4 comments

It is a long term goal to create a virtual open day experience for prospective students and their parents. We want to showcase the many attributes that UWE has to offer. The first step is to produce campus tour films for Frenchay, Bower Ashton, and Glenside and 18 short films based on subject areas.

This suite of videos, which will cater for all our primary audiences, will be used for a number of different promotional purposes, for example they will be embedded on each departmental landing page of the University website to act as a stand-alone introduction to the department/subject area.

Things are starting to take shape

Over the last few months we have been working with a Bristol based production team on the first phase of filming for this project.

Staff in Engineering, Allied Health, Law and Education helped us to organise a set of filming days where we have interviewed academics, researchers, students and employers. We also shot a number of practical sessions to showcase teaching and learning in action.

Filming at the Faculty of Environment and Technology and Creative Industries 2013 degree shows has given us some great material which will also feed into the final subject videos.

The June Open Day gave us the perfect opportunity to shoot some footage of the general hubbub that these events attract and capture some of the fantastic activities that take place across our campuses.

The next phase of filming will begin at the start of the Autumn Term when the campuses come back to life.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in this first phase of the project. Watch this space for more updates…

The UWE videowall

Posted by Neil Finlay | 2 comments

In my last post about our YouTube channel I mentioned the work that we have been doing to produce a suite of videos highlighting student success stories where UWE has played a central role.

The complimentary feedback and popularity of the videos has meant that more are planned and other text based stories have been added to the mix. This gave rise to a problem - how do we create an attractive and intuitive web interface to navigate this ever-growing family of stories?

u+we stories videowall

The solution has now been published as our u+we stories scrolling videowall. This graphically rich and interactive new feature of the UWE website allows us to present the stories along with titles, and summaries that appear when you roll over a tile with the mouse.

Scrolling videowall

Digital marketing

The tiles that make up the wall can, and will, be reshuffled for campaign reasons or when new stories come online, giving us a flexible and expandable resource. Our videowall is already playing an integral part in the current international recruitment campaign.

Many thanks to our friends in IT Services for the technical wizardry.

Hope you like it.


UWE YouTube Channel - the latest look

Posted by Neil Finlay | 2 comments

If you are a regular YouTube user you will have noticed that they have been busy introducing new page layouts and other improvements over the last couple of months. Last week saw the roll-out of the new channel options, and as we at UWE like to be at the vanguard we have already implemented a new look.

Featured videos

As you will see when you visit our channel the new layout allows us to promote a selection of ‘Featured videos’ alongside our opening presentation. The timing of this change is at an opportune moment for us as it coincides with the release of a new batch of excellent UWE videos produced by Bristol based video production company, Back to the Planet.

Student stories

This latest video project work has seen the realisation of a strategic change in approach and style for our marketing films. With this new collection we have asked UWE students and recent graduates to tell their own stories and present an authentic opinion on aspects of UWE life. From the footage we have produced short snappy narratives complemented by a distinctive documentary style with a professional gloss achieved brilliantly by our friends at Back to the Planet.

UWE Tube

Keep an eye on our ‘UWE Tube’ channel page for all sorts of new releases or to see the results of our video project so far you can go straight to the ‘u+we student stories’ playlist.

Great workshop

Posted by Richard West | 0 comments
With our sector undergoing so many changes Emma O and Euro RSCG Heist have been talking to (to name a few) students, staff, applicants, enquirers and alumni. They've been looking at attitudes, expectations and reputations (hope I got that right Em), and the team met this week to start turning the outcomes into creative ideas.

With the amount we have on at the moment the prospect of an afternoon away from everything isn't always welcome - but Jim ran a great workshop.

By getting us to chat, jot, draw and do the odd bit of shouting - he managed to pull an impressive set of ideas from us.

Along with strong plans we're taking forward now, there were some really wonderful, if slightly off-the-wall, concepts. We'll now have to make sure they don't get forgotten, and they do (eventually) see the light of day!

Thanks Jim