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.

One million views and counting

Posted by Neil Finlay | 0 comments

In the week that the UWE Bristol YouTube channel burst through the one million views barrier I thought it’s a good time to share some interesting little facts that say big things about the power of video and why we are investing time and money in enhancing our marketing and academic video output.

Viewing figures

In the last 30 days the UWE Bristol channel has had 63,000 views across our 450 or so videos. Sounds quite impressive doesn’t it? It sounds even better when you consider that the views translate to 78,000 minutes or about 54 days viewing time. That is an incredible amount of direct engagement with individuals spending a good deal of their quality time in our company.

Global reach

This is worldwide stuff as well. In those 30 days our videos have been watched in 151 countries. The top 5 include USA, Egypt, Brazil and Hong Kong as well as the UK and all of these countries have well over 1,000 views each. We’re spreading the UWE Bristol message around the globe.

Virtual open day

On the marketing front our virtual open day suite of videos are proving successful with 25 videos clocking up nearly 60,000 views since their release. We have no way of directly attributing recruitment figures to videos but the high quality production values and the above average viewer retention signifies engaged viewers. We’re making a positive impression and increasing brand recognition at the very least.

Academic profile raising

It’s not all about big numbers either. Our Distinguish Executive Address interviews and public lectures may have views in the hundreds rather than thousands but the combined reach of these videos across the academic and business communities means that our videos are working 24 hours a day to raise the profile of UWE Bristol in a multitude of niche areas.

Keep the camera rolling

There is compelling evidence that video is an essential tool in marketing and that the audience is becoming more and more particular about what they watch. Our videos are doing a great job of promoting the University… but we need to keep raising our game. As our competitors improve their video output so must we look to keep one step ahead or pick up our pace to catch up.

Thanks must go to all our video producers across the university who I know are going the extra mile and striving to raise the standards of our homegrown output with limited resources. Your efforts are definitely worthwhile, as proven by our big hitting news video about urine power which has over 130,000 views.

There are more exciting projects in the pipeline so keep your eyes on our channel. I’m certain that the next million views will happen a lot more quickly than the first.

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.


Shrewbot to feature on The One Show tonight

Posted by Mary Price | 1 comment

Jane Kelly from the UWE Media Relations team has teamed up with Professor Tony Pipe in Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL) and the press offices at the University of Bristol and the University of Sheffield to highlight the amazing Shrewbot that will feature on BBC1 ‘The One Show’ tonight at 19:00.

Photo caption: Shrewbot


Read the press release here.

See the YouTube film here put together by Adam Pinfold in IT services.

Shrewbot is the latest in a series of robots which use ‘active touch’ rather than vision to navigate their environment.

The Shrewbot has been developed at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Active Touch Laboratory as part of the BIOTACT project, Professor Tony Pipe (UWE Bristol) and Professor Tony Prescott (University of Sheffield) are working on the Shrewbot project with a number of partners.  BRL is collaboration between UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol.

The Sheffield Centre for Robotics (SCentRo)
combines the expertise from both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

The Etruscan shrew is nocturnal, relying on its whiskers to find, track and capture its prey – often the same size as itself.  The efficiency of this tiny creature has inspired scientists to look at ways of replicating the shrew’s whiskers to enable robots to find their way around without the use of vision.


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