What would you rather prospective students know about you and your university?

That you’re intelligent, innovative, creative and forward-thinking?

Or that you’ve got a large library?

Without wanting to knock any libraries of any size, it’s surely more important your potential intake feels they’re going to a place which is… well, going places. An institution which has the intellectual and educational right stuff, and will treat them to a double-dose of the very same.

As far as universities are concerned, the key to conveying the above-cited qualities through their video content is via brand positioning. After all, UK universities ARE brands. Each one has its own unique identity, its own history and heritage, and its own rules on how it presents itself.

But when it comes to that video content, UK universities can tend not to behave much like brands…

When BMW, for example, makes a video ad for its latest model, is that model given the hard sell, with every feature being pored over in prosaic detail, and its overall excellence being proclaimed via interviews with the head of the company, the head of a dealership, and three people who’ve bought BMWs and quite like them?

Er, not so much.

Rather than unleashing an onslaught of specifics, leading commercial brands instead tend to focus on delivering content that is cool, contemporary and relevant, with this then directly feeding into how the viewer sees them as a brand overall.

The key is creating a mood, conveying a feeling. But while ‘Show, don’t tell’ is one of the most basic tenets of filmmaking, many UK universities still revert to the mind-set of ‘Facts first, sensation second’.

Here, though, are a couple of exceptions…

CASE STUDY # 1: Liverpool John Moores University, ‘Exactly What I’m Looking For

Talking heads and sound-bites are given the ol’ heave-ho, in favour of a student-centric perspective on the university experience, highs ‘n’ lows alike. The commercial soundtrack exudes energy, while the stylish aesthetic makes for a video which is bold, contemporary and aspirational.

CASE STUDY # 2: The University of East Anglia, ‘Access All Areas

Lasting less than a minute, but made up of around 100 different shots.

Not a word is spoken, but sound makes a big contribution.

Yes, this video is a fun, fast-paced and inventive introduction to UEA, and it’s all over and out in less time than it takes local c’leb Delia Smith to sink a few jars at the footie.

Take a look at our own student recruitment work here

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