Think Student Live went online this year, and we pulled together some of the best industry experts, from branding and strategic marketing to wellbeing. We saw friends from the likes of Middlesex University, Study in Sweden and St George’s, University of London team up with our experts at Akero, Net Natives, Student Hut, Edurank, to bring you the latest insights into the world of student marketing from a range of angles. We even had a live student panel offering first-hand experiences and insights into the 2020 student mindset. But if you missed it, don’t worry. Here are five of our big takeaways from this year’s event:
1. Be brave with branding
Together with our client Study in Sweden, our own Creative Director Charlie discussed all things branding, using real life examples from our recent rebrand for Study in Sweden. We learned that the key to success is learning through research how a brand is truly perceived and how you can shape that perception. With Study in Sweden, we created a bold, innovative campaign that really resonated with the forward-thinking aspects of Swedish culture, after conducting a survey of over 5,000 students into their feelings on the Study in Sweden brand.
2. Get on TikTok
The key to TikTok is understanding what angle you need to take with your content. Once again, it all comes down to what your students care about and what you mean to them. Charlie reminds us to #thinkstudent; focus on what your students really want to see from your brand. Understanding the platform is also key, it’s all about ‘me and my experience’ rather than generic videos of the campus. It needs to be focused on the individual student experience, and that is where you’ll find your niche.
3. Diversity matters
Black British students shared their thoughts with us about inclusivity on campus, and the outcome is that institutions really need to listen carefully to their minority students. From white counsellors to students being told racism isn’t an issue at their university, it’s clear that Black students are being overlooked, and their concerns dismissed. The findings also highlighted a lack of education about Black students’ feelings over specific language that institutions have been using. Terms such as BAME group all minority ethnicities under the same umbrella term, whereas the Black student experience is very different to that of Asian students. It is important for institutions to refer to minority students in their preferred terms, and to listen to Black students to find out what they want to happen to improve inclusivity on campus.
4. Take a deep breath and look after yourself
Among all the tech talk and student insights, we also used the event to reflect on the increasing pressure put on student marketers, and particularly those in leadership positions. Sirin Myles (an international Higher Education specialist and coach) highlighted the importance of looking for signs of stress, and of having awareness of how it is manifesting itself in your teams. She stressed, excuse the pun, that communication is key; talk to your teams, act with compassion and care, and build up a wealth of emotional resources to help alleviate the stress and strains in the workplace in these precarious times.
5. Listen to your students
And what did we learn from our student panel? Overall, the students felt positive about the application process and Clearing this year, despite the government A-level u-turn and tumult. Students also feel supported by virtual open days and events, and are able to continue meeting with their societies in smaller groups to comply with social-distancing rules. However, it has been difficult to attract new members due to the virtual nature of the clubs and fears over Covid-19. The panel felt that students were less engaged than normal because they are tired of being online, but they recognised that universities are trying their best to provide the support they need for distance learning, so keep up the good work.
For more insights on how to #thinkstudent, and to stay up to date with future events, sign up to our newsletter, and to speak to our experts, get in touch today.