British Council wanted to better understand European students’ perspectives and behaviours related to Brexit, as well as their interest in studying in the UK. 

To do this, we implemented a ‘test and learn’ framework, devising different messages and strategies in order to further explore students’ perceptions from countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Poland. ​

Pillar 1: The perception that the UK is no longer welcoming to EU students, while the truth is that the UK remains open to students from all over the world.

Pillar 2: The perception that studying in the UK is too expensive, while our belief would be that a UK degree is worth the cost.

Pillar 3: The perception that the UK university application process is too confusing and difficult to navigate, while in reality, with practical support, the process will become easier.

Under each pillar, two tonal variations of messaging were used; one with a more emotive tone and one with a more rational tone. For example, under Pillar 1, you’d find the emotive messaging framed in a way such as ‘You’re welcome to study here’ and ‘You’ll fit right in’, while the rational counterpart looked like ‘The UK is diverse’ and ‘The UK offers internationally-recognised degrees’.

The objective of this campaign was to gain an understanding of what most resonated with European students, and which content gained the highest conversion rates, so that the British Council could implement this in future advertising campaigns.

The results?

Tangible learnings from this campaign have since been taken away by the British Council to plan and strategise their next campaigns targeting European students. The design of the test and learn framework, with three messaging pillars and two tonal variations, allowed us to break down our findings by pillar and platform.

The campaign performed exceptionally well, delivering 39% more impressions and 40% more clicks than expected and a 29% decrease in cost per click. However, more importantly, the British Council now has a very clear plan of action for their next campaign, underpinned by the findings from this research.