University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia’s Number One young university*, regularly hosts UTS Open Days for prospective students in Sydney—big, festival-like events covering the whole campus to showcase students’ work, faculty strengths and what makes UTS different. It had however never attempted to showcase their course offerings at this scale for any offshore markets, but with China being a priority market for UTS and its pathway provider UTS:INSEARCH, this was going to change. In 2016, UTS reached out to Red Bridge to bring its first offshore Open Day event to Beijing, China.
* UTS is Australia’s highest ranking university in the Times Higher Education THE 100 Under 50 rankings for 2017, a ranking of the world’s top universities that were founded in the last 50 years. It’s UTS’s third number one placement in Australia in the Times Higher Education ranking.
Set the standard for future offshore UTS events, as well competitor’ events in China, through the successful delivery of the:
Event ideation and management
Integrated promotion of UTS China Open Day
Recruitment of prospective high school or postgraduate students and their parents
Profiling of UTS as one of Australia’s leading universities
Trigger the driving factors of student decision making
INSIGHTS & STRATEGIES
In order to create a holistic campaign that recruits and builds brand awareness for UTS in China’s overseas education ecosystem, Red Bridge studied what drove Chinese students to select UTS as their university, against the larger macro backdrop of key trends in the overseas study sector.
Further, based on our experience overseeing UTS:INSEARCH’s on-going integrated communication program, Red Bridge understood from the FAQs that the huge wealth of study abroad information available was actually confusing students and leaving them overwhelmed. As such, Red Bridge advocated a strategy of simplification – identifying the ‘Big Four” questions our targets were most concerned about and building our communication pillars around them.
The strategy was simple— make it ‘practical and fun’
Provide practical information that responds to the Big Four to assist students with their decision-making process
Utilise faculty and alumni to ensure that all student questions are answered to reassure decision making
Leverage UTS’s positioning as Australia’s Number One young university and stand out in the market with fun vibrant creative visuals
Use call-to-action language, leveraging videos and HTML5 as key tools for engagement
Make the event a fun memorable ‘UTS campus experience’ to generate WOM amongst the target audience
Online and offline, from two months out
With WeChat and Weibo as the primary channels for communicating with students, Red Bridge developed a rigorous two-months campaign. Event promotions were amplified through KOLs and aggregators, original branded videos were paired with introductions of attending faculties and individual courses; we even developed a ‘bring a friend’ giveaway campaign to drive O2O engagement. And of course all promotional materials were emblazoned with our WeChat QR code—no opportunities for new fan recruitment were missed.
HTML5 Registration Mini-Site
Red Bridge developed an HTML5 registration page to sit within WeChat, approaching potential students on their own turf.
With high school and university students a niche group to target, Red Bridge identified key Beijing based high schools, universities and local communities for strategic partnerships to ensure that our event information penetrated wide and deep amongst the right community groups. A partnership agreement was signed with the Student Union of Beijing Foreign Studies University, as well as Beijing local aggregators @Beijing Today Info and @Beijing Lives, to promote our campaign information through their official social media platforms.
TigTag Australia, one of the most influential online and social media for overseas study, promoted the UTS China Open Day event through advertisement, BBS, and Weibo postings.
Video Content Seeding
Red Bridge consulted on the creation of engaging videos of UTS’s offerings, academic programs, and key faculty members to raise interest in the event. The branded videos were seeded through our official social media accounts, education aggregators and promoted on China’s top video sites Youku, QQ, iQiyi, Sohu and Sina.
On the event day, a live streaming channel was set up to provide opportunities for students who were unable to attend the event to get a taste of what the campus culture of UTS is like, sit in on faculty sessions and ask questions.
Exclusive TV interview
Leveraging the rare opportunity where UTS Vice-Chancellor and President, key members of faculties, current students and alumni were all present in China, an exclusive TV interview was secured with China’s top education channel, China Education TV to demonstrate the university’s innovative approach, strengths and offerings.
To celebrate the successful launch of UTS China Open Day, a media event was organized to announce several key partnerships with Chinese institutions worth over RMB160 million. 13 carefully selected media from tier 1 newspapers, news portals and education media were invited for an interactive, intimate event; 2 one-on-one interviews with the People’s Daily and Sohu, two of China’s most important media, provided a deep dive into UTS’s holistic approach and China strategy. Lastly, a press release was distributed to a wider media list for further nationwide coverage of the news.
Creative Event Production
With the vision to bring the “real” UTS Open Day experience for prospective students in China, the complete Sydney and UTS campus experience was replicated through Sydney skylines, campus grass green areas, student lounges, live campus videos and a cosplay UTS photo booth to capture the fun student life on campus and foster WOM amongst the education community in China.
Education agent endorsement：
“This was the best school event I have ever attended.”
It’s all in the numbers.
GUESTS AND CUSTOMERS FROM NICHE MARKET ATTENDED THE UTS OPEN DAY
INCREASE IN FAN ACQUISITION ON OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
PAGE VIEWS ON OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
ENGAGEMENTS ON OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
VIDEO VIEWERSHIPS ON OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
INCREASE IN POST-EVENT STUDENT ENQUIRIES
EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE (THAT’S 30% OF THE ENTIRE PROGRAM!) FROM CHINA’S LEADING EDUCATION CHANNEL
MEDIA CLIPS WITH TOTAL PR VALUE OF RMB 5,473,605 AND IMPRESSION OF 347,654,125