Creating a successful campaign that is both corporate and creative can seem like a tall order – perhaps even a little contradictory. But creativity is essential if you want your business to stand out and really make an impact in the student market.
That’s particularly true when you’re targeting students. Young people have a long history of cynicism towards large corporations, and don’t want to feel that they are being patronised or belittled. What’s more, students these days are part of the first generation of true digital natives. That makes them an even more challenging market, as these tech-savvy youngsters can be indifferent to traditional ad campaigns. To get them on board, it helps to think in a different way and create a campaign that’s truly unusual and unlike anything else you have ever produced.
Cash-strapped student societies and events are always on the lookout for sponsors. Given that the average university has hundreds of societies and clubs, it should be possible to find one that’s a good fit for your brand. A sponsorship arrangement could take on many forms, from freebies and loyalty cards in fresher’s packs for new members to naming an event or providing a prize for a competition. No matter which path you choose, brand recognition increases, and students will associate your brand with a cool part of campus life rather than a brand which they feel alienated by.
Sponsorship of a student club or society can lead to a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship that could last years, and provide your company with thousands of new clients.
Digital Student Publications
If you’re trying to reach students, mainstream media isn’t a great choice. This is one sector of society that doesn’t watch a lot of TV, listen to the radio, or read many national newspapers. However, most students are constant tech users, who stay up to date with student-targeted publications.
To get your brand name out there, you can look at individual universities’ newspapers, which are invariably online nowadays, or cast a wider net by targeting popular student websites and forums which welcome users from across the country. Either way, ensuring that your content is relevant to their lives – focused on students’ specific needs – should pay off.
For a truly creative solution, transform your brand into a real talking point with experiential on-campus marketing. Posters can be ignored and flyers end up in the bin, but a hands-on interaction with your product or service will make a lasting impression.
Set up shop on campus, and prepare to invite students to engage or interact with you in a unique manner. We at British American Group did this when Amazon launched its new Amazon Student service. During Fresher’s Week, we hit 108 different campuses with display stands and £5 sign-up incentives. Our student ambassadors – all kitted out in branded hoodies – ensured that students knew exactly how to use the new service, and what benefits they could expect. 426,000 students were physically reached over the course of the campaign!
This is the kind of experience that students will spread by word of mouth, too. If your campaign is creative and unusual enough to get them talking, the battle is already won.