One of the most important questions to ask about any marketing project is: who is the audience? For universities, this audience can vary – from teenagers just leaving school, to adults of any age looking to become mature students. Different courses cater to different kinds of people, and will have to answer completely different questions from their audiences.
As a creative media company ourselves, some of our favourite projects to work on for universities have been promotional videos for creative courses in subjects like Music, Art, and Design. Here are a few of the insights we’ve gained on what a video needs in order to inspire the imagination and creativity of prospective students.
Most obviously, it’s important to inspire prospective students and show them how your course can hone their ideas and skills. There are lots of ways that you can use video to showcase previous student work, and to give students a preview of the facilities and resources they’ll be working with. We worked on an event video for this graduate fashion show, for example, and made a short documentary-style video introducing viewers to the augmented reality technology employed by Visual Communications students.
One of our best examples is the video below that we worked on with Birmingham City University’s Jazz department. This video – from the get-go – employs a playful, fast editing style that reflects the energy of jazz, while highlighting the expertise of the staff, the state-of-the-art studio facilities, and the many opportunities available to students.
There are many aspects to creativity that aren't as objectively measurable as the skills and characteristics required for other courses. Therefore, prospective students may have all manner of questions about what their mindset and expectations should be when embarking on a creative arts degree.
One of the most useful pieces of work we’ve helped to produce in this regard is a video series about developing a portfolio when applying for courses in art and design subjects. These videos feature interviews with lecturers, in which they talk about what interests them about prospective students’ portfolios.
In the video below, for example, a lecturer from BCU’s School of Art reassures prospective students, clarifying that he’s just as interested in a student’s potential and passion for the subject as he is in the technical ability and experience that they’ve already accrued. This kind of content can help students to make informed choices when trying to put together a portfolio.
One criticism often levelled against the creative industries has been their lack of diversity. One possible reason for this is that it’s not always clear where to start: a 2020 survey conducted by the Bridge Group found that “responses [suggested] that [arts] recruitment can often feel opaque and that some potential recruits start at a disadvantage.”
A promotional video, as well as promoting what students can do on your course, can also be a valuable tool for letting students know about the opportunities that they can pursue after graduation. Alumni profiles can be a great way of doing this: one that we made for City, University of London features a former MA Music student talking about how the course helped her to meet future collaborators, and to get commissioned to compose music for festivals all over the world.
Another video that we made for BCU’s School of English was all about presenting the wide range of professional applications for creative skills – including areas like social media marketing, radio production, and even board game development.
From a university marketing perspective, different courses pose different challenges and demand different approaches. When promoting creative arts courses, thinking in detail about the complex issues faced by students and the creative industries at large can lead to content that helps prospective students to make the best decisions at every stage of their journey – from applying to university, all the way to finding their first job in the famously competitive creative industries.