When the COVID crisis broke out in early 2020, video production was one of the many industries that found itself met with a whole host of new challenges. As things are slowly coming back to normal, a lot is being said about the wealth of solutions that gained prominence during the pandemic – among them remote filming solutions, and “self-filming” set-ups – and how these are shaping the future of video and marketing.
One of the clients we’ve worked with extensively during this time has been City, University of London. They themselves are part of an industry that has had to evolve in the face of recent obstacles and challenges. So, what has defined their marketing strategy during what has been a unique two years for both video marketing and higher education?
Even during more normal times, taking those first steps into higher education can be daunting and stressful for prospective students. One of the key aims of City’s video content therefore has been to reassure students about the student experience during the pandemic; and student vlogs have proven to be perfect for this.
Self-filmed by the students themselves, with editing and branding by us, these videos create a more relatable and conversational connection with the viewer. This is perfect for communicating real student perspectives to real prospective students, while getting across important information about the nature of online learning, the logistics of using on-campus facilities under COVID restrictions, and how to access student support services.
As well as keeping students informed about the complexities of the present, another effective way of reassuring them about university is to highlight the exciting future opportunities that their courses can open up for them.
Alumni profile videos, many of them taking on that casual and relatable vlog style, are all about showcasing the exciting lives of past City students. From those who have pursued careers with prestigious companies, to those who have found success as creative artists; these students explain how university, and the careers services available, got them to where they are today.
The pandemic hasn’t been the only conversation defining the last two years. Conditions around the world have seen an upsurge in discourse about topics such as social inequalities, climate change, and corporate governance, to name just a few; and a number of the videos we’ve worked on with City have engaged with how the university is striving to impact on these key issues through teaching, research, and their own organisation.
Alongside videos about socially-minded modules on offer, such as “Climate Change and its Impact on the World Economy” and “Managing for Social Purpose”; we also produced videos centred around City’s decision to change the name of their Business School, due to former namesake John Cass’ association with the slave trade. The video below reflects on the thinking behind the name change, and expands on the further actions taken by City to address inequality, and to closely review the institutions that fund the university.
Engaging with such issues that affect society and the wider public is particularly important for universities. As the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement – a body established to further public engagement within the education sector – notes:
“The process of public engagement – open, two-way conversations about what we do and why – helps to build further understanding and appreciation of universities and help universities to better fit their work to the expectations of wider society.”
2020 and 2021 have been a time for reflection and, in many ways, that has been a defining characteristic of the work we’ve done with City, University of London. Their video content has displayed an aim to critically examine their past, reassure students about the present, and look towards a more hopeful future.