How UCAS' Just so you know campaign utilised peer-to-peer content to provide students with support and clarity leading up to Clearing.
Working on the ‘Just So You Know’ campaign with UCAS offered a unique opportunity: not only were students experiencing the ‘unprecedented’ in terms of their exams, grades and applications, but they were also pretty overwhelmed with messages telling them to act. Online life had become exhausting over lockdown.
Bombarded with directional calls to action from institutions over the clearing and confirmation period, UCAS wanted to develop a campaign that offered advice and support that was from a place of empathy and reassurance.
Because they were already monitoring student sentiment closely, they were attuned to the range of emotions and experiences students would be going through over the course of the Summer and wanted a campaign to reflect that. Here’s how we developed the Just So You Know campaign, its messaging framework and content plan.
Mapping the Content Brief to Emotion
We know that youth audiences are often mis-served by catch-all campaigns that treat the audience as one homogenous group, so early on we mapped out the different types of emotions and experiences students might be going through. From being nervous about results through to being really excited, we needed content that could meet the range of emotions they’d be going through. This allowed us to outline the types of content that would help students who could be experiencing different levels of excitement and nerves as well as answer questions they were typically asking.
We know that students engage with content from their peers positively and students who were experiencing higher education during the pandemic were the best placed to offer practical, relatable advice, support and encouragement. We put students at the heart of the campaign and approached universities across the sector to get involved. We also sought input from admissions staff who could give practical, helpful advice and tips on how to manage clearing, putting people behind the process for students to relate to.
Mapping the Messages
As well as having a content plan that allowed flexibility to suit different student experiences, we also wanted to provide messaging that reflected the timeline of clearing and confirmation as well as the run up to attending university for the first time. We mapped messages and content ideas based on the breadth of clips received from universities to each week leading into and beyond results day. This enabled the team to quickly source clips that would work with their overarching content plan and best meet the experiences of students. For instance, things to do to relax and prepare for results day running at the right time, versus how to use your summer to prepare for life at Uni.
Having a communications plan to engage a breadth of institutions with the campaign enabled the team to source content that would suit the breadth of young people it was trying to reach. This ultimately gave the team a variety of content to use across the Summer and flexibility to dial up certain themes over the course of the cycle.
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