UVic Edge campaign

Indigenous law student Carolyn Belleau in Alkali Lake, BC
Carolyn Belleau, one of 26 students entering the Indigenous law program, is featured in an ad targeted at leaders.

Reputation is a key factor in our competitive post-secondary education environment, especially in the competition for the best students, faculty and staff, for donors, partners, and funders, and for national and international standing.

In 2014, UVic set out to sharpen its narrative to create a compelling answer to the question “why UVic?” over other top universities for these audiences, and to create a platform that could support reputation-building initiatives and activities across campus. The culmination of this process was the identification of the three essential ingredients that define who we are today and which set a bold path for how we will remain a university of choice in the future. We call it the UVic Edge.

The Edge is how we distinguish ourselves so that our audiences clearly understand what sets us apart from other institutions. To further that effort, UVic ran brand awareness campaigns in fall 2016 and 2017 aimed at opinion leaders and prospective undergraduate students. This campaign supported an overall strategy to challenge, change and evolve perceptions of our university. Post-campaign research showed that after only one year, audiences in key regions and areas demonstrated increased awareness, understanding and interest in UVic, with a more differentiated view of our university.

Goals

The primary goal of the campaign continues to be to challenge, change and evolve perceptions of UVic, using the Edge as a platform.

The opinion leaders campaign is running in Victoria, Vancouver and Ottawa, built around the vital impact, depth and breadth of our featured strengths. The campaign landing pages will serve as a portal to audience members interested in learning more about UVic’s strengths and how they can partner with us in areas that matter to them.

The student campaign is running in Metro Vancouver, with a focus on building the association between "UVic" and the concept of an "Edge” and on dynamic learning. It’s keyed around the efforts of Student Recruitment and Global Engagement and is highly targeted, coordinated and geo-located to leverage the school visits of their recruitment teams. The initiative is backed by a strong “Why study at UVic” website.

Given the breadth of media vehicles and the extent to which audiences are bombarded with advertising every day, the campaign will again use a simple and engaging message, creatively executed, to stand out. Both the opinion leaders and student ads carry the theme of "The Edge is here," but use different tactics and ways to demonstrate it.

Background

In 2015, UVic unveiled the results of a university-wide, consultative initiative to develop a new institutional positioning: the UVic Edge. The goal of the project was to renew and sharpen UVic’s messaging in response to changes in the university and external environments, in order to remain, in an increasingly competitive sector, a university of choice for students, faculty, staff, donors, employers and the communities UVic serves.

The unveiling of the Edge was the start of a process to introduce it to the campus community and support its active adoption by all units, building a firm internal foundation upon which to construct external communications and marketing.

2015 and 2016 were spent building internal understanding of and momentum for the Edge, and beginning to introduce it to certain external audiences. Last year’s ad campaign was the first major initiative that focused on external awareness of and familiarity of UVic within the context of the Edge. There are many communications and marketing initiatives that contribute to awareness and familiarity as by-products, but their objectives are more tactical, such as promoting a program, an event or a university achievement. While advertising can serve a tactical function to support any of these initiatives, for overall positioning it’s better used as a method of delivering simple and powerful messages.

Advertising continues to play a strong supporting role in advancing UVic’s reputation, but it takes place within a larger strategic context, with institutional activities and initiatives that target key audiences in Greater Vancouver and Ottawa, and recruitment strategies that target students in regions of BC, Alberta and Ontario.

The success of the 2016 and 2017 campaigns was in part measured by pre-and post-campaign market research that gauged and evaluated audience perceptions and awareness of UVic and the Edge, measuring shifts over time. Results showed statistically significant increases in key metrics for prospective undergraduate students after only one year. Qualitative feedback and enhanced web traffic also demonstrated positive results for the leaders campaign. Through analyzing the research, factoring in learnings from year one and consulting with key stakeholders, we identified tweaks and areas of improvement for year two.

Leaders campaign

This Fall 2018 leaders campaign will profile UVic’s strengths in Indigenous law and oceans/climate research. The focus on these two strengths will help support key initiatives such as launch of the Indigenous law program and the Oceans Climate Campus at Queenswood.

  • Four ads (two on Indigenous law and on two oceans/climate research) will run in newspapers, magazines and airports
  • A series of ads with proof points about these strengths will run on news sites and in e-newsletters
  • Videos will run on various social media channels
  • Stories will run in various publications
  • Landing pages will feature resources, stories and more in-depth information about each strength

Students campaign

The students ads will run on public transit, outdoors, high schools and online. They’ll again use a graphic approach, with the same tagline as the leaders ads. A second phase of the campaign is in development, which will use social media to profile dynamic learning opportunities.

Ad schedule

This chart (xlsx) gives an overview of what ads are running where and when. Some dates are subject to change.