CREATING STABILITY FOR UON IN
A WORLD OF CHANGE
“We continue to steer and influence all contributors in delivering a consistent brand experience.”
The University of Northampton (UON) was a university in transition at the beginning of 2017. As part of their 2020 vision, UON had undertaken a significant rebrand, was in the process of developing a new town centre campus, and was restructuring their academic syllabus.
With the traditional HE landscape shifting ever-closer to a consumer-centric model, investment had been made to set UON on a trajectory that would establish them as a true modern university for the connected world.
Against this backdrop of change, strong UG recruitment was essential to future successes. Creating cut through that resonated with domestic and international students from diverse backgrounds, seeking real-world outcomes.
Although a new brand had been delivered by a previous agency, its details only went so far. Therefore, it was our responsibility to translate the core premise into a design language that had consistency and versatility.
For a rollout across multiple channels to be effective, for all stakeholders, we needed to create a clear and robust visual strategy at the same time as developing the UG recruitment campaign.
To add further complexity, changes to the syllabus meant that the UG campaign content had to remain ‘flexible’, with the opportunity to develop the content over the year.
Feedback from UON’s UG community engagement showed that a tangible printed prospectus was still very much in demand with students, parents, sponsors, colleges and career advisors. So to overcome the ‘flexible content’ challenge a hybrid prospectus was proposed, made up of two constituent parts – a distilled printed piece and a digital platform in the form of an editable app.
Working with UON’s marketing team and specialist publishing platform, Better Than Paper, we created a unified vision of how this mixed media prospectus would work. We used the previous year’s course pages, that were going to change, and converted them into an XML format to transfer directly into the app’s pre-defined stylesheets. The result was a massive time and resource saving.
With a distilled printed prospectus, it gave us the opportunity to be bold, confident and succinct – a statement piece that reflected the new UON brand. It also gave us room to amplify key messages without fear of drowning out other important information.
The digital app part of the prospectus became the ever-evolving information platform that was all about detail – from updates on the new campus to events, videos, case studies, open days and, most importantly, course details.
To maintain a sense of unity with the two formats, we made the printed piece a gateway to the digital detail, creating graphical sign posts and calls-to-action that directly related to accessing more information.
To accompany this unique prospectus combination, our advertising campaign introduced the new brand’s core themes of encouragement and support through its messaging. This in turn set-the-scene for the wider brand development, across all UON assets.
Within the midst of ongoing change, our UG recruitment campaign captured a student community who were inspired by the positive nature of where UON was heading and what it could do for them.
The versatile approach to the prospectus, unexpectedly, brought together internal teams from across the University by creating an atmosphere of contribution and ownership to the changing content. This led to richer content creation and broad collaboration not experienced before at this scale.
As UON brand guardians, we continue to steer and influence all contributors in delivering a consistent brand experience across many of the University’s touchpoints.
“The whole MA team have provided excellent creative services and have supported us with the introduction of our new brand.”
Susan Parris, Marketing and Advertising Manager, University of Northampton