Video Trends in Student Recruitment Strategy
As a video production company with a specialism in Higher Education, it’s very much in our interest to keep on top of the latest developments in student recruitment strategy and recognise some of the challenges and opportunities the sector is facing.
With the current recruitment cycle being one of extreme fluctuation and uncertainty due to the pandemic, it’s evident that some of the ‘usual’ recruitment activities aren’t particularly viable. This has meant however, that there is the opportunity to explore different creative approaches to student recruitment, and with more and more younger people using video as their primary source of information and research, it’s clear that going forward, video and animation will continue to have an essential, positive role to play within student recruitment strategy.
The Online Experience
From our perspective, we’ve seen an increase in the commissioning of virtual open days and campus tours, as this type of content is the best option for a student to ‘place themselves’ within a university environment. There’s also been an increase in commissions involving more use of animation and stock footage; formats that do not necessarily involve the perceived risks currently associated with studio or on-site filming. For example, here’s a video we did recently for the University of Warwick that involved using nothing but stock footage…
And with an audience that’s becoming increasingly comfortable seeing smart phone footage within mainstream programming and news, there’s been a general increase and acceptance of user-generated content; usually produced independently by the content’s author and shot from more comfortable and accessible locations such as living rooms; or shot ‘on the go’ in and amongst the action.
We’ve seen a rise in the consumption of podcasting to, as this is a reactive, easily produced format that can offer a ‘deep dive’ into any given subject and engage viewers over a longer period of time. It’s also extremely cost-efficient and easily accessible.
It’s clear that the quality of the content (rather than aesthetic approach) is paramount, however, it’s worth noting that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individual institutes to stand out from the pack, as more and more content takes a similar approach and format to its overarching recruitment campaigns. Where choices are limited, for an institute to stand out, it has to find a way to go beyond that.
Values & Ethics
Primarily, students are looking to see how a university aligns with their own personal values and find an institute that understands and recognises their concerns and aspirations. An institute that is willing to put its own values and ethics front and centre, to show how its research excellence drives positive change on global issues (climate crisis, gender equality etc) or highlights how an individual can make a difference to these global challenges, will have a very powerful and unique recruitment tool. Alongside this, the ’usual’ challenges for HE recruitment are still there, and these remain significant.
At Slate and Mortar, we’re proud of the student recruitment work we’re doing, and our latest recruitment showreel offers a cross-section of just some of the campaigns we’ve worked on over the past years. It offers a selection of video recruitment campaigns designed for TV & cinema distribution, alongside smaller, departmental and FE based projects for online distribution. It shows examples of our collaborative-working with comms teams, independent schools, university departments and digital agencies. Primarily though, it shows how we offer video recruitment content that encourages viewer engagement and offers prospective students an accurate, authentic picture of what university or college life is really like.
If you are interested in chatting through your ideas or are thinking about using video or animation for your student recruitment strategy, we’d love to hear from you.
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