University of Leicester

University of Leicester
Reaching out to a wider audience

How to get the University of Leicester more engaged within the local community. Specifically with under 25 year olds (Gen Z), over 60 year olds and BAME communities in and around Leicestershire.

The University of Leicester are a traditional institution rooted in a rich history. Academically driven, they have been slow to change and adapt for the millennial and subsequent Gen Z market. As such they are viewed as the ‘institution on the hill’ out of reach for the non-student, local community – both physically – “they are out of the city centre” and as a brand – “they do nothing for me, or the city”.

Our approach

Stage 1 was to gain insight from the core target audiences the University wanted to engage with. We conducted a series of focus groups to understand respondent attitudes’ towards the University, the types of other community events they currently attended and why, and what would make them consider going to an event run by the University. We discussed marketing material for a range of current events being held around Leicester to help understand the creative approaches that resonated best with them.

Still to come…

The project is ongoing and we’ll shortly be starting stage 2, holding a series of workshops with the client team before moving on to creative development and a detailed 12 month multi-channel marketing plan.

Our findings

They were mostly finding out about events across the city through word of mouth or social channels – primarily SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook. Posters, flyers and other traditional media were less effective at reaching them.

Creatively, more eclectic and illustrative designs had more impact. Bright colours with bold, short messaging worked best.

Music, food and arts were key drivers in making them consider attending an event.

They were motivated most by ‘holistic’ events – from music and drink through to health and well-being.

They were the only group to mention environment, sustainability, wastage and inclusivity as important factors at events.

Younger people were more engaged with local charities focussed on career support, arts and self expression. They were happy to be associated and involved with them, compared with the older group who did not want to be seen as needing help.

Cultural nuances across different communities had a huge effect on the type of events that people would feel comfortable attending. Ultimately it is important that ‘BAME’ groups are not considered as a single entity.

Our role

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