Somerset is home to 5 FE Colleges who as part of their course provision are also able to offer quality HE courses and qualifications to students. However, research had shown that there seemed to be a significant trend for students leaving the county to take up their HE courses elsewhere. This was proving to contribute to a number of concerning statistics, not least a skills shortage within the county. What was also interesting was that statistics showed that in many cases students moved less than 100 miles from the County suggesting that Somerset still had a pull for them. As a result the 5 colleges were brought together to work in unison under the banner of HE in Somerset. After a successful pitch win, our team were tasked to bring the HE brand to life and encourage local students to ‘think again’ about the amazing HE opportunities that could be accessed right on their doorstep Whilst all colleges were working together to promote the HE message, the campaign still needed to respect the fact that they were all effectively competing with each other for students, and therefore the messaging and tactics had to be sensitive to this.
A county wide campaign that had to avoid confusion with college campaigns was implemented. The first step was developing a strong brand identity - ‘Go Somerset’, positioning Somerset as a great place to stay and study. The tone of the identity served to provide a dynamic, fresh and vibrant route which matched the emotive cues associated with the opportunities that Somerset can provide. A 14 week bus campaign followed using high impact bus sides and bus rears allowing for maximum OTS. Online traffic was driven to a purpose built website supported by online advertising on local website thisissomerset.co.uk and a Google Adwords campaign. In addition all colleges were provided with a toolkit of brand related graphics so that they could integrate the campaign on their own HE focused communications.
GO Somerset campaign launched with tools in place to allow colleges to work together to continue to raise awareness through ongoing Adwords campaigns together with utilising social media. Successful promotion of Somerset as a place to live and study together with an increase in applications to the colleges. Of the campaign, Christopher Brossard, Marketing Manager of Richard Huish College, comments “The GO Somerset project was brought to life by the creative talents of the Earl and Thompson team. They not only had fresh ideas and professionalism, but they were friendly and approachable so they were involved and part of the ‘family’ for the duration of the project. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again”.
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