Engaging a creative agency is a big decision for any organization, but especially for Canadian postsecondary institutions.
Enrolment pressures and growing competition have made prospective students savvier than ever before when deciding on which institution to attend. Where universities could once bank on their catchment areas to deliver the enrolments they needed, many now find themselves competing for space within the array of options that exist in the minds of students and their parents.
It was with this challenge in mind that Simon Fraser University decided to engage a creative marketing agency in the spring of 2018. Before doing so, though, the university knew that it was crucial to have an evidence-based understanding of the current impact being made by its recruitment materials. After all, postsecondary institutions don’t have the time or resources to be working with ineffective marketing materials. They need to make the most of every touchpoint with prospective students.
That’s why SFU wanted to know more about how students and parents viewed its overall brand and recruitment materials, and how this information could help its team maximize the impact of their resources when developing future enrolment strategies.
To meet its challenge head-on and take control of its enrolment destiny, SFU partnered with Academica Group to conduct an online survey of British Columbian high school students and their parents. This survey measured respondents’ awareness and general perceptions of BC postsecondary institutions, including SFU,. Then, participants had the opportuntiy to review SFU’s viewbook and provide their detailed reactions to and perceptions of the material.
By performing this crucial research, SFU’s team garnered valuable insights into where its recruitment materials were most effectively representing the institution and where they were falling short. Further, having these insights prior to engaging a creative agency gave SFU the opportunity to provide the agency with evidence-based direction that vastly increased their chances of creating materials that could make a real difference in the minds of prospective students and their parents.