The University of Surrey knew that to create a fulfilling university experience they needed to listen and respond to the voices of their students. With a low participation rate in the National Student Survey (NSS) presenting an obstacle to this, the University saw an opportunity to increase student participation and improve the institution for all.
Through canvassing opinions, it was identified that the NSS was not perceived to benefit the student base directly and felt like a tick-box exercise. This insight informed the decision to take a fresh approach, speaking to students on a more peer-to-peer level, with a campaign that would make the benefits of participation clear.
We developed a multichannel campaign that worked across print, digital, and social media platforms. The campaign aimed to communicate to the students that the university was open to hearing from them, and that their opinions and feedback were highly valued.
The creative focused on the theme of the survey going ‘live,’ and used exciting and engaging imagery that would not traditionally be associated with a survey. The idea was to link the survey to activities that the student base would be involved in, such as music festivals and other social gatherings. This approach helped to capture the attention of the students and encouraged them to participate in the survey. The campaign was designed to be interactive and engaging, with an incentive of a free t-shirt available to all who completed the survey. The range of communication channels ensured that the campaign reached a wide audience and was able to engage with students through the channels they were most likely to use.
By weaving the message into the student world and using smart, visually engaging imagery and messaging, we were able to make the campaign feel fresh, exciting, and interesting, speaking directly to our target audience on a relatable level. Our use of subtle animation in digital assets added an extra element of fun and engagement, while still effectively delivering a simple message without ever talking down to the audience.
Our innovative and relatable messaging and imagery successfully created a buzz around the survey. Despite setting an initial key performance indicator (KPI) of a 70% completion rate, we exceeded expectations with a completion rate of 80.7%, the highest achieved since 2017. This demonstrated the campaign’s success in engaging students and encouraging them to provide feedback. As a result, the increased participation provided valuable insight into the needs and preferences of the student body, ensuring that every student had a voice.