What if? Designworks and University of Canterbury look to the future to sort out the present

Designworks has just completed work to reposition the University of
Canterbury and help attract prospective students, which has been a bit
of struggle since the earthquakes. And it is urging Canterbury
businesses to follow the university’s lead and take a fresh look at
their positioning if they want to grow in the future. 

According to the Otago Daily Times,
The University of Canterbury “recorded a five percent drop in its
enrolment figures from new students alongside a ten percent drop in
applications from international students for the 2012 academic year”.
Total applications to enrol, however, were up 15 percent on the same
time last year.


Designworks, which recently re-established its office in the city
after it was levelled in the quake, developed a new strategy and visual
expression for the university to help differentiate it from other
education providers, with a recruitment campaign spanning TV (which was
shot by Flying Fish), outdoor and digital that focuses on what makes the
University world class.

The university is also planning a series of recruitment events and
the website has also been re-designed. And while the university has
retained its existing logo and crest, the campaign has boosted the use
of Canterbury colours.

UC now encourages students to ‘Be prepared
to change the world’ and intentionally highlights challenging research
through provocations such as ‘What if you could buy a new heart over the
counter?’, ‘What if we learnt te reo to delay Alzheimers?’ and ‘What if
we treated robots as our equals?’ in a step that Carl Pavletich, branch
manager of Designworks Christchurch, says moves UC away from the
generic ‘lifestyle’ appeal common to much of the education sector.

perceptions of Christchurch have changed and the business dynamic has
changed. The earthquakes have offered Christchurch an opportunity to
move to a more mature stance and away from chocolate boxes and postcards
of a meandering river. The research we carried out with the University
of Canterbury demonstrated it, like many organisations in the region,
needed a strong value proposition to stand out in what’s an incredibly
competitive marketplace.”

“… The campaign has refocused the brand
around the university’s core value—as a world class place of learning,”
he says. “The new visual expression also ramps up the local pride. We
wanted to focus on the university’s world class teaching and research
and tailor the campaign to different target audiences, whether that’s
international or domestic students.”

David Williams, University of
Canterbury’s marketing manager, says the University recognised the
importance of developing a strong brand position to reach its goals “and
this campaign provides us with an opportunity to clearly position
ourselves as a relevant university delivering outstanding research and
teaching in a competitive world”.

Designworks also works with Air
New Zealand (specifically on the fast check-in counters and the
Skycouch), Tait Communications (which it recently rebranded), AMI Insurance, Monteith’s, Telecom and Silver Fern Farms.

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