Creating market differentiation for SHU

Sheffield Hallam University

With a core message of delivering ‘Knowledge Applied’ to every student and partner, SHU has successfully put itself out there as a university that’s solving today’s higher education and work-force needs. To seek out their next batch of cohorts, they needed a campaign that brought out the University’s existing strengths to set them apart from their competitors.


The Partner
In the heart of Yorkshire, Sheffield Hallam University is an institution with a strategy to transform the lives of every student that matriculates, every stakeholder with an interest, and every business that partners with one of its programmes. They do this by focusing on the doing, taking lessons from the classroom and putting them in real-life contexts with hands-on experiences and work placements.

The Challenge
Sheffield Hallam University is surrounded by competitors in big city locations. We needed to develop a campaign that raised high levels of awareness and leveraged SHU’s unique character to guide more students through to enrollment. 

The Insight

One of the distinctive features of SHU’s campus - an Andrew Motion’s poem ‘What if’, written across SHU’s largest building, provided a source of inspiration and a jumping off point to bring practical imagination to the university's proposition. We worked with a local poet to develop a new poem, forming an authentic base for our campaign strategy. The result was ‘Knowledge Applied’ , a poem conveying SHU’s focus on changing the world through practical education that applies knowledge to real problems - ‘Knowledge is one thing but what you do with it will change the world’. 

The Solution
To generate real brand salience and cut through, we needed to be visible across all channels. With video, audio and static assets, we rolled out our adaptable ‘Knowledge Applied’ strategy across social, display, OOH, TV, cinema and radio. We identified high-return offline placements in our target competitor areas, and remarketed to the same regional audiences with phased digital ads, taking students through each step of the recruitment journey.

The Impact
Our work created genuine market differentiation for the University and drove brand affinity for SHU across the North of England and beyond.

YOY increase in student recruitment
Reach over the Knowledge Applied Campaign
Completion rate of VOD

Overall campaign uplift: Direct and Organic traffic up 27% YOY, 466% increase on session duration, 10% increase on pages per session, 5% decrease in bounce rate.