From education to employment

Generation Z see through advertising messages – top tips for converting your most sceptical audience

Studies show that now more than ever, consumers have our number. Where millennials generally liked well-made adverts, even if they didn’t always respond, generation Z see right through advertising messages. They know what marketing is trying to do in communications and marketers and advertisers must therefore talk to them without the fluff.

This is the advice that Clearhead’s recently appointed Creative Director, Kieran Simmonds-Sturge will be sharing with their education clients as they continue to support the sector to drive their recruitment figures through powerful advertising campaigns and cutting-edge virtual events.

Kieran says, “The phrase, ‘you’re never smarter than your audience’ has never been more relevant, they are more media literate than those working in the industry and will see through the well-used narratives of recruitment adverts. The trick is to communicate to audiences in a way that feels natural and this is particularly important in the 16 – 21 age group. You can’t use the same techniques that work with other audiences, we need to hit the mediums they’re most using like Snapchat and TikTok and steer away from manipulative language. Communication to this audience needs to be really clear and helpful.

When you look at the digital content sector, we see anti-censorship digital libraries—built in Minecraft—of all places, we have seen entirely 3D generated shop windows and entire festivals hosted digitally. And that’s just a flavour of the new environments to create in; VR and AR, the metaverse, gaming, are all exploding and the education sector needs to keep up with these trends to appeal to students and stand out from the competition.”

Top tips for creating a successful education recruitment campaign

  • Build your awareness online across all channels – Ensure your film has a ‘brand’ and push that out early across different channels and at every touch point. Build in small promo snippets of what’s to come.  
  • Pick the right platform – choose the right platform/s for your audience and use it well. Do your research and look at what has worked well for others in the sector. Seek professional support or advice if trialling a new platform for the first time.
  • Plan your social elements from the start – Wide shots look amazing on a desktop, but are tiny on a phone screen. Social viewers only hang around for three seconds before deciding whether to continue watching – so get to the point, quickly.
  • Involve students throughout the project – Recruit students to take part in pitches and focus groups, to appear on-screen and to feedback on edits.
  • Be specific about what you want to achieve – Losing focus dilutes impact. If you try to communicate too much, you’ll end up saying nothing to no-one.
  • Tie video content into wider campaigns – Take a strategic approach to your video content, planning and promoting it as part of wider campaigns. Could the stars of your promotional film also be featured in the prospectus and in online blogs?
  • Get staff involved early – No matter how brilliant and successful your campaign, internal stakeholders will be most supportive if they feel that they can take some of the credit. Identify early on who needs to be consulted about decisions, and who just needs to be kept informed.

Kieran will be using his previous commercial experience of creating award-winning tv campaigns for high-profile brands to deliver innovative and inspiring campaigns for the education sector.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for virtual events and online content from our education clients and we’re already working on projects to support the next key dates in the education calendar including new term enrolments, open days and fresher’s fairs.

We’re currently working on an exciting initiative which will support up and coming talent within the film sector over the Summer – giving students from across the country the opportunity to come to the Clearhead offices and produce content to support their careers.”

If you’re considering or currently working on a creative campaign for your college or university and would like advice and support on developing the narrative or delivering an empowering and innovative event why not drop Kieran an email and find out how their Creative Chemistry approach can support your recruitment success. 

Clearhead have also created a free education toolkit for ambitious Colleges and Universities which you can access here

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