BAM secure University of Portsmouth Students’ Union media rights
A landmark partnership has been agreed between one of the UK’s most innovative student media owners and the largest student marketing agency.
The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union and student marketing experts BAM have signed a partnership agreement giving BAM sole rights to deliver media sales that connect both local and national businesses with the 26,000 University students in Portsmouth.
The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union is a registered charity with a fundraising trading arm with an annual turnover of £500,000 per year through various social enterprises.
Tom Worman, Managing Director of the charity’s trading company, has said “We’re at a pivotal time for our business as we broaden our portfolio and this partnership agreement will afford us the flexibility and security to progress our wider ambitions.”
“We’ve worked with BAM for many years and they are the nation’s student marketing experts, we believe that combining their expertise with our expanding media portfolio will create a truly powerful partnership.”
The deal further boosts BAM’s media partnership portfolio, which also includes the University of Southampton Students’ Union, and doubles the agency’s youth market reach in the region.
A spokesperson at BAM said “We have been working with Portsmouth SU for over 12 months to formalise this partnership after many years of working together on one off campaigns. UPSU are an extremely professional organisation who have great ambition to become the most innovative Student Union in the UK. Their media opportunities are extremely strong and fit perfectly with the ever growing client base we have. I am looking forward to working closely with Portsmouth and helping them with their internal growth in the coming years”.
The arrangement is initially for a 1 year trial of the model however both parties are expecting that a longer term agreement will emerge at the end of the trial to strengthen the partnership.
Marketing to millennial’s: Post Brexit effects
How is Brexit affecting the university market?
The vote to leave the European Union has had a huge effect on the UK university sector. Not only will it have an impact on the attitudes of international students and choosing to study abroad in the UK, but university fees have risen to a massive £9,250 a year, along with the cost of living, and could cost a typical undergraduate on a three year course £73,000 to go to university. With the staggering rise of fees and the associated costs of going to university, coupled with the government drive to promote apprentice schemes as another entry point into the working world, this could soon encourage young adults to consider alternative routes to employment. This is a serious situation for universities who need a big focus on marketing to show prospective students that it is worth it to go to university.
How to market post Brexit
Universities need to show prospectives that students are getting more than just a degree when they go to university; they need to promote the university experience and show that they will lead to promising job prospects. Targeting international students should also be a focus, as universities have been seeing enquiries from prospective international students saying they felt that the UK wasn’t going to be as welcoming for them. Because of this it is important to keep international students in the loop and feeling included. Telling real stories of students is a good place to start, people relate to human stories, and it’s a great way to get across the university experience while putting some of the concerns to rest.
Another consideration to take note of is keeping abreast of new developments and trends. Especially when your main target audience are millennials and Generation Z. They are constantly trying out the newest gadgets, social media sites and apps, so it’s important to focus on innovative campaigns that will capture attention.
Another important area of focus post Brexit is employability. It’s extremely important for students to know that they will have that hireable factor after they complete their studies. Not only should this be a marketing focus, but also universities should take note on the courses they are offering and ensure that some real world job experience comes as part of the course. Getting this experience is integral to helping secure a job post-study.
Uni of Sheffield #WeAreInternational
A great example of a tailored marketing campaign in these tough times for universities is the #WeAreInternational campaign from the University of Sheffield. To emphasise diversity and inclusivity in the UK they created a series of videos and images to demonstrate the benefits of studying and working in the UK. The campaign has been supported by over 100 organisations in the UK and not only promotes the message but is also lobbying to help remove international students from its net migration figures.
Another part of the campaign includes ‘micro content’ using emerging influencers who are advocates for the university on channels such as Instagram and Snapchat. They have created a big focus on Snapchat and having a fresh stream of student stories to keep prospective and current students engaged. In an interview with Marketing Week, Head of Digital at the university said, “Our Snapchat engagement levels are through the roof, you’re talking 80-90% in terms of open rates and completion rate within our stories.”
So the key takeaways here are to promote employability, inclusiveness and to stay on top of new developments in the industry, especially now post Brexit where the UK’s position is unstable. But keep it light hearted!
Brand communities and millennials
Brand communities have been around pretty much ever since the internet existed, and with the world we live in becoming increasingly globalised, with constantly blurring boundaries, we should surely be more connected than ever? However only a few companies have successfully facilitated a brand community. Millennials are tech-savvy individuals, who live and breath our new digitalised world. Millennials connect with friends, influencers and new social channels more effectively than any other generations, so it’s no surprise that they’re associating themselves with a variety of brands and networks. As a result of this, millenials are prone to connecting with communities rather than the brand itself, so why should brands invest time and budgets into a brand community?
1) Brand communities can be used as business strategies
A brand can identify and consistently communicate values that connect consumers with the brand. Brand community also allows managers to monitor consumers in reality, and even provide feedback. Brand communities are usually ran by the consumer for the consumer, so it can allow brands a real insight to their world. This further reduces marketing costs and authenticates brand meanings. Fresher’s students are a brand’s primary target, as they’re just settling into university and creating their identity. Brands can therefore help students feel as part of a community and create a sense of belonging.
2) Brand communities increase loyalty
Brand communities have been found to increase loyalty amongst consumers. Furthermore research has found that brand communities can also increase purchase intent and repeat purchase of additional products. Ultimately this can turn some consumers into brand ambassadors of the product, which is perfect for spreading positive word of mouth recommendations around campus!
3) Stay relevant
Brand communities allow you to monitor your target audience, and can enable you to build a consumer profile. This will help brands stay updated with their marketing efforts, and also help brands stay relevant to their consumer. Nothing is worse than a brand trying to fit into a crowd where they’re not wanted (cringe!).
Now that all sounds very simple on paper, but what brand has successfully achieved a brand community? Starbucks has created one of the most successful brand communities to date, with millennials rushing to be part of the clique. Starbucks evolved their community with their campaign; My Starbucks Idea. They used a suggestion box concept, by inviting exclusive brand members to come up with new product ideas. In the first year it generated over 70,000 ideas from the campaign! Who knows, the new Unicorn Frappuccino may have come from this campaign!
Brand communities have a variety of benefits, and they’re great for connecting with your consumers. When students start university, they’re creating a whole new identity on their new journey. Students are more receptive to marketing messages, as they’re in a highly stressful environment, at such a critical time in their lives. Ultimately, if brands can connect with students and turn them into advocates of the brand community, they’ve become part of their journey throughout university and have ultimately gained a lifelong customer.
Written by: Emily Mullis, Media Partnership Account Sales Executive, BAM Agency Ltd
Influencer & micro influencer marketing
What is it and who are influencers?
Influencer marketing is a way of targeting a specific audience by working with the people that they love and admire. It’s much like having a celebrity spokesperson but on a smaller and more targeted scale that helps brands to reach and engage niche audiences. The rise (and rise) of the Internet and Social Media has created this ‘online celebrity’. These Internet celebrities are known in modern marketing as influencers and they usually fall under the term blogger, vlogger or social media star. Many of these influencers started up their blogs or channels with the aim of giving honest advice or diarising their lives, but quickly brands picked up on how engaged their audiences were and soon got involved, offering sponsorship and free products in return for promotion to their audiences. And that is how we’ve got to where we are today, with influencers creating partnerships with brands, releasing their own product lines and slowly becoming mainstream celebrities.
There is a subset of influencers who you may call micro-influencers who have much smaller audience bases but they are highly-engaged. The university and student market is a perfect incubator for these influencers and they can work with brands but on a much smaller scale. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of these small up and coming student influencers, as it helps to increase the brand awareness with the product being promoted across many different bloggers channels. It also helps to create long-term relationships with people who are only going to get more influential over time – so forming partnerships with emerging millennial and generation z influencers can offer a greater return on investment in the long-term.
Why it works
Influencer marketing works because it plays to the human desire to form relationships with others (those they admire, in particular) and it also allows brands to target specific audiences who will be interested in their product and/or service.
You know how much you hate Internet adverts? Well this is the clever way that influencer marketing works; it tricks you into thinking you’re not being sold to, as it makes the advertising part of the content. So rather than a pre-roll advert on YouTube selling you the latest toothbrush with turbo power, you’ll instead find yourself watching an influencer talking about their daily routine, including their turbo powered toothbrush in that routine.
It’s like getting a recommendation from a friend, and influencers’ followers trust in what they say and promote. It’s similar to word of mouth but a modern, brand-manipulated, online word of mouth. Influencers spread the word on their blogs/vlogs and social media channels which can often mean there is the chance to be seen by thousands or sometimes millions. If you consider the chance of social media likes and shares, the content can go even further, even delivering solid ROI, including boosting sales – ideal if you are an online retailer!
How to use it
The most important thing in influencer marketing is the initial research. You need to find influencers who are the right fit for your brand, for example, it doesn’t make sense for a travel blogger to be sharing a post about their favourite tomato ketchup. Gather a list of your top influencers that you want to be involved with your marketing campaign and begin to approach them via email. Now this sounds simple enough, but with us and bespoke influencer marketing agencies out there, it’s clear that this can be very time consuming and tricky. Not just finding the right influencers, but also liaising with them to finalise what they can do for your brand that matches your objectives while keeping in theme with their personal brand and channel approach.
When researching influencers, we take into consideration their presence and whether this is genuine – for example, there are tools out there that will help you identify whether influencers have a large proportion of fake followers. In addition, common sense can go a long way. If an influencer has 20k followers, but only gets 50 likes per image on Instagram, there’s a good chance they have paid for followers, so your content isn’t going to go as far as it would seem.
Another tip when approaching influencers is to offer them the creative choice for the content they make; they know their fans and followers best so it makes sense for them to decide how to present the brand to their audience. You will then need to discuss costs with your chosen influencers and write up a contract to secure the content you will be getting from them. Also if you plan to use any of their content in online advertising or beyond the particular campaign, make sure this is agreed beforehand and is written in the contract as extra costs may be involved.
Then simply sit back and relax as they create and share the content about your brand, don’t forget to share from your brands own channels and if you have permissions, reuse the content on your own channels to support advertising or wider campaigns.