Northumbria University - Student engagement done right

Engaging, innovative AD formats


Towards the tail end of 2018 Northumbria underwent a significant rebrand in partnership with Saatchi, and we were approached to collaborate with the brand team to help connect and integrate their bold, new brand message with their digital channels. The entire brand in centred around the #TakeOnTomorrow.

We had to create a strategy, social media playbook and engage with the internal marketing team and student advocates to help drive the new brand marketing program forward. Ultimately, we needed to re position and establish Northumbria University as a challenger brand among some of the older, more established universities in the north of England – using a bold, best-in-class digital marketing strategy.

Target audiences for these campaigns included; Current students, New domestic students, New international students, Business partners, Alternative funding (research) and Alumni. 


We worked with the Head of Marketing and Digital Marketing Manager to drive the project, rolling out two workshop sessions to immerse ourselves in the new brand and begin building the components of the brand marketing strategy. Having gathered a wide range of first-hand student insight, we combined this with the output of the workshops to help inform the creative process. Given the bold, contemporary and challenging nature of the new brand, we needed to build a series of strong creative concepts to match.

The concepts also had to have current, prospective and alumni students at their heart. Some of the key campaign ideas to help boost the #TakeOnTomorrow message included:

Student Visioning – Encouraging students to build their vision for the future and communicate this via UGC.

Tomorrow’s Greatest Thinkers – This would be a series of features on the most successful alumni from Northumbria University, leveraging their ambitions and successes to help engage with potential new students.

Impact Awards – An incentivised program of accolades for students who have chosen to make an “impact”, whether it’s ethical, social or course related,

Once the concepts were signed-off, we started to build the channel strategy. We chose to focus our energy on social media, using a strong typographical approach to stand out in the feed. We also integrated with email, digital advertising and on-campus screens to amplify the brand message and push UCG campaigns to current students.


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