Every businss needs an explainer video.
Universities are no different. In fact, probably more so.
Think about it. You might only have a few choices of company to pick from normally... but when choosing a uni? The whole of the country, if not the world, is on offer. The 'customers' are making insanely emotional, life changing and expensive decisions and they begin remotely, miles from what you have to offer. So for a university, the video 'first impression' is key.
Here I share five of my favourite key marketing videos for universities. What I mean by that: all universities have huge numbers of videos, but if you could pick just one video to be an overview for a whole educational establishment, this would be a great one.
What I like:
- short: just a minute long
- cool look: this is made in a really fresh, modern 'stop-motion' style that will appeal to its audience
- cool sound: the music, again suits the target audience
- text: you can watch this with the sound off and still get the message (crucial when sharing on social media or for your audience watching on a mobile device)
Oddly, I can't find them using this on Facebook or Twitter and it's not the 'feature' video for their YouTube channel either. Crazy. Maybe they're holding it back to launch as part of some big marketing campaign. Hope so, as this video should not be buried.
There's another very good example in a similar style from University of Oxford. They make great use of their video. As you can see below, it has a good position on their actual website (someting universities often seem to struggle to do), pride of place as 'feature' video on the YouTube Channel and nice and clear on their Facebook page too. Full marks.
What I like:
- cool - both the style of edit and music align with their target audience
- testimonials - it has voices of students talking about Leeds, but because we don't see them it doesn't slow the video down
- student life - we actually get a sense of what it might be like to be a student
- more films at end - this is part of a series of films and we're encouraged to view them at the end
Below, you can see how they encourage you to keep exploring. It's a fun way of keeping people watching. If all of this content was in one film it would be too long, it would deter viewers, but lots of short form pieces one after another, you probably will. Using the in-built YouTube facility to click the screen to view is smart - there's no temptation to watch anything else until you've seen all of these.
What I like:
- tour - we get to see a LOT of the uni and city
- pace - whilst it's not that short (3 min), it does have great pace, keeping our interest
- authentic - this isn't a polished advert like so many others, this is very much real
- call to action - the whole video acts as a call to action, to sign up to an open day, see it for yourself
- voices - real opinions from current students and potential ones (and unfortunately, parents - I think they'd have been best sticking to students - cooler)
- passion - there's a lot of passion that comes across from those involved, it's infectious
The quote from a visitor, "Bristol's website is good but seeing it in real life's a lot better" sums this video up.
This example is nearly 10 years old, but is exceptional and well worth a view.
What I like:
- knows its audience - they're an art institute and the whole concept embraces that
- creative - it's a totally fresh way of showing the detail (keep in mind, this was 2007)
- tone - the way this speaks to its student audience is perfect
It's remarkable that a video this long (5m 30) is so captivating. Yes, it's a bit too long, certainly by today's standards and please please please don't all copy this and start doing the modern day version of 'white board video animation'. PLEASE no. But, what can you do that perfectly encapsulates what your institute is about and talks to your audience in their voice?
Which leads on to...
If you have a niche educational establishment, like CIA above, you really are in luck.
From the States, to the UK. From art... to science.
What I like:
- knows its audience - people who want to change the world through science
- inspiring - it intrigues and excites those it's targeting
- making a difference - the last quarter where it shows the actual difference their students/work make in the world is brilliantly done
I wouldn't normally suggest being so over-the-top in the 'inspirational' video style and music stakes. But you have to admit it totally suits the institution and who they're appealing to. It doesn't feel over the top. You're not going to this uni to have a laugh at the bar (though I'm sure you could), you're going to make a difference in the world; there's nothing wrong with being serious.
So there you have it: 5 videos that universities can be inspired by when inspiring students.
Here, I've only covered what I consider to be the main event. Uni's have plenty more options available: testmimonials, course specifics, campus and accomodation tours, student union, the town/city/area and so on. But just as every business should have an explainer video, every university must have a key, central piece of video marketing from which these others can spin off and orbit around. They make a world of difference.
Want to make a difference with your own explainer video? Get in touch!