In 2015, Unitec faced a quintessential ‘David vs Goliath’ situation, except it didn’t look like anyone was winning.
The New Zealand Tertiary Education sector faced the toughest market in decades. Steadily declining enrolments meant category spend had rapidly increased as everyone fought for share of the shrinking student pool.
Unitec is one of nearly 50 tertiary providers in NZ, and as an ITP (Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics), they’d always been seen as the ‘poor cousin’ to Universities. Years of mass-market campaigns had increased awareness but failed to shift consideration.
To survive, Unitec had to differentiate themselves and elevate their market perception.
Against this backdrop, Unitec announced a business transformation strategy to become a world-class learning environment, delivering better employees for the modern world. However it would be a difficult journey, starting with staff cuts and major construction on campus.
A new marketing strategy to support this transformation set out a daunting task:
Launch a compelling brand proposition that would differentiate Unitec and increase enrolments
To shift consideration, we had to address inaccurate market perceptions. People thought they knew what was best when it came to tertiary providers, but misconceptions throughout the decision-making process were pushing Unitec into obscurity.
To combat this, we transformed their unique learning approach into the lead message –
‘Think. Do. Unitec’.
By embracing their ‘immersive’ education experience that blended theory with real world application, Unitec created a point of difference which became their rallying cry to the market.
We challenged category norms from creative execution through to a digitally-lead strategy that created more relevant, engaging customer journeys. Ones that ultimately lead to Unitec.
Results exceeded all expectations.
Despite market challenges, Unitec saw increased enrolments for the first time in years. Across the board, we delivered better quality leads and significantly improved market perceptions.
The ‘Think. Do. Unitec’ campaign showed that even the greatest obstacles can be tackled with faith in yourself and a well-aimed throw.