And the winners are...: 2019 University Market Insight Award winners revealed

The 2019 University Market Insight Awards were hotly contested by some truly impressive entries from some of the UK’s finest universities.
The winners were announced at the 2019 University Market Insight Conference in Birmingham.
Find out more about our winners and their winning campaigns below:

Gold: Nottingham Trent University 
Campaign: Travel survey to help increase the University’s already outstanding sustainability record and lower their carbon footprint

Aims – To support the University in understanding the travel activity of our staff and students to allow them to monitor the impact our organisation has on the environment; develop sustainable transport initiatives; and address what NTU can do to encourage our staff and students to commute differently in the future.

Approach – An online survey was sent to all on-campus staff and students to explore frequency of travel, modes of transport used to commute to and from NTU, mileage travelled per day, incentives and barriers to using different travel methods, and air quality on commute. Open-ended responses were also collected to understand exact experiences

Impact – The survey findings were used to shape major developments which have contributed to increasing sustainable trips to and from NTU. For example: addition of shower, locker and storage facilities, the availability of an academic year bus pass for students, bike hire scheme, car share scheme, and electric vehicle charging points at all campuses. It has also allowed the University to form valuable partnerships with local transport providers to ensure that they are providing the best sustainable transport options for our staff and students.



Silver: University of Stirling

Campaign: Evaluation of the internal “Ripple” campaign within the University of Stirling through a quantitative methodology.

Aims – The University of Stirling set out to heighten awareness of the Research Themes and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between academics. The ‘Ripple” campaign was created. There were three phases of the campaign - raise awareness of the University’s three Research Themes, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between academics and promote Research Week 2018. In order to ensure that the campaign would resonate with all areas of the University, market research was utilised to underpin the direction of the campaign.

Approach - Each phase was tested in its own right, and amendments made to the next phase if required. Therefore, three surveys were prepared to pre and post-test each of the phases. The pre and post-test questionnaire for each phase used similar questions so that comparisons could be made. An online quantitative survey was the best approach as it allowed for a higher number of responses and the survey link to be shared across all areas of the institution.

Impact – As a result of extensive research testing throughout, the Ripple Campaign has succeeded in engaging research staff and encouraging cross-departmental collaboration. There is a much greater awareness and visual presence of our research strengths across campus, and academics are combining their interdisciplinary expertise to apply for, and win, larger global funding grants. 


Bronze: The Open University

Campaign: Using insight to drive a step-change in advertising which led to an increase in student numbers

Aims –Funding changes in 2012 meant that by 2016 the part-time Higher Education market had shrunk considerably. The OU needed to understand how advertising could motivate people to take up our unique life-changing learning in order to fight back. 

Approach - Econometric modelling identified that likelihood to enquire to the OU, measured on The OU’s in-house Brand Tracker survey, correlated most strongly with actual registrations.

This was combined with innovative insight based on psychological theory which argues that emotions and gut reaction (System 1) are stronger influencers than rational thinking (System 2). Conquest Research used their proprietary methodology to survey respondents using emotional metaphors and implicit question techniques to identify ‘System 1’ drivers, and traditional agree/disagree questions to identify ‘System 2’ drivers.

Coupled with complex statistical analysis we quantified the most important drivers of engagement with The OU.

We needed emotionally driven advertising that tapped into people’s desires to change their lives and overcome barriers.

Impact – The resulting ‘What’s Stopping You?’ and ‘Dream, Believe, Succeed’ campaigns fronted by TV ads, featured real OU students overcoming challenges to succeed. This delivered a statistically significant seven points increase in ‘likelihood to enquire to The OU’ and similar increases in emotional engagement delivering real, quantifiable, commercial value with a 16pp over achievement on targets for new students.