higher education Archives - Syneka Marketing

Seek’s new marketing campaign – an example of a brand becoming too comfortable and losing its focus

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A few years ago I wrote a post about the state of University advertising and how at the time it failed to inspire. Recently, I was quite surprised to see that Seek was following a similar style to these advertisements.

Seek was one of the first businesses in Australia to succeed as a disruptive start up. The impact of Seek has been prolific, it has been able to transform the job market and in doing so, it has demonstrated how technology adds value for both job seekers and employers.

Against many odds, including the international players in the market, Seek has become the market leader as source for finding jobs and recruiting positions.

In the past, Seek undertook a cheeky and innovative approach to advertising, creating campaigns that were witty and clever. Now it appears as Seek has grown, it has changed this approach.

A past campaign

A past campaign

A play on words Source: Smart

A play on words Source: Smart

Seek in its latest campaign, has decided have focused on photographing a series of people, both young and old, who want change in their lives. The tag line “make it count” has been used to reinforce the change. While advocating for Australians to go out there and change their lives, the implementation of this campaign has been poor.

The subjects used in the photography all have serious and unhappy looks on their faces, almost analogous to individuals in not-for-profit advertising, portraying that they have been hard-done-by. These advertisements do not connect with those of us who may be unhappy in our jobs and are looking for a change. Instead the people in these advertisements seem stuck and unable to escape the situations that they are in, reinforcing that sometimes life isn’t fair.

One of the advertisement at a tram stop

One of the advertisement at a tram stop


Seek's Make it Count campaign

Seek’s Make it Count campaign

Universities in this country have the advantage of being in a market where there is strong demand. They also do not have an extensive number of competitors and can sometimes, unfortunately make do with poorly implemented marketing campaigns. Seek on the other hand cannot.

With the technology sector consistently building on its innovations, Seek cannot afford to become comfortable. Seek was able to become a market leader because it took risks, focused on being innovative and demonstrated its value to the Australian public. It seems to have forgotten this strategic approach.

We would encourage Seek to revisit their strategy to ensure they continue to position themselves as a market leader and innovator.

Looking back through 2013

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Welcome to our final entry for 2013 and a chance to reflect on the past year. Despite the broader climate of economic uncertainty, we have expanded over the past year to deliver a range of strategic marketing planning and implementation services.

We have worked with a range of businesses and not-for-profit organisations over the course of this year, to deliver innovative and effective marketing solutions. Our strategies have enabled businesses to reach new segments and establish ongoing customer loyalty. The work we have undertaken for not-for-profit organisations has resulted in new opportunities and visions for the future.

In particular, our work was recognised through the Australian Marketing Institute. We were a finalist in the Excellence in Marketing Awards in recognition of the marketing plan and subsequent rebranding that was undertaken by Wimmera Volunteers. The recognition received through the Australian Marketing Institute enabled us to demonstrate the positive impact that can be created through marketing.

The strategy transformed Wimmera Volunteers into Volunteering Western Victoria, enabling new connections and programs. A particular highlight was the Inaugural Volunteer Recognition Awards, which recognised the contributions provided by volunteers within Western Victoria.

We also spoke at a number of conferences and held workshops throughout the year. We are planning to expand our workshop program in 2014, providing courses on marketing, membership and social media.

We will also be launching a series of eBooks in 2014, discussing the fundamentals of marketing, membership retention and recruitment, social media and creative design. We are looking forward to the launch and introducing these eBooks to you.

Our blog and Syneka Snippets continues to be well received and we thank our readers for their thoughts and interests. We have compiled a list of our top ten blog posts to revisit some of the more commonly accessed materials:

  1. Advice when sending invitations via email
  2. Higher education should inspire why doesn’t their advertising?
  3. What is Marketing?
  4. Follow up to the state of higher education
  5. Guide to planning events
  6. Measuring and implementing marketing activities
  7. Activate your community through social media
  8. Ten ideas for welcoming new members to your organisation
  9. Case study turn challenges into opportunities with a marketing plan
  10. How to blog for businesses and organisations

We would like to thank our clients who have grown with us over the course of this year. As a marketing agency we exist to serve your needs. It is a wonderful experience to work with you in achieving your goals.

We wish you well over the festive season and we’re excited about the working with you in 2014!

Is this what we really want from Higher Education advertising?

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News No Comments
A quick mock up of an advertisement inspired by the recent La Trobe University advertising campaign

A quick mock up of an advertisement inspired by the recent La Trobe University advertising campaign

As a follow up to my blog post on the less than impressive state of higher education advertising, we have decided to award the most poorly designed higher education advertisement to La Trobe University.

La Trobe University has been running a series of advertisements with a student set against a backdrop of something that they did or hope to do as a result of their University experience.

We believe that these advertisements have been poorly put together and look like a combination of stock images, even though it is a picture of a real La Trobe University student.

The La Trobe University advertisements are also full of stereotypes and clichés. The wording includes the less than original tag line “just think”, we could not help but be reminded of Nike’s famous “Just do it”.

One of the advertisements depicts a mature age student studying town planning in Sri Lanka with an elephant in the background.

The original advertisement at South Yarra Station

The original advertisement at South Yarra Station

The La Trobe University website has a video in which the student talks about his experience in Sri Lanka, however we cannot help but think that his experience could have been depicted by so much more than just an elephant. This video also depicted the student in the same clothing as the advertisement, confirming our suspicions that this advertisement was photoshopped.

In celebration of this poor marketing effort, in particular the advertisement with the mature age student and the elephant; and in celebration of Australia day we have decided to do our own photoshopped advertisement. This advertisement follows the themes that this ad campaign is trying to capture.

Our advertisement took a few hours to mock up by a junior designer, leaving us to question if LaTrobe University received value for their money in terms of their advertising spend.

La Trobe University is a highly regarded tertiary education provider and we believe that their current advertisements do not do the University justice in terms of the quality of its education, experiences and opportunities. This University deserves better advertising.

Higher Education should Inspire – Why doesn’t their advertising?

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government 2 Comments
Deakin (MIBT) advertisement at Richmond Station

Deakin (MIBT) advertisement at Richmond Station

Having made the decision to go back to University next year to study my Masters, I could not help but notice the lack of innovation and creativity in University and TAFE advertising. Australia has some of the best higher education providers in the world; they deserve to have inspirational, eye catching advertising, and they need to step up and stop creating ads that are dull and predicable.

Going to university or TAFE is a serious decision. It is a decision often made by year 12 students or older people such as myself who want to learn new skills. Higher education is costly and completing a course requires time and effort. However the experience and opportunities that come after finishing a course can outweigh the costs.

Swinburne University advertisement at Richmond Station

Swinburne University advertisement at Richmond Station of a wholesome young woman in a cardigan

Having bland and similar advertisements can lead to confusion over branding and may mean that capable students go elsewhere.

Most University and TAFE advertisements recently seem to have common elements, they use faces and have a tag line.

An example of this concept are the ads for Swinburne University, which this year seem to have taken to profiling their future students. From a wholesome young girl in a cardigan, to muscular confident looking young man in a black t shirt these individuals personify the Swinburne experience.

While the idea of personifying a higher education provider is not a bad strategy, it seems to be done by many different universities year after year.

Another concept that seems to dominate higher education advertising is the use of stock imagery or photos that could easily be sold as stock images. This makes ads seem generic and difficult to distinguish between one provider to another.

La Trobe University has been running an ad with a mature age student who was interested in town planning in Sri Lanka. This ad had an elephant in the background. This ad is quite poorly put together and looks like the combination of two stock images even though they have used a real student.

Higher education providers need to focus on determining what makes them unique and to distinguish themselves from other competitors. They should look more closely at who they want as their future students and create advertisements that reflect the experiences they seek to create.

An ad for La Trobe University at South Yarra Station

An ad for La Trobe University at South Yarra Station looks like two stock images poorly pasted together

Melbourne University advertisement at South Yarra Station

Melbourne University advertisement at South Yarra Station