What do people think of your University?


Developing a brand tracker for Solent University

So, what do they really think?

We’ve been working with Solent University since 2015, helping them redefine and shape their brand.

Understanding Solent’s audience and the perceptions they hold of them was crucial to the development of the University brand. By completing this work as part of their rebrand, we were able to set a clear benchmark around perceptions to improve on each year. The information we collect will help to refine messaging, reassess strategies and improve targeting.

Becoming Unstoppable

In 2016, we launched the new brand, the essence of which was ‘Unstoppable’ – centred around the University and their unstoppable confidence, ambitions, energy and progress. It defined their voice, their campus, and the students that graduated through their doors.

With a set of new brand strengths, a new identity, renaming from Southampton Solent University to Solent University, and an air of excitement, it was important for us to keep measuring how the new brand was having an impact.

Measuring success

Every year in February, we send surveys out to four key audience groups for that cycle: Solent’s applicants, enquirers, decliners and unknown prospective students in target age range and locations. We ask questions to help us analyse and understand awareness and familiarity with the Solent brand, whether someone would be likely to recommend Solent. We also ask questions to understand the impact Solent’s advertising has on all audience groups.

The results from the brand tracker enable us to determine levels of awareness and familiarity, including how many times Solent were named unprompted and the areas they were best known for. Strong connections with industry, innovation and forward thinking were some of the key brand strengths identified. 47% of all respondents also said they would choose Solent as their first choice institution.

What it helped us discover

2020 saw an increase of 57 points in Solent’s Net Promoter Score which meant a significant increase in the number of people likely to recommend them. For the last 2 years, all audiences have preferred Solent’s advertising to their competitors, so we are standing out with the creative and messaging we are using.

The results of the brand tracker identified three key brand strengths for us to focus on to really differentiate Solent from their competitors. This led to a refined messaging strategy and new creative approach, in line with their University objectives around repositioning.

The 2021 phase of the project has shown a 37% increase in the number of applicants considering Solent as first choice. There has also been a 12-14% overall increase in familiarity and likelihood to recommend Solent, meaning our efforts around marketing strategy, targeting and message are having a positive impact.