One size doesn’t fit all


To create the perfect message for your audience, you need to know who you’re talking to. For City, University of London, they had a rough idea, but it needed to be refined. They were using the same message to cover all student groups, and that needed to change. Students are individuals, with sometimes very different experiences, habits, and hobbies. To change a university’s student communications for the better, you need to start from the core. And for us, we believe that begins with creating a valuable set of personas that can be used in a multitude of ways. It means that universities, and us, can get a better understanding of behavioural characteristics and key motivations.

A one size fits all approach isn’t going to get you the results you desire, and that’s exactly what was happening to City. They needed to use a more tailored and personalised approach, to create a relationship with their students – we wanted the students to feel as if they’d picked the right university as soon as they read the messages. We started by canvassing their first-year students with an online survey.

It was important to create a number of personas for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate audiences, using detailed descriptions that included typical age, background, motivations and drivers, interests, challenges and more. We made sure to have personas that covered each of the main subjects, at both study levels, as well as diving deeper into individual courses. We even developed sub-personas for when we’re talking to international students.

To make sure the personas would be used effectively by the whole marketing and comms team, we created an easy to use internal microsite filled with all the vital information. The personas have been used to specifically inform City’s approach when it comes to developing CRM communication plans, content, copywriting, advertising, optimising landing pages, SEO marketing and more.