National profile for a challenger brand
Arden University wanted a programme of PR activity to: challenge perceptions of online learning amongst students and academia; build national profile; and strengthen its reputation as a quality provider of UK university qualifications by distance learning. This education campaign received full marks with impressive coverage from a standing start.
Arden University is a leading independent provider of UK university qualifications by distance learning, with a 25 year pedigree. We were asked to develop a PR plan that would raise awareness of Arden with potential students – positioning online distance learning qualifications as a real alternative to ‘going to university’– and build the company’s credibility within the academic community.
Arden had never really implemented a proactive PR programme before which meant media recognition was low. We needed to combat this and help Arden achieve the profile it deserved as a leader in its field.
We developed a suite of student case studies to highlight the real life benefits of online distance learning, such as flexibility (work-life-learning balance), affordability, and career progression, and used these to target both education and careers pages, accompanied by an Arden fact sheet/interview opportunities.
We worked with student portals such as Uni’s Not For Me and Not Going to Uni, to highlight courses, case studies and developments, and held an online ‘Twitter Party’ using the hashtag #PTDegree for potential students to ask Arden about studying for a degree online.
Higher Education hubs were also targeted, such as Guardian Professional Networks, with thought leadership commentary, alongside other influential online outlets.
In one year, Arden case studies or commentary has been featured by eight national newspapers including The Telegraph, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Sun and The Mirror (journalists now ask Arden for views or student stories).
The Arden Twitter Party trended in the UK, generating 557 tweets (as well as real-time enrolments!), and Dr Philip Hallam was accepted as a regular blogger on the Huffington Post.
It's not just the level of PR profile we've received that has impressed, it's the way in which each element has supported our business objectives. We definitely view the team at Intelligent Conversation as strategic consultants – what they do is PR, plusDr Philip Hallam, CEO of Arden University