The onset of COVID-19 gave Victoria University (VU) – alongside every other Victorian university – a little under four months to completely reinvent its Open Day experience. What has historically been the biggest recruitment event of the year – complete with campus tours, back to back info sessions, food trucks and live entertainment – needed to be reimagined for the ‘stay at home’ world we now find ourselves in. For VU, this presented a golden opportunity to bring the brand promise of ‘The New Way To Do Uni’ to life.
Early on, VU made the call that features like live streams, interactive Q&As and digital treasure hunts, would quickly become standard as universities flocked online. To stand out, VU created a virtual Open Day via creative agency Hardhat, that elevated these fundamental elements in an experience that’s a distinctive, memorable embodiment of The Block model learning experience that VU is recognised for.
Each visitor’s unique Open Day experience is built around their Block – a personalised, interactive, 3D object determined by their skills, interest areas and movements around the site. Much like VU’s students, no two blocks are the same, with over 100 million different configurations available.
As prospective students view course information, explore campuses and traverse social clubs, industry connections and student life at VU content, their block adapts and evolves to reflect their interests. At any point, students can ‘explore’ their block, allowing them to retrace steps, rewatch content and reflect on where they’ve spent their time. Personalised blocks can also be shared with friends, parents and influencers for feedback.
Hardhat developed the online experience, as well as the ‘Build Your Block, Build Your Future’ brand campaign that drove over 50% more registrations than the previous year.
Says Reece Ryan, creative director, Hardhat: “Overnight, our brief went from ‘Promote Open Day’ to ‘Make Open Day’, which was quite the opportunity. What’s been especially rewarding has been tapping into the agency’s deep digital DNA to create a student experience that’s truly world class. At the same time, we’ve brought an accompanying comms campaign to market that’s over-delivered on every possible metric. It took a brave client to back the original vision – especially given the timeframe and the degree to which we wanted to push the technology – but the results speak for themselves.”
Says Alex Sims, director future students, VU: “We’re delighted to provide a platform that we believe truly delivers on our brand promise of the ‘New Way To Do Uni’. The Block is designed to break down what can be an overwhelming experience for students into bite sized chunks. No matter the type of course a student is looking for, they’ll be able to see how it all fits together at VU.”
After launching on the weekend, the platform will remain open all year round. To visit, go to https://openday.vu.edu.au/
Alex Sims – Director, Future Students
Claire Crowley – Director, Brand & Marketing
Joni Edson – Senior Marketing Manager
Bianca Frachea – Major Events and Engagement Coordinator
Josh Kerr – Senior Digital Experience and Events Lead
Mike Stuart – Marketing Strategic Services Manager
Trisha Banerjee – Marketing Automation Manager
Rebecca Worcou – Digital Producer
Jessica Jury – Senior Communications Producer
Glenn Dalton – Executive Creative Director
Reece Ryan – Creative Director
Dave Sackville – Design Lead
Kristy Richards – Strategy Director
Jonathan Heath – Senior Creative
Heath Schmidt – Art Director
Jacob Dealy-Hewitt – Account Director
Ruth Parsons – Senior Project Manager
Brogan Sulzberger- Account Manager