Royal Roads makes personal connections

The Vancouver Island university is offering prospective students the chance to speak directly with graduates with a campaign that brings LinkedIn to life.

Royal Roads University is encouraging prospective students to connect directly with alumni with a LinkedIn-inspired campaign with media and creative by Cossette Vancouver. Instead of publishing standard testimonials as it had in the past, the Vancouver Island institution is seeking to lure mature students aged 25 to 55 to their undergraduate and graduate programs by letting them hear the “transformational” stories from the individuals who actually lived through them.

“We’ve been using alumni in our info sessions and I’ve noticed more and more that students don’t want to hear from the marketing folks or the recruitment folks, but when the alumni speak, it’s a lot more credible,” Catherine Riggins, RRU director of branding, marketing and recruitment, tells MiC. Creative in the campaign features the tagline, “Our alumni speak for themselves. Literally.”

Despite including business cards with actual contact information printed on them in their creative, the media strategy – national print buys including the back inside cover of the Maclean’s university issue, iPad interstitial executions on The Globe and Mail website, OOH in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary as well as social media support – is designed to drive prospects to a microsite: Once online, prospects can sort alumni by program and decide whether to pick up the phone or connect over LinkedIn.

The campaign, which launched last week, also included a stunt at Pacific Centre Mall in Vancouver. When passersby engaged with a LinkedIn-style interface and pressed a large “connect” button, they were surprised to see an alum emerge in person from a window in her “profile.”

The campaign runs through the end of December. Riggins says they’ve already seen engagement from prospects. “Malini (Sengupta) is a Masters of Global Management grad who is one of our faces and she has ten people who want to talk to her so she’s thinking, ‘Maybe I should do a webinar with all of them.’”