Interview with Mrs. Dr. Christiane Lindner, responsible for the „Wirklich Weiterkommen“ university marketing initiative of the academies and colleges in Saxony-Anhalt.
Mrs. Lindner, how did you come up with the idea for the project „really get ahead“ and what is the aim of the initiative?
Our campaign „Study what really brings you forward“ of the universities and colleges in Saxony-Anhalt stimulates the conversation on the development of personality during the university years and advertises to potential future students beyond the borders of the state [of Saxony Anhalt].
The aims of this campaign are to make the universities and their offers known nationwide, to communicate the advantages of studying in Saxony-Anhalt and to position the study destination in the German higher education landscape and to give it a specific image. The „Initiative of the Universities in Saxony-Anhalt“ sees itself as the umbrella organisation of all universities in Saxony-Anhalt and is the creator of the campaign.
What elements does the campaign consist of?
Primarily the campaign takes place online: central point of contact for pupils, parents and teachers is the web portal wirklichweiterkommen.de. It serves as a guide for choosing the field of study and informs about the universities of Saxony-Anhalt. The two central tools RE / FLECT (personality test) and RE / SEARCH (degree programme search tool) as well as our blog RE / BLOG with important information about studying and everyday life in university are the core of the campaign. We acccess our target group via Facebook (facebook.com/wirklichweiterkommen) and Instagram. This year we have also been testing offline touchpoints and have been traveling with our offers to festivals and student orientation fairs. Tablets are available at our stand to introduce our tools. A VR rocking horse invites you to a virtual journey through Saxony-Anhalt. With the facetracking photo box, users can create and print a collage of face and mask motifs. A make-up artist paints visitors‘ faces at festivals based on the masks. In addition, seating areas (sofas and bean bags) invite visitors to linger.
How successful is the initiative?
Our campaign started in February 2017, so it’s „only“ one and a half years old. In a previously conducted market research analysis (status quo analysis), we collected relevant data on the study destination Saxony-Anhalt, on the basis of which we want to measure success in a planned repetition of the survey at the end of this year. Apart from that, we are very satisfied with more than one million visitors to our web portal and an average length of time spent with our tools RE / SEARCH and RE / FLECT of 6.5 or just over 9 minutes.
What advice do you have for colleges that need more students than they get?
First and foremost, of course, create conditions that help the target group achieve their personal goals and, of course, communicate them authentically. In Saxony-Anhalt we have very good study conditions, an attractive range of course programmes, modern equipment, research at an international level, an intensive relationship with teachers, low living costs etc.
*Photo by Max Méndez