HEY! It’s NTU – an integrated communication programme that combines traditional and new media platforms
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore created HEY! in 2011 as an integrated communication tool to reach out to the target audience of prospective and current NTU students. This successful program won the Integrated Communications category of the 2013 Global Alliance COMM PRIX Awards.
The primary objectives were to have at least 70% have positive impressions of NTU and to have an increase of 50% of top students enrolling in NTU over two years.
Following extensive formative research, HEY! was packaged as a multi-platform communication tool with a light and breezy editorial style, with a focus on personalities and human interest stories.
It comprised of five key planks -- in print, online, on tablets and mobile phones, on YouTube and campus video screens.
In 2014, 90% said their impressions of NTU were good or very good after reading HEY!, up from 41% before reading it. This positive transformation effect is similar to the results in 2012 and 2013 – proof of HEY!’s enduring effect. There was also a 60% increase in top students enrolling at NTU in 2013 compared to 2011.
Formative research showed that the primary target audience (students aged 17–24) dislike corporate speak and are disinterested in corporate developments unless these directly affect them. Information about NTU was presented or re-packaged in a manner relevant to them, while ensuring key messages were being conveyed.
The key message was to show NTU as a global university on the rise, with global research breakthroughs, top-notch professors, successful students and graduates, world-class partners and a vibrant campus with first-rate facilities.
As the medium is the message, the same content was repackaged to leverage the features of each HEY! platform.
HEY! was designed to look like a commercial newsstand title with digital multimedia versions online on mobile phones, tablets, iPad and TV screens. To reach out to the young target audience, the content is also cross-promoted on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
The online editions made it easy to tweet and share stories, with “online extras” such as photo galleries, student blogs, online polls and exclusive giveaways as additional draws. Accompanying videos uploaded on NTU’s YouTube channel and on campus-wide TV screens also extended HEY!’s reach.
Key messages were embedded in easy-to-read stories with catchy headlines which were a good resource for pitching stories to the mainstream media. HEY! provided opportunities for undergraduates to build a professional portfolio as its writers, photographers, illustrators, animators and video producers while these students made the content relevant to the young target audience.
HEY!’s strategy of seeking sponsorships resulted in popular treats and giveaways for students, ranging from air tickets and cosmetics to fashion products, retail vouchers and movie treats.
From 2011 to 2014, more than 75% of the readers had rated HEY! as good or very good. HEY! is proof that a creative integrated model of communication can reach out to its target audience, improve perceptions and inspire the desired action.
About the author
Dr Vivien Chiong is Director of Corporate Communications at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Faculty Associate at its Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
About the organisation
Nanyang Technological University is a fast-growing and research-intensive public university in Singapore, with 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London. NTU has been rising rapidly in the global league and is today ranked 2nd among the world’s young elite universities.