Representing the interest of all students, the University of Northampton’s Students’ Union has a responsibility to reflect and support the needs of its members. Mobas was tasked with delivering a campaign transformation piece to drive engagement with the Students’ Union election campaign, to encourage students to nominate, campaign and vote.
Drive engagement in the Union elections
From its Sabbatical Officers, who are fully employed and paid to fulfil leading roles for a year, through its sports and social committee members, to its course reps, the Union is run by elected officers – all students who have taken up positions in order to benefit the student community. The quality of the Union is directly linked to the quality of the elected officers and so the annual elections are absolutely vital. The core objective for the communication was to drive engagement in the Union elections from all types of students; to ensure a high calibre of candidates and that they’re well supported at the election.
'Union begins with you'
The election campaign needed to drive student involvement in all aspects of the process, from standing as candidates, running their own campaigns, through to actually voting for their favoured candidates. With the Students’ Union elections taking place at the start of the New Year, we needed a campaign that would run from mid-December through to the voting in March. Therefore, we needed to ensure that we could engage with all students earlier than had been attempted historically, in order to build consideration over the Christmas break for students who were considering running in the election.
Mobas developed a campaign plan to cover three phases: nominate, campaign and vote. The campaign tactics selected were specifically chosen to sit within each of these phases, depending on their role and impact during the campaign.
Mobas developed a creative concept to highlight to students the importance of the elections and the implications of both voting and campaigning during the election period: Union Begins With You. The play-on-words gave a memorable ‘hook’ to draw students’ attention and the visual was very striking in look and feel, giving it great standout across the campus.
Strategy at the heart
Campaign transformation has strategy at its heart, and so an effective approach and plan for the elections was critical in delivering success for the campaign.
The Mobas’ campaign planning enabled the use of many marketing tactics which hadn’t previously been utilised by the Students’ Union team, including the larger digital screen formats around campus as well as using the screens and posters both on the student buses and at bus stops – this was a great opportunity considering the lack of on-campus parking available to students.
A buzz around campus
The Students’ Union team were delighted with the delivery of the campaign for the elections and commented on its striking presence around the campus. The use of the new and different tactics gave the Union team lots of ideas for future campaigns and created a real buzz around the campus.
Because of the strength of the campaign creative, it was also used for the by-elections which took place later in the year. The creative will also be used again for the 2020 election campaign, in order to drive recognition of the campaign and reinforce the importance of nominating, campaigning and voting in the elections.