#MarketingExcellenceAwards MY 2020 highlight: How Taylor's broke the Open Day mould with sneakers

Malaysia is home to a plethora of universities, one of them being Taylor’s Education Group. Although the education institution is renowned nationwide, it is also perceived as expensive and lacked a clear value proposition. At the same time, the university was also offering courses similar to that of its competitors. Hence, Taylor’s decided to work in collaboration with Noir by Entropia to clearly establish its brand proposition and relevance among its target audience through the use of event marketing. This allowed the education institution to nab the silver award for Excellence in Event Marketing (physical) and the bronze award for Excellence in Experiential Marketing at A+M’s Marketing Excellence Awards 2020.

Challenge

To grow brand relevance and showcase itself as an innovative and progressive university, Taylor’s decided to ramp up its Open Day experience. Open Day is a crucial component for students to better understand and decide on the path they wish to take for their future. According to Taylor’s, the decades-old Open Day tradition is becoming dull due to the lack of differentiation within a competitive industry.

The process of visitation, campus tours and Q&A sessions are more or less similar to those offered by competitors. With scholarships and bursary offerings being the most attractive part to the undecided visitors, the Open Day experience has now morphed into a mere counselling opportunity, Taylor’s said.

At the same time, consumers can easily enroll for an online course and career paths have also changed, resulting in the emergence of unorthodox courses. Bearing this in mind, Taylor’s wanted to break the tradition of conventional education methods and create an Open Day that speaks to the needs of students and employers in this day and age.

With universities organising Open Days at the same time, Taylor’s found it increasingly challenging to deliver on three key objectives:

1. Encourage parents and students to visit its Open Day
2. Ensure parents and students are satisfied by the five-star experience of visiting Taylor’s Open Day
3. Make Taylor’s University their selection.

Its primary target audience was students searching for tertiary education options, especially those who are leaning towards competitors such as Sunway and Monash, for example, which are competitively priced. It was also important for the university to engage its secondary target audience who are parents.

Strategy

Despite the proliferation of digital nowadays, Taylor’s still believes in the importance of physical events because humans are sensory beings. Physical events offer the university a chance to make a connection with and work its magic to nurture individual prospects. It developed a 3E strategy that sought to reach out to students and parents to showcase the values Taylor’s stands for.

1. Experience: Focus on the entire journey from the moment its visitors enter the premises until they depart.
2. Engage: Ensure engagement that showcases the values that Taylor’s stands for through exclusive partnerships with Sneakerlah and Me.reka.
3. Enroll: Ensure processes are in place to encourage enrollment from interested students.

Two years ago, the university launched Taylor’s Future Movement (TFM) to challenge and break the conventional method of its Open Day, enabling it to showcase its progressiveness in moulding students who are highly sought after by employees and equipped with skills beyond the classroom.

Sneakerlah is one of the most popular and biggest sneaker events in Malaysia, attracting thousands of consumers with paid admission. The idea of a partnership with Sneakerlah was to showcase the flexibility in terms of what Taylor’s is able to offer in education, combining both entrepreneurship and creativity. The partnership with Sneakerlah was an established platform for creative-minded entrepreneurs to gather and collaborate. The sneaker event has sellers as young as 15 who have learnt the art of trading and understanding of the value of design and building brands.

Meanwhile, the tie-up with Me.reka aims to reach out to students who were interested in sustainability. The experience and engagements crafted by Me.reka were inclusive and sustainable as it allows people to bring in recycle items and turn them into new objects. This taps on Gen Z’s interest in upcycling.

Execution

Two weeks before the TFM X Sneakerlah event which was held prior to the MCO, Taylor’s strategically utilised all media touchpoints to communicate with its audiences to increase and drive footfall.

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TFM X Sneakerlah was designed to engage students and parents. As its aim has always been to provide a five-star education to students, Taylor’s wanted to bring that element to life by offering five-star treatment to visitors. From the moment a car enters the premises, visitors are offered free valet services and buggy rides around the campus. Upon entering the Open Day lounge, they would be greeted personally by its student ambassadors with personalised drinks, unlimited gourmet coffee and refreshments.

taylors event 2

Taylor’s also prepared a discussion are for students and parents to discuss matters related to courses. There were also personalized booths for campus tours, accommodation, and life skills activity booths. Temperature screenings and sanitation were conducted every step of the way to ensure both parents and students were safe.

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Taylor’s also deployed its student ambassadors named S.T.A.R. to lead and guide students during on-campus events. S.T.A.R. was chosen to connect current and future students for a more intimate experience, display student leadership and cultivate team spirit. This is with the overall aim to tell stories about unique campus life to future Taylorians. Student ambassadors also gave guests a personalised experience by sharing their own experiences at Taylor’s which enabled prospective parents to gain insights from current students.

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The Sneakerlah event featured a competition that allowed students to tap on their creativity to design shoes. Ten winners were selected to have an educational session taught by local shoe designer Edmond Looi. There were also lucky draws which saw 90 attendees win premium sneakers, cool merchandise and exciting prizes. The event also had performances by local Malaysian artists – Talitha Tan, Bate, Arliftz, and Midnight Fusic.

Students were also encouraged to buy, sell and trade all types of sneakers at the trading pit that took place on both days. Taylor’s wanted the journey to include something educational as well. Hence, forums were organized with speakers from Sneakerlah’s industry and representatives from Taylor’s University. Topics discussed included selling on an eCommerce platform.

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For non-sneakerheads, Taylor’s hosted workshops with Me.reka to promote a sustainable environment using sneakers to recreate something new out of it. Different types of workshops were held to create various items, from painted shoe planters, laser cut shoeboxes and DIY ang pao bracelets.

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Results

The campaign was a success for Taylor’s, allowing the university to secure a total campaign exposure of 78% through media buy via OOH, digital, cinema and print. Its target audience were mainly students between the ages of 17 to 25 and parents over 45 years old.

It also had 7,591 visitors for TFM 2020 x Sneakerlah, a 406% increase compared to 2019, making it the highest number of visitors in the last two years. Its top of mind awareness also increased by 1 point to 15% compared to 2019.