Honouring excellence in university marketing, communications and development

A COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser, a student hardship fund appeal, and a quirky story about turning banana plantation waste into sustainable packaging are among campaigns honoured today as part of the Universities Australia Marketing, Communications and Development (UAMCD) awards.

The UAMCD awards recognise excellence in the fields of marketing, communications and fund raising at Australia’s universities.

Presenting the awards in an online ceremony, Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said that 2020 had been a testing year for all Australians and a challenging one for students, universities and their communities.

“It’s fairly safe to assume that, as a result of COVID-19, nobody’s 2020 work plan looks much like it did back in January. Staff throughout Australia’s universities have quickly transitioned to a ‘new normal’ looking after the best interests of their students.

“I congratulate all those whose work has been recognised in these awards and thank everyone for their hard work and dedication in such a demanding year,” Ms Jackson said.


Best Marketing Campaign – Larger Budget

Charles Sturt University, ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign

The ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign set out to bring the new Charles Sturt University brand to life by making it a first-choice tertiary institution. The judges said the campaign was a success, based on demonstrated student insight, and a clear target market. The judges noted how the ‘It’s What We Do’ campaign provides a focal point around which the university is rethinking and reshaping programs and experiences.

Best Marketing Campaign – Smaller Budget

Queensland University of Technology, QUTeX

QUTeX is a relatively new provider of professional and tailored executive education. The purpose of the campaign was to position QUTeX as a leader in the space of professional and executive customised education for the business-to-business market in Queensland and Canberra, targeting government, corporates and not-for-profits. The judges commended the use of simple but effective channels to reach the target audience, including out-of-home advertising at airports as well as office towers, and simple creative messaging. The key campaign achievement was the recruitment of $2.2 million in new, major client business.

Best Proactive Communications

UNSW, Promoting packaging made from banana plants

This winning entry impressed the judges with the team’s approach of taking a quirky news story – turning banana plantation waste into sustainable packaging – into a compelling communications strategy that both promoted the university’s reputation for innovation, and attracted new leads for investment and funding from industry. This campaign was a stand-out for its clear business case and the successful leveraging of national and international interest to deliver tangible value for the university.

Best Real-Time Response Communications

Queensland University of Technology, Emergency Student Fund Appeal

QUT’s Emergency Student Fund Appeal showed that often the best real-time communications can be simple, straightforward and effective when you really know your target audience.

Confronted with unprecedented demand for financial assistance from students, it was conceived and launched in just five days as the first nation-wide lockdown was announced.

The appeal raised more than double the target amount and was provided support to 338 students. It delivered tangible results and very importantly, QUT followed up by thanking its donors and supporters.

Best Fundraising or Engagement Campaign – Large Team

The University of Queensland, COVID-19 vaccine acceleration project

Back in February The University of Queensland (UQ) embarked on a bold plan to accelerate development and manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID-19. The university received $16.5 million from government and donors if UQ secured a further $6.5 million. An appeal was launched using a $100 gift from local schoolchildren as a catalyst and the outcome exceeded the target, raising over $10 million from 2600 individuals, foundations and corporations in less than three months. The judges noted how UQ overcame a critical funding gap with time sensitive, cautiously optimistic, factual and purposeful communication.

Best Fundraising or Engagement Campaign – Small Team

Western Sydney University, Giving Day

An inaugural event, the Giving Day campaign involved digital, email, telephone and social media marketing channels to raise almost $770,00 from more than 820 donations. These support scholarships, research and other programs at Western Sydney University. The winning entry impressed the judges with the range of projects including the campaign highlight, the ‘Chancellor’s Challenge’ abseil where high-profile members of the university community and friends abseiled from level nine of the university’s Peter Shergold Building in the heart of the Parramatta CBD. The campaign exceeded its target by 53 per cent. The judges liked the way that Giving Day tapped into and positioned the university in the community.

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