True north Appointed Lead Brand Agency for University of South Wales

Kicking off a long-term partnership, True North captured the value of USW’s immersive approach to education in a new campaign.

True North’s 2021 recruitment campaign for the University of South Wales (USW) captures the entrepreneurial, ambitious spirit of the institution with a compelling central idea: Better tomorrows start today.

Beginning a three-year collaboration as lead brand agency, True North’s campaign builds on USW’s positioning as ‘the University for tomorrow’ – emphasising the tangible benefits of immersing students in real-world industry experiences, rather than a detached theoretical approach.

Even before COVID hit, studies have shown under-20s to be more focussed and pragmatic in their approach to career planning than their Millennial predecessors, and also more conscious of the role they can play in addressing the challenges we face as a society. USW’s applied learning approach – focused on making a difference in practice, connecting teaching and research with the world around us, and meeting the needs of future employers – resonates well with that mindset.
True North’s campaign helps establish USW as a forward-thinking new institution within the UK’s higher education landscape, helping it to compete on a level with longer-established neighbours in Cardiff, Swansea, the South West and Midlands.

Born in 2013 from the merger of two 19th-century institutions – University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport – USW looks forward rather than resting on the laurels of its heritage, redefining how education can prepare young people to make their mark on the future.

“For USW students, active engagement with industry is a pivotal part of the experience – and they benefit from access to professional-standard facilities as a result. Courses are designed and delivered with industry partners, and taught by academics with real world experience, to prepare students for the challenges of an ever-changing world” said True North Strategy Director Stuart Barnes.

“It’s a powerful proposition, but generic messaging in previous campaigns made little impact in terms of differentiating USW from its competitors, or elevating it from back-up to first-choice option for prospective students.”

True North captured USW’s passion for turning theoretical ideas into real-world action, emphasising how the university strives to turn out individuals that are as adaptable, resilient and collaborative as they are knowledgeable about their subject.

Using a framing device based on the USW logo, the campaign includes a series of short, sharp films delivered across social platforms including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, as well as both online and restrictions permitting, live open days.

True North’s USW collaboration joins a strong body of work within the education sector, including the universities of Durham, Oxford, Nottingham and Manchester. Over the coming months and years, the agency will take the lead in a broad remit of creative work for USW – ranging from prospectuses to brand guidelines, on-site architecture and way-finding.

Fiona Davies, Head of Brand & Marketing at USW, said “True North greatly impressed throughout the tender process.  They demonstrated a clear understanding of USW’s strengths, and its challenges in the market, and articulated a creative approach fully aligned to the university’s brand proposition and ambition.  The resulting 2021 campaign brings to the fore USW’s mission of delivering education and research that will change lives and change our world.”