Case Study

Weston College Case Study

Case Study Summary

How the launch of a brand new second campus was used not only to generate media coverage, but also to further enhance Weston College's reputation for inspiring student success.

The Brief

Weston College's Principal wanted a high-profile launch which would:

  • Confirm the strategic direction for the college
  • Showcase the new campus's state-of-the-art facilities and the high quality of students' work
  • Provide an engaging experience for students, staff and the community
  • Promote relationships with local and regional employers, and develop stakeholder partnerships
  • Create a 'buzz' and attract media coverage
  • Ensure strong branding

The Challenge

Sue needed to find an inspirational celebrity who would appeal to all ages. As well as touring the campus and its facilities, she wanted the celebrity to interact with and engage students, staff and guests. The event also needed to involve the college's feeder schools and manage the media effectively.

How Sue Helped

Sue selected Lenny Henry to launch the new campus. He was chosen for his entertainment value and appeal to all age groups, as well as his advocacy and enthusiasm for education and life-long learning: Lenny has recently completed an Open University degree, started a Masters in English Literature and played the lead role in a new production of Shakespeare's Othello.

Sue recommended an action packed, 'hands-on' day which would:

  • Be educationally valuable
  • Inspire students
  • Create great visual opportunities for the media.

The project team, managed by Sue, included members of the senior management team, representatives of the two faculties based at the new campus (Creative Arts and the Sixth Form Centre), student services, and the marketing and estates departments. Clear SMART objectives were set, individual responsibilities agreed and an action plan produced.

  • Media conference and photo call
  • Tours of facilities showcasing students' work
  • Talk for students, staff, school pupils and teachers
  • Workshop for Broadcast Media students
  • Buffett lunch - an opportunity for guests to meet Lenny
  • Post lunch entertainment and finale by Lenny Henry.

Outcome

  • A huge 'feel good' factor for staff, students and the community.
  • TV news coverage on ITV and BBC, a video clip on the BBC News website, and extensive publicity on radio and in print media.
  • An opportunity to involve and nurture relationships with key stakeholders.
  • PR opportunities in feeder schools - photos of pupils and staff with Lenny Henry were used in displays and prospectuses.
  • A wealth of photographs for use in college prospectuses and other publications
  • Excellent experience for those students who were selected to speak to the media.
  • Training leads generated for Weston College's Business Enterprise Centre.
  • A new resource to match an already high profile college