With the announcement of Covid-19 restrictions curtailing public gatherings across the country for the foreseeable future, universities and institutes of technology were left with a number of serious dilemmas. Without an open day how could they plan for the intake of new students in September? How were they to promote their unique offering without the personal dynamics of live talks, seminars and Q&A sessions? Apart from the logistical challenge of delivering information in a meaningful way, the real conundrum faced by educational institutions was how to evoke the energy and enthusiasm of prospective students who under normal circumstances would gather in corridors, hallways, canteens and lecture halls.
Rather than seeing this as an insurmountable obstacle, the GMIT marketing team rose to the challenge with a groundbreaking proposal: a Virtual Open Day, unlike any other. Instead of holding a simple one-day online event, GMIT engaged the creative and marketing team at Proactive Design + Marketing to provide an innovative online solution, embarking on a three-week journey that would transform everything we thought we knew about communicating. This collaboration has culminated in an outstanding piece of work, the GMIT Virtual Open Day Experience, which can be viewed at openday.gmit.ie
Having previously worked with GMIT for 23 years, Proactive has a unique insight into the brand and what resonates best with key audiences. Our designers once again succeeded in delivering a creative and user-friendly online experience. One of the challenges with this project was to assimilate as much relevant content as possible and present it in a way that would engage students and their parents. However, unlike previous projects of this nature, there was a spanner in the works this time: there could be no face to face meetings, and video content had to be created at home. While not the ideal method of video production, it actually turned out to be more realistic in a sense, as lecturers, advisors, heads of department, and even the president enthusiastically embraced this new and sometimes awkward approach; it just worked.
Unique offerings on the site include a Careers Corner where prospective students can identify their strengths and match them to courses and careers. Proactive worked with the GMIT Careers Guidance team to develop the worksheets and materials to allow students to take part in this very insightful exercise at home.
A NEW WAY OF COMMUNICATING
What has been most interesting in the era of Covid-19 is the way so many have embraced video communication – even those who may have been resistant in the past. This, along with many other positive changes, may well be the ‘new normal’ for all generations from now on.
When the team at GMIT was faced with not being able to meet their audience in person, they had to reach out in an accessible and meaningful way; the Virtual Open Day delivers a customisable, intimate approach in a user-friendly format. Not every user follows a presentation at the same speed, so being able to pause, rewind and replay video content is the ideal solution.