Background to the brief

Launched by David Cameron in 2010, Tech City UK is a £2 million per year publicly funded organisation that promotes London and the UK as a tech industry hub. 

In 2014 Tech City UK created an online learning platform, the Digital Business Academy, to provide free access to digital business skills for anyone aspiring to run, grow or join a digital business.

 

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Courses are put together by industry experts and world-class educational institutions, including our client University College London. UCL asked us to make video content for presenter led teaching. 

Speaking to our new contacts at the Digital Business Academy we found that they were eager to place video at the centre of their marketing and promotions.

We reported directly to the programme director for the Academy and all work was signed off by Tech City’s chair, former Facebook boss Baroness Shields. Together with a PR agency and a design agency, we were able to shape an integrated medium-term communications strategy. 


As a forward-thinking technology and innovation organisation, they recognised video as the best medium to convey their mission to this audience. 

And video has played a key part, performing a variety of communications tasks across channels in each stage of the Academy’s early life.


To Promote:

driving awareness and engagement

To Explain:

simply answering the question “What is the DBA?”

To Humanize:

lending a sense of real-world authenticity 


Video Project 1 “What Are You Waiting For”
September 2014

Ahead of finalised branding and a complete marketing plan, we created this first unbranded video for a paid distribution “teaser” campaign.


Video Project 2 “Persona Profiles”
October 2014

These were mini bios, videos that told the stories of a selection of user types: the career switcher, the start-up founder, the hustler and the job seeker.


Video Project 3 “The Digital Business Academy Is Here”
October 2014

These were the “Hero” videos – crucial to the success of the DBA’s launch marketing. We were granted access to a number of advocates: tech-entrepreneurs who could testify as to the value of digital business skills and knowledge. The brief called for “endorsement”. We said “walk and talk”. The client was very clear on what they wanted each advocate to say. We produced carefully-worded scripts.

Confined to limited time slots, and with no opportunity for a location recce and just a 2 man crew, we went to Cambridge, London and Sheffield to shoot Sarah Wood (Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Unruly), Mat Braddy (CMO of Just Eat) and Cec Richards (CEO of Slenky) among others.

Comfortable in their own working environment, they were free to project confidence and to speak naturally and enthusiastically to a moving camera. We are also able to build in warmth and fun with staged “hand-offs” to end or begin a sequence. 

We produced a series of edits for the website homepage, for social and for a paid distribution campaign. For each of these and for all future moving image content, we created a series of video brand assets: an animated logo plus intro and outro graphical idents.


Video Project 4 “First Users”
March 2015

As an early opportunity to show evidence of take-up, we made videos for YouTube and the DBA website that show examples of real people’s first experiences of the course. Trusting in the standard “talking heads” and “vox pops” video interview techniques we made 10 videos from a shortlist of course graduates.


Video Project 5 “Success Stories”
November 2015

12 months in, the project was up and running and this new project’s purpose was a reinforcement of key messages: 

  • The growth in the number of courses, sign-ups, and completions
  • The next-step rewards of free mentoring, internships and workspace

It was also essential to represent a cross section of graduate profiles across age-groups, geography and user-type.

We chose:

  • Benedicta Banga - Founder - Gradstrategy - Birmingham
  • David Black - Self-Employed - Cheshire
  • Rachel Bailey - Founding Partner - The Palumbos - Brighton

To achieve consistency with the hero videos, we simplified the “walk and talk/moving camera” shooting style, included more, different angles and a dynamic edit to emphasise the shift to this new updated portrayal of an up and running project in full swing.

We produced a series of edits for the website homepage and for social. We also made silent versions for outdoor media display advertising. 


Conclusion

We were extremely pleased to contribute to the success of the Digital Business Academy with a video-led marketing communications campaign. 
After 14 months, with 30,000 registered users and 15,000 currently studied and completed courses it has borne witness to thousands of individual life-changing transformations.