Freshers 2020: How brands can adapt and still impact

2020 has been a year in which key moments for brands to engage with their audiences have changed beyond belief. One of the key moments for brands in relation to a student audience has always been Freshers Week. PrettyGreen and The Producers planning director, Jo Hudson, investigated the challenges around marketing to Freshers in a year long study, conducted in 2016.

The summary was that “Back to Uni”  is a rich and fertile opportunity for brands, but it has to be played right. It is far less about Freshers Week and far more about paying attention to the shifting emotional and practical needs of students, as they navigate the whole of their crucial first year of independence.

In 2020, brands should still approach students with this in mind however, this year, it is coupled with a new set of challenges. Brands will need to learn how to flex and innovate whilst helping students operate within this uniquely uncertain time. VICE outlined how students will be living, studying and partying, confirming that there are still opportunities for massive long term impact. Whether it’s helping to break the ice with new housemates, finding friends to commute with or reacting to the changing situation ahead, brands can play a role.

We have been working with a wide range of clients seeking to connect with students in 2020/21 and will be assessing the impact studying at social distance and related behaviour changes, so watch this space for the next round of learnings.