Video Strategy for Your University / Look and Feel

Arguably the most exciting part of the planning process, this is when creative ideas are introduced and the look and feel of the final piece is discussed. Left to last, the look and feel can now take into account all of the other factors to ensure cut through and effectiveness against your objectives.

This is step 6 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

How do you want to present your University’s brand?

Just as you wouldn’t print your prospectus on nasty paper using a horrific design (we hope), consider what the quality and style of your video says about your University. Wobbly frames, unclear audio and unflattering shots look cheap and unprofessional.

You might save money by filming on your iPhone or asking the video technician to create something, but the results won’t be the same; cheap is a false economy.

At the same time, budgets aren’t infinite and your University needs to demonstrate value for money. That’s why having a clear objective and metrics for success in place from the start help to keep the content focused and provide the ability to track its effectiveness.

In addition, there are lots of ways of increasing your value for money. For example, you could film content for two videos at once, or edit longer video content into a number of shorter pieces to create multiple, bite-sized videos. Alternatively, instead of having a film crew onsite for two days, book them for four and plan in how you can get a whole suite of video content created at once, which you can release in stages over the year.

Keeping it real

Many prospective students will do independent research on your University, so there’s no point creating a misleading or unauthentic video, and nor should you want to. Prospective students are sophisticated enough as consumers to be suspicious of perfection. At best you’d be setting unrealistic expectations which would lead to a disappointing actual experience, damaged feedback ratings and a harder recruitment cycle next year. International students do know that it gets cold and wet in England so there’s no need to only film during summer!

How will you bring the message to life?

What approach suits your objective, audience, message and call to action best? Are you seeking to educate, inform or entertain viewers? All three can be effective approaches, just don’t bore people!

That may sound obvious but it’s a common mistake – don’t create videos that no-one wants to watch. The reason the majority of people would rather watch a video than read a webpage or brochure is because the video format is more visually immersive, engaging and reflective of our actual physical experience of the world. So unless your Vice Chancellor is a top vlogger or a respected celebrity, don’t film him or her talking for five minutes and expect it to interest prospective students.

This is an area where your creative agency can add significant value, bringing in fresh ideas, introducing you to current trends and explaining the technical possibilities offered by the video format.

An example – Clearhead’s creative process

At Clearhead, we have a defined process to identify the best way of bringing a message to life for our clients. First of all we hold a Creative Chemistry meeting with all stakeholders present. Ideas are shared freely, with nothing judged or rejected at this stage. Clearhead take everything away and begin a Discovery Phase of research, developing initial concepts for the client to review. We include examples of treatments that give a clear indication of the look and feel we have in mind. After further discussion with the client, we fine-tune the idea further, eventually developing a shot list for production.


The music used in your video plays a huge role in setting the mood, from upbeat, foot-tapping tracks to emotive, soaring soundtracks that move viewers to tears. The John Lewis commercials are a case in point: play them without sound, and you’ll find they lose a huge amount of their impact.

You can source an appropriate soundtrack and pay to licence it (with additional fees payable if you want to broadcast your video on cinema or TV).

Alternatively, you can commission bespoke music. This can be crafted to match the video cues perfectly, multiplying the emotional impact. The cost of having bespoke music is comparable to the broadcast fee for many sourced tracks, so if you are planning to show your video in cinemas or on TV then it makes sense to choose bespoke.

If you have people speaking to camera, then the audio of their speech needs to be clear, especially if you want international students or students who will be watching it from their mobiles to understand what is said. Remember that if your video will typically be shown with the volume turned off (e.g. in a waiting area or as part of an exhibition stand), then voiceovers and interviews should be avoided, or at least be captioned. Captioning videos also ensures they are accessible to those with hearing impairments, so it’s good practice to do this anyway.

Whatever you decide with regards to your audio, it’s best to get a professional sound engineer involved. They will notice things you might not, such as key beats in the music overlapping with spoken parts, or words being pronounced unclearly during a voiceover recording session.

With a clear idea of what you want from every aspect of your video, it’s time to go into pre-production and then filming can begin! Good luck!

Thank you for reading our video strategy guide for Universities! Click here to return to the overview page.

Please let me know what you think and ask any questions about your own video strategy. or call us on 02074941589

Sarah, Education New Business Strategist at Clearhead