Things are looking ‘Up’ for Royal Roads University

The Victoria-based school aims to drive awareness with students who are balancing education goals with work and family.


Victoria, British Columbia’s Royal Roads University is looking to capture the attention of goal-oriented future students with its latest campaign.

Royal Roads is a younger school, having been founded in 1995, and thus doesn’t have the same heritage that other universities might emphasize in their recruitment. Catherine Riggins, associate vice president, marketing and alumni relations, says the campaign is building overarching awareness by targeting working professionals who are looking to improve their education and training, and would be interested in its programs, most of which are a mix of online and on-campus classes that can be balanced with a work schedule.

The “We’ll take you up” campaign combines different “up” phrases with positive connotations (like “show up”), and is part of a national digital campaign (though it does include one billboard by its campus).

Riggins says Royal Roads commissioned a segmentation study from research firm Insights West, and has built its campaign elements around four groups: “time-starved achievers,” “ambition chasers,” “life shapers” and “life starters.” Each of these, she says, has its own landing pages reflecting demographic profiles and needs, based on their different barriers and motivations for attending post secondary institutions – but it’s the “time-starved achievers” that are the main target.

“We are dealing with time-starved people, who have financial concerns and are juggling families and hitting a crossroads,” she says.

This is the third year its been running campaigns based on this segmentation, which Higgins says is a bit newer than its previous approach.

“We used to run corporate campaigns over a two-month period, and then program-specific marketing.” Now it’s an “always on” digital approach, with the occasional, sporadic print ad, she says, to capture different registration times throughout the year.

When it comes to competition, Riggins says education is a crowded category of “just about everybody,” though Royal Roads does have some niche programming that’s specific to the school and helps it stand out, like humanitarian studies. Riggins says the national campaign draws from key markets in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, as its insights show that its messaging resonates with students from these provinces.

The current awareness campaign runs through to the end of March and includes social, digital display, LinkedIn ads and pre-roll. The brand-building side of the campaign is also being supported by more tactical digital ads that promote specific course offerings and accelerated programs.