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The Brief:

The Tonic Communications was commissioned with a project brief to drive a PR strategy focused on: Northumbria University’s Health and Life Sciences offering; student work from Northumbria’s arts, design, fashion and architecture courses exhibited through the end-of-year shows and general profile raising in the run up to Confirmation and Clearing period.

Communicating the key areas of Northumbria University’s excellence was the aim of the PR strategy, aligning seamlessly with the work of the in-house team. Activity included identifying stories that would pique national attention, targeting of relevant stories, seeking national TV ‘sofa’ opportunities and inviting media to visit the University during the first day of Confirmation and Clearing.

The Results:

Within a three month campaign a total of 46 pieces of positive coverage reached more than 14 million consumers.

Standout coverage included a studio interview with a fashion student on Sky News Sunrise, live coverage on BBC News Online and the Daily Mirror, advice and opinion editorial in The Guardian, Metro, the Daily Telegraph, BBC Radio One and Talk Radio, while ITV Tyne Tees and Metro Radio carried out broadcast interviews at the Clearing Centre.

Enhanced national coverage contributed to a very successful 19/20 recruitment round, despite national media reports that this was the most competitive A-level student recruitment round to date. Northumbria’s Clearing hotline saw a significant increase in calls compared to 2018, with the phone lines between 8am-10am the busiest on record in the University’s history.

Andrea Slowey, PR & Media Manager at the University, said: “We commissioned Tonic as we needed additional support to deliver activities at a very busy time of year. They provided a bespoke, highly flexible service and responded to emerging opportunities and changing requirements with ease. Tonic integrated well with our in-house team, working on-site as required, which was especially important for us. The results of this positive relationship were evident in both the coverage they generated and through the new opportunities they identified for us. We could clearly see our messaging getting through to our target audiences – thanks in no small part to the efforts of the team at Tonic.”

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