Part I: Defining the problem
Established in 1938, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is Singapore's pioneer arts education institution and is widely recognised in Southeast Asia. However the academy had silently become buried beneath the louder marketing voices of competitor institutions. The NAFA brand needed a boost to achieve a more current brand position relevant to its young target audience, as its well-known and long local history and heritage were ironically working against them to enhance misconstrued perceptions of being back-dated. This was further exacerbated by the lack of relevant touch-points and connections with its target audience- both current and prospective students.
Part II: Our objective? Solving the problem.
The mission Carbon set out on, was simple yet profound; a NAFA brand makeover with the help of social media--one that would marry heritage with modernity; a suitable polishing and repositioning that would:
1) Revive the life of NAFA.
2) Rejuvenate its outlook.
3) Return strength and clarity to its voice.
4) Re-establish relatability and connections to its students.
5) Re-build a sense of togetherness through an engaging community.
More importantly, this makeover was not to be an overhaul that would rob NAFA of its rich heritage and original heartbeat but rather authentically accentuate who NAFA truly is beyond its walls, so students would be proud to call NAFA, their school.
The premise of Carbon's social media strategy can be surmised as compelling visual storytelling. Executed using a multi-prong approach, our visual storytelling is guided by three originally conceptualised hashtags that chart important milestones in the NAFA story.
#OriginalsOnly: Establishing NAFA's voice as an authentic and credible one
An on-ground survey quickly revealed that NAFA students were most active on Instagram. NAFA's instagram, @nafa_sg not only became our main channel of communication but was also where Carbon pioneered new social media trends among educational institutions such as the use of "instagrids". The first part of our strategy focused on poising NAFA students and lecturers as authentic and original, a true articulation of artistic bravery and strength. This was implemented in 3 phases: 1) Pre-showcase 2) Showcase 3) Post-showcase and primarily driven using statement Instagram grids, a creative direction Carbon now prides itself in.
#lifeatNAFA: A day-to-day affair
The day-to-day happenings of NAFA were covered in our strategy through the hashtag, #lifeatNAFA. A pre-existing hashtag owned by the students, #lifeatNAFA built and instilled ownership in the student body as they contributed their own content to NAFA's social media platforms. These posts were an honest portrayal of #lifeatNAFA- boasting of a passion for the arts, friendship and learning, which unifies the NAFA student body in spite of their diverse disciplines.
Relevant and trendy daily content (such as timeline covers with cutting-edge designs, strong visuals and creatively cogent copies) which also rode on #OriginalsOnly continued to increase mindshare, encouraged engagement and sustained the interest of our target audience. Periodically, interesting features further spiked interest and resonated with students. These include a highly localised Carbon-original mini YouTube series of 7 commonly encountered exam personality types that was released during the student examination period; interviews with successful alumni sharing how NAFA contributed to their artistic development, and lecturer features conducted coffee-talk style.
#weareNAFA: Opening our doors to the world
Most importantly, our year-long care of NAFA's social media accounts culminates in the bold hashtag #weareNAFA, which speaks volumes in itself. Rolled out during Open House 2016, a time where NAFA opens its doors to the public and prospective students. #weareNAFA embodies all of whom NAFA is and what it stands for; a simple yet powerful statement that pledges allegiance to one's school and roots, while differentiating NAFA from its competitor institutions. Spanning across multiple platforms, the #weareNAFA campaign began with a three-part guerilla movement which saw Carbon and NAFA's academy of lecturers and students join hands to create and film a dance, theatre and fashion performance to the unsuspecting public at metro stations. These sent the message that NAFA believes that art should not be constrained, is inclusive and all-encompassing, that's who we are. Special behind-the-scenes videos closely followed as soon as these videos gained popularity.
Note: Refer to "Link" for visuals/videos and accompanying explanations.
[May '15-January '16] *statistics reflected on per post basis.
Facebook: 349% growth in fans; from 14,002 fans to 62,804 fans.
1. 4703 likes; with the highest of 111 381 likes obtained.
2. 5009 engagements, with the highest of 56,711 engagements obtained.
3. 8551 organic reach; with the highest of 28 407 obtained.
4. 234, 366 paid reach; with the highest of 788 816 paid reach obtained.
5. 8% click-through rate (CTR) ; with the highest CTR of 32% obtained.
*Industry standards: 0.88% for CTR (Nanigans, Global Facebook Advertising Benchmark Report Q2 2015) and an average of 1.4 post engagements per 1k fans (SocialBakers Q1 2015)
Instagram: 100.9% growth in followers, an increase from 1624 followers to 3262 followers.
1. 226 likes; with the highest of 4103 likes obtained.
2. 5 comments; with the highest of 76 comments obtained.
*Industry standards: Engagement per post is 1.76% of post's audience and follower growth rate of 0.25% per month (Locowise, Q3 2015)
Twitter: 250.1% growth in followers, an increase from 1203 followers to 4212 followers.
1. 970 engagements; with the highest of 12,382 engagements obtained.
2. 9 followers were gained per post.
*Industry standards: 0.3% for engagement rate (Twitter, 2015)
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