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    Creating an inspiring virtual experience

    UCAS/Discovery virtual events

    How we collaborated with UCAS to review, develop and improve the UCAS/Discovery digital experience for 2021. We aimed to take their experience to the next level after we’d helped them to accelerate their move towards virtual open days during the pandemic.



    Putting audience insights at the heart of this project, we created a clear strategy and vision based on the wants, needs and behaviours of young people. Together with UCAS, we developed an exciting new identity. We pushed the existing digital platform to its limits to stand out in the market. And we transformed their virtual open day experience by creating a simplified user-journey and inspiring video content, including student tour guide videos to help welcome people and show them around.



    Our job was to work with UCAS to bring the experience to life through a memorable name, standout identity and inspiring content that would connect with young people and their influencers. We set out to create the content our audience wanted to see. And we only had a few weeks to do it in!


    Collaborating with UCAS, we created a name, logo and colourful identity for UCAS/Discovery. As young people had gone through a tough time, particularly regarding their education, we made sure the identity was bright, positive, energetic and reflected a new journey and vibrant online festival that had headline acts, backstage content from students and places to chat to universities and students.


    At a strategic level we worked with UCAS to map out the different sections and identify the content gaps to create a platform where students could be inspired, get advice and decide on their future path by exploring a wide range of post-18 options. We then created 40+ videos in around six weeks designed to appeal to students at different stages of the journey:

    • Tour guide videos – as peer-to-peer communications are incredibly popular with our target audience we recorded real-life-students remotely who provided a warm welcome and acted as a student guide, letting visitors know what they could expect on the platform.
    • Q&A videos – we identified 20 popular questions young people wanted the answers to. We recorded authentic students and apprentices talking about their experiences, remotely during lockdown, with makeshift greenscreens. We created a series of 20 short videos that provided quick answers to such key questions as applying to university and student accommodation.
    • Career choices videos – many students are simply unaware of the career choices open to them, so we encouraged students to explore different possibilities. Through a series of ten 60-second videos we quickly showcased 100 different careers, courses and skills based on such inspiring themes as future careers, planet saving careers, life improving careers, outdoor careers, careers for activists, different jobs in the NHS and surprising degrees.
    • The world needs you – the pandemic changed how the world worked, shopped and learnt. It sped up change and acted as a reset for society. Through a series of five empowering videos, we provided a rallying cry for our youth audience tapping into themes such as sustainability, future jobs and frontline heroes to inspire them that this was their time.



    We helped to transform the user journey and migrate all of this content to a new online platform, advising on the structure, strategy and content. We also played a key role in marketing UCAS/Discovery through new video and social content.  Together we:

    • Developed a unique identity for UCAS’s student/influencer facing digital events
    • Devised a student-led content strategy and produced 40+ pieces of content for the platform while re-purposing the content for organic and paid social promotion
    • Engaged with 100+ university partners to participate in the events
    • Attracted thousands of students to the June 2021 Discovery Week with more accessing the content after the event
    • Increased social media reach and engagement – the content drove a major push on Instagram and the creation of a 3,000 strong TikTok community
    • Generated extremely positive sentiment on social from schools/colleges.


    “Waterfall have helped us to reimagine our face-to-face and virtual events, introducing the brilliant UCAS/Discovery brand, and helping us show our audience how the off-line and online events connect. Thanks to Waterfall’s strategic input, our information, advice and guidance content for applicants making crucial post-school decisions has increased in quality and reach. They’ve helped us to reimagine UCAS content, which was traditionally focused on the application process (the form) to be inspiring and relevant to all students, not just those headed for three-year undergraduate degrees. Waterfall are a brilliant, supportive and inspiring team to work with.”

    – Dave Penney, Director of Marketing, UCAS