Due to the devastation and disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many UK universities found themselves wanting to offer their support to Ukrainian universities in a meaningful and impactful way. This inspired the start of the Twinning Partnership scheme, an initiative by the Cormack Consultancy Group (CCG) and Universities UK International (UUKi) to encourage universities from the UK and Ukraine to form five-year reciprocal partnerships, enabling sharing of support, resources, ideas and expertise.
Our brief was to launch a campaign to communicate the impact of the initiative so far, to encourage other universities to get involved and to positively influence perceptions of the UK higher education sector as a force for good.
From listening and learning about how various twinned universities had been working together so far, we identified the core theme of the campaign was creating hope – for the short term and the future. Working closely with teams from UUKi and CCG, we developed the #twinforhope campaign.
At the heart of the campaign was a powerful, inspiring film that illustrated the benefits being felt by some of the twinned universities in UK and Ukraine, and their ambitions for the future of the initiative. By filming pairs of twinned colleagues, side by side on Zoom, we captured authentic accounts of how the initiative was delivering hope, belief and support.
Alongside the film we produced a campaign toolkit to circulate to all UK universities, consisting of social media frames, press releases, film edits and email templates to allow universities to communicate their own twinning messages, in a consistent and cohesive way.
The campaign launched on 8th September 2022 with a reach of over 4 million on Twitter on day one alone, increasing to 5 million over time. The toolkit has seen a strong uptake, with lots of examples of assets being utilised to showcase how individual universities are involved in the initiative. 10 UK universities have signed up to the Twinning Partner Initiative since the campaign launch (85 in total to date) and UUKi are in talks with the German and Canadian education sectors to gain their involvement.
“Waterfall did an incredible job of bringing to life an extremely sensitive and emotive story, paying great testament to the hard work of UUKi, Cormack Consulting Group and over 70 UK universities who had quickly twinned and started providing support to Ukranian universities. All Waterfall’s team were so committed to delivering the best possible campaign for us, our members and the higher education sector – we would not hesitate to work with them again in the future.”
Andy Howells, Assistant Director, External Relations at Universities UK International
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