The Battle for Attention: Digital Prospectuses vs. Household Brands

An illustration of a young person, of diverse descent, looking slightly distraught as they hold and read a large, cumbersome catalog. The catalog is substantial in size, making it a bit challenging to handle, but it contains no text or words, focusing purely on the visual aspect. The young person's expression shows a mix of determination and mild frustration, highlighting the effort involved in managing the sizable catalog. They are seated in a comfortable reading environment, perhaps a library or a study room, with a few books and a lamp around, emphasizing the personal challenge in dealing with the large, text-free catalog. The scene is relatable and focused on the young person's interaction with the catalog, devoid of any written distractions.

Imagine you’ve just been handed a copy of George Orwell’s classic novel ‘Animal Farm’. You anticipate the enthralling allegorical tale, but instead, you flip open the cover to be confronted with hundreds of pages detailing university course options.

Hardly the same appeal, right?

And yet, this is the experience of navigating the traditional university prospectus.

The Traditional University Prospectus: An Epic Read

With a typical length of 150-200 pages, the prospectus is comparable to many classic novels. But while Orwell’s concise prose was intended to hold readers’ attention, course descriptions and university policies often lack the same narrative allure.

But here’s the crux: in today’s hyper-connected, digital-first world, can universities realistically expect to command this level of attention from their audience?

An Unexpected Battleground: Higher Education vs. Household Brands

You get a show or a movie you’re really dying to watch, and you end up staying up late at night, so we actually compete with sleep

Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix

In the race to capture and retain the attention of prospective students, universities are no longer merely competing with each other. They’re up against entertainment giants like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, social platforms such as WhatsApp, and countless other digital distractions.

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, once declared that his biggest competitor wasn’t other streaming services — it was sleep.

This statement reflects the intense battle for attention in the current digital landscape. If sleep is the enemy of one of the world’s most popular entertainment platforms, how do universities, armed with their traditional prospectuses, stand a chance?

The Game-Changer: Engaging, Personalised, Digital Experiences

The answer lies in adapting and evolving. Outside the sector a wave of brands are switching to digital-first strategies: IKEA, Argos, Mercedes and Ford, just to name a few. To engage the modern student, universities must offer a dynamic, interactive, and sustainable digital experience.

Prospectus Plus is a digital-first prospectus that provides a platform for universities to communicate with prospective students in a manner aligned with their other digital interactions. We’re want to revolutionise the university pre-application process.

In a world where attention is the ultimate commodity, the tools used by universities to attract and engage prospective students need a substantial upgrade. It’s not enough to present information — it needs to be presented quickly and personalised.

Picture this: At an open day, someone approaches you and asks you a question. But rather than answer it for them, you tell them that there are 4 questions hidden all around campus. They have to find them, and then figure out which one is right for them.

Yet that’s frequently the approach on university websites.

A creative and metaphorical illustration of a student lost in a university maze. The student, a young adult of diverse descent, appears slightly puzzled but determined, holding a map and a backpack, navigating through a large, complex maze shaped like a university campus. The maze walls are made of tall bookshelves, lecture halls, and academic buildings, symbolizing the challenges and complexities of university life. The background shows a sprawling campus with various university buildings, green spaces, and students in the distance. The image captures the feeling of being overwhelmed yet adventurous in the journey of higher education, with a mix of realism and whimsy.

Prospectus Plus is Different

In Prospectus Plus, you ask simple questions up-front. And once you’ve learned the needs of your prospect, it creates a personalised prospectus for each and every user, all in just a few seconds. Not only do they get all of the relevant information in one place, it’s a neatly sharable package of information that they can easily share with their influencers.

The Future of Early-cycle Education Marketing is Digital

The battle for attention in the digital age is fierce, and the stakes are high. Universities have the opportunity to step up and compete on the same playing field as household brands.

The time for change is now. With Prospectus Plus, universities can leave behind their novel-length prospectuses and embrace the future of digital engagement. Are you ready to turn the page?

Elliott Barnicle
Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer

Articles: 10

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