The importance of Fresher’s week and how to target the student demographic

For any brand with students as a key demographic, Freshers’ Fairs are a must attend event. Whether you’re a local brand attending one or two fairs or a national brand executing a nationwide tour, Freshers’ is the place to be seen. The start of Fresher’s and the lead up to a new beginning at university is when students are on a journey of new identity and exploration, meaning this is the perfect time to lay foundations for new business relationships.

In an ever-evolving market, keeping ahead of trends and behaviours is vital. Research tells us that students attend Freshers’ Fairs to discover more about their new city or environment, experience new brands, products and services and of course, for the freebies and new product samples! At this moment in time they are also open to new ideas and trying new things. They are potentially making purchasing choices for the first time in their lives and so this is a prime opportunity for brands to connect and engage with students that could potentially become a lifetime customer.

That said, Freshers’ Fairs are full to the brim with brands vying for the attention of students; it is imperative brands stand out from the crowd and create a lasting impression. Brand activation must be fun, attractive and engaging to break through the noise and maintain an interest.

Brands that create an immersive, fun and memorable experience, create a much closer bond and connect more effectively with students. The experience of a perfectly formed experiential marketing campaign will inspire and ultimately build loyalty, so brands can expect to make a ‘friend for life’.

It is also important for brands not to forget the aforementioned freebies!

Time and time again our research shows that Freebies are one of the main incentives for students to attend a fair. This need not be expensive. Students really do latch onto the most random of items, why? Because they are free! We have seen the most random of items right down to saucepan top the poll for a favourite freebie. However, you really don’t need to go all out on your merchandise, you just need to get into the psyche of the audience and give them something they want and need. Brands that provide original, fun and attractive freebies tend to be favoured and remembered, by students. In researching your demographic for key trends, particularly on social media, you ensure you keep ahead of the competition in tantalising students with ‘cool’ and ‘quirky’ items they simply must have.

When planning your Freshers’ campaign do not overlook the importance of devoting the time and effort required to recruit the perfect promotional staff for your campaign and your brand. Promotional staff are the face of your brand, they are on the front-line interacting with potential or existing customers, so it’s imperative the staff you use reflect your brand, image and vision.

This could be the first time someone has heard of your brand and we all know how important first impressions are, they can affect their perception of your brand for life. Promotional staff are a pivotal piece of any experiential campaign puzzle and they really are the difference between a good campaign and a great campaign. Engaging, professional staff will create a lasting impression on new or existing customers, not only enhancing the reputation of your brand but improving the success of your campaign. Our research has shown that 24 % of students were not aware of large name brands but over half of these would later purchase having interacted with their staff and representatives at a freshers fair.

With hundreds of Freshers’ Fairs happening across the UK annually, it really is an incredible opportunity for brands to make their mark in the student market. After the first 3 months of university life, students start to settle down into their new surroundings, the choices and decisions they made during their first few months have started to take form and stick. We see year on year brand loyalty forming during the Freshers period and lasting into life after study, so fairs really can be the make or break for any brand!

Freshers fairs are a fabulous way of engaging with a student demographic. A demographic who are making choices for the first time. Whatever your business or product, you can certainly make an impact at these types of events and if you get it right, these initial interactions could extend to lifelong customer loyalty.

At Burst Marketing we are highly experienced in providing staffing solutions for Fresher’s Fairs and targeting your student demographic. Contact us today to see how we can transform your customers brand experience.