How a video for the University of Canterbury became a case study in great creative partnerships

Let’s tell it like it is. Creative partnerships don’t always go smoothly.

Most businesses we work with do a lot of marketing. When they come to us, it isn’t their first video rodeo. But often they’ve been burnt by disappointing creative partnerships. The first thing we do is show them things are going to be different with us. 

There’s an art to getting great work out of your creative partners. Which is why the story of this University of Canterbury video project is worth telling.

The client

We often work with the talented team at Strategy to create videos for their clients.

As University of Canterbury’s strategic and creative partner, they work with them on recruitment and branding campaigns. Recently, we collaborated on a project where all the elements required for great creativity aligned.

Their challenge

In 2020 Strategy did a brand campaign for the University called Believe U Can about self-belief as the core driver for personal and societal change. The University’s role is to inspire self-belief in their students and be a positive environment for personal growth.

Towards the end of the year, the University briefed Strategy on their annual campaign “UCme” and wanted to extend it by creating a brand film piece directly linked to “Believe U Can”.

There were a number of needs and criteria from the client to take into account for this film. They wanted it to show the diversity of their community, and to be bi-cultural, representing the mana whenua of the land the University sits on. 

Our approach 

Find the right talent. We knew we wanted our narrator to be a Ngāi Tahu woman. Someone relatable to young students, yet with the gravitas to pull off spoken word. 

A role that specific isn’t an easy task to cast. Luckily, this is where our team-based approach comes in handy. We regularly partner with top talent locally and nationally to gear up for bigger productions. So, we were able to cast the net wide and find the perfect person through our film industry connections. 

Select student talent. We shortlisted students with interesting stories, met them all, filmed them, and cast to reflect the diversity of the University’s student body, and their range of subjects. Importantly, we didn’t cast through to a formula, we had the freedom to find authentic stories and we told them.

Create an emotive story arc without words. Believe U Can is an exercise in visual storytelling. We’re creating a short narrative for each student, showing their motivations for study in the simplest, most cinematic way we could.

Be bold. Cutting through the noise requires courage. You have to have conviction to make a creative statement, back yourself to deliver it, and fight for it, if necessary. 

Trust your creative partner. Creativity is about freedom of expression and freedom requires trust. The University trusted Strategy and trusted us by association. Strategy trusted us with full creative freedom. Trust inspired everyone to move mountains on a modest budget.

Campaign results

735,548 completed video views

17,799 clicks to the UC website 

Facebook advert click through rate 4.12%* for the 30 second video 

Facebook advert click through rate 3.14%* for the 90 second video 

*Industry benchmark 0.80%-2.0%

What our clients say

Former creative partner at Strategy, Rupert de Paula says, “The University gave us total 100% freedom and trust. Their trust and Resonate’s commitment made the whole project a smooth, seamless process. For us, it’s always about the long game with our clients. We want to have long-term creative relationships.” 

“And it’s the same for us and Resonate. That same level of trust and give and take. I would not have given another production company as much free rein. Resonate do an exceptional job. They put their heart and soul into things, and I take my hat off to them.”