• David Cook

How To Land Your Freshers Tour

Updated: Jun 7

The Crowd team have over 50 years of combined experience designing and executing Freshers campaigns. That 50 years includes many successes but also quite a few challenges that we’ve had to overcome. Whilst the uncertainty and imperfections of live campaigns is part of what we love, we’ve come up with a few simple steps that will not only provide the underlying context for the campaign but also the blueprint of how to execute it.

Step 1 - Create a Purpose

It may sound obvious but it is vital to have a genuine understanding of why the campaign is happening and who/what it’s for. To help us understand the reason for a campaign we look to create a clear and overarching “campaign purpose” from the outset.

When creating a purpose or objective we have found that they can often be very data driven. Whilst this can be useful, our stance is that data based objectives are to be used to help achieve the campaign purpose, they're not the purpose of the campaign.

Further to this we often find that being too data driven can lead a campaign to become uninspired. For instance:

"Being the Number 1 Burrito brand for students across the UK."

Can quickly become...

"Increase sales of burritos to students from x to y."

Sure, you should promote student offers and track sales, it's a great thing to report on. However please don't let that be the sole reason for running what should be a fun and vibrant campaign. When finding your purpose be big, be bold, be aspirational!

Step 2 - Create a Journey

Once you have an understanding of the campaign and its purpose, it’s time to get creative.

The first step in this section is to create a campaign mechanism. This is the set up, competition or interactive element of the campaign that triggers a response from the students. There are a million and one different ways you can approach this but our advice is to always keep it simple and related to what you do.

Given the footfall numbers at Freshers' Fairs the campaigns tend to be about volume and less about dwell time so make sure that whatever the mechanism is it can be completed in seconds rather than minutes. The balancing act is devising an activation that can be done in that time frame but is also fun, engaging and relevant to the campaign purpose. Once you have this in place you can map out a clear and effective student journey.

Step 3 - Create a Plan

The first two stages are of course vital but are only the tip of the iceberg and the part that students see. The behind the scenes logistical planning is what will take up the majority of time.

The unique nature of Freshers Season means that there are hundreds of event days taking place over a 4 week period. So it is inevitable that there will be clashes and scheduling issues that can at times feel quite illogical. However getting the event schedule in place is key as it leads on to all of the other elements that come with it such as hotels, staff, vans, storage, expenses… The list goes on.

The good news is with the years of experience that we have within the Crowd team there aren’t many fairs that we haven’t attended so we have a good understanding of the idiosyncrasies of each event.

Step 4 - Make it happen

I would love to say that if steps 2 & 3 are carried out that this is the easy part. Unfortunately sometimes it can feel like these plans get thrown out of the window on day one. In reality this is never actually the case. Often when the campaign is live the plan you had becomes more of a compass to help you navigate than a set route.

We’ve seen time and again how important it is to remain adaptable through the delivery of a campaign. The worst thing you can do is try to wrestle the campaign back to the paper based plan you had when things are changing around you. The best thing you can do is pivot and adjust as the campaign goes on, ensuring that whatever it takes the campaign is focused on its original overarching purpose.


When we plan a campaign the intention of these steps is to provide absolute clarity in the campaign. There are of course plenty of functional and tangible elements that make up the whirlwind of planning a Freshers campaign; stand build, merchandise, recruiting staff. However, based on our experience having that initial clarity keeps the overall project management in line and focused in the right direction. Ultimately that is what’s needed to turn a good campaign into a great one!

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