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Top-3 honours for ‘Own Your Story’ campaign

By Fiona West | September 4, 2023

A Navitas Skilled Futures’ marketing campaign that shares emotive and inspiring settlement stories of migrant and refugee students has been recognised in NSW’s most prominent multicultural communication awards.

The ‘Own Your Story‘ campaign – the first marketing campaign for NSF after rebranding from Navitas English in 2021 – was announced as a top-three finalist in this year’s Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards, in the Business Campaign of the Year category.

The multimedia campaign has helped promote NSF-run programs to thousands of people across a range of platforms, and in multiple languages, since the first video was published 18 months ago.

After interviewing over 100 past and present students across all colleges and programs, six students were selected for video stories, shared on television, social media and in marketing content, in multiple languages, and reaching millions of people (one story reached 600,000 alone). A further eight were chosen to feature in published stories on the New Humans of Australia website and Facebook site, to an audience of more than 130,000 people.

NSF Marketing Director Emma Prineas said in each instance, the student’s individual journeys were respected, and the narrative authentic, rather than inflated.

The reason for the campaign’s success is this authenticity, along with the strategic narrative, based around empowerment of students through the AMEP.

“We ideated this campaign in November 2021, based on a market insight that we needed to inject more emotion into our brand,” she said. “We knew instinctively that sharing real life student success stories would resonate heavily with the target market, and the strong results of the campaign speak to this. We chose amplification channels, across paid, earned and owned media, that would reach our target cohorts in a time and place where they were relaxed and open to being inspired.

“This campaign, and our finalist position, is dedicated to our AMEP students who shared their stories with us. Thank you so much Albert, Aishee and Jing Jing, and the myriad other students who opened up their worlds, and shared their stories, out of a desire to help others. We are in awe of your resilience.”

Three of the Own Your Story video stories promote the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), which helps new arrivals improve their English language and digital skills and integrate into their communities for better work and life opportunities:

Albert Abdal: Meet Albert, a former Syrian fruit farmer and father of three who took AMEP classes at Fairfield. He now runs his own successful painting business. 

Salma Meher Aieshee: Originally from Bangladesh, Aieshee not only found her dream job in IT after the AMEP and Pathways to Work program, but also conquered her water phobia through NSF’s English for Swimming project.

Jing Jing Chua: Jing Jing is a busy young mum of three who, after arriving from Malaysia 10 years ago, has finally found the time to improve her English and digital skills with AMEP classes, helped by free childcare.

Each video was produced in English, with translations into Arabic, Vietnamese and Chinese, and aired on YouTube, digital “Catch Up” TV, the SBS display network and SBS audio. Social media included Facebook and Instagram as well as WeChat seeding, a Chinese media campaign and Arabic influencer campaign.

From a business perspective, year-on-year results of April 2022 v 2021 saw website users up by 134 per cent after the first burst of the campaign. At the time the campaign was launched, enrolments for the program – coming out of rolling COVID lockdowns, and with limited migration – were significantly down. By Jan 2023, new enrolments were up 54 per cent year-on-year, while reengaged clients (reenrolments) were up 32 per cent year-on-year.

Videos were also produced for three other NSF programs – Skills for Education & Employment (SEE), Foundation Skills for Your Future (FSFYF) and Career Transition Assistance (CTA) (no longer running).

Thekrayat Alhashimi: After a big change in life circumstances, Thekrayat found herself looking for work. Despite years of experience, it proved difficult. That’s when she enrolled in the SEE program, and turned her life around.

Hedayat Osyan (FSFYF): The founder of CommUnity Construction – a social enterprise that has created work and life opportunities for more than 75 refugees – said NSF’s Foundation Skills program helped his workers learn English and grow in confidence and independence.

Valerie Solman (CTA): Meet Valerie, who after leaving her long-term hospitality career to care for ill family members, found a new job and lease of life thanks to the CTA program. 

The NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards recognise excellence in the multicultural media and marketing industry. The awards honour innovative and creative marketing campaigns that inspire social cohesion and community harmony. Previous winners include SBS and NSW Health. This year NSF was the only non-government finalist in its category.

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