International House, University of Sydney

In the dawn of increased on-campus competition from corporate residences, International House University of Sydney engaged Paper Monkey to develop insights for their marketing plan, as well as to deliver social media training to their marketing staff.

Our strategy was to discover what made IH different from the increasing competition, as well as how to best communicate this differentiation in a way that resonates with its unique audience.

A planning period of four weeks involved a desktop market research and competitor analysis, combined with research data IH and the University of Sydney were able to provide. This thorough external view gave us a solid grounding to work from when we engaged with the IH students after the planning period.

Student engagement

We held discovery sessions with IH students and staff from varying backgrounds, as well as differing ages to ensure an extensive cross section of the current market pool.

Via a series of discussions and novel activities, our sessions used indirect group and individual inquiry and examination, deepening our planning stage competitor analysis, as well as unpacking how IH students see themselves and their peers, and what thought process a typical IH resident follows when selecting a college. Brand perceptions (from culture to financial analysis) assisted us in preparing our final report and recommendations.

Initial deliverables

Our research and engagement was used to deliver a report that formed the basis of a marketing plan, including recommendations, brand strategy, student insights, touchpoint mapping, competitor analysis, brand language tone, tagline, and photographic imagery strategy. This information formed the way forward for all marketing material both on and offline.

We also delivered additional recommendations and customised ideas for future marketing activities, stemming from the research we had undertaken.


Based on the initial deliverables, we designed a series of touchpoints for use and testing at the University of Sydney Open Day, including brochures, T-shirts, banners and fact sheets. IH was able to use the designs and language from this initial suite as a foundation to develop subsequent in-house material ranging from print, social media and video.

Social media training

After gauging skill levels, as well as attitudes towards social media and the current depth of use and institutional fears around the medium, we developed a customised session to help the relevant IH staff. They were able to gain a better understanding of the current social media ecosystem and the value of a presence beyond one platform in delivering content in an efficient and meaningful way. Other topics included content marketing and planning, risk management and strategy.

In addition to the social media training, we developed a Social Media Playbook, and framework for IH to develop a Social Media Policy and Usage Guidelines.


The economic benefit of the self-sufficiency gained through our process was as equally valuable as the brand definition and differentiation. After a successful University Open Day, IH Marketing are now able to produce in-house (as well as in partnership with us where required) bold, relevant and consistent marketing material, regardless of the medium it is delivered on.

The social media usage by IH continues to develop, and along with the new brand vision and visuals, rival that of the larger corporate residences on campus.

We can help you find out what is unique about your college, and help you find the right students. Contact us today.