International Baccalaureate Creates Community-Powered Social Campaign to Celebrate 50-Year Anniversary

The International Baccalaureate® (IB), a nonprofit organisation found in Geneva, offers four high quality educational programmes to more than one million students aged 3 to 19 years old in almost 5,000 schools in 153 countries around the globe.

Now in its 50th year, the IB approached Stackla to explore a user-generated content-(UGC) driven initiative for its anniversary campaign #IB50.

Objectives

The marketing campaign goals were to:

  • Tell and share the IB’s brand story
  • To acknowledge the teachers who helped along the way
  • Promote the breadth and quality of the IB’s four educational programmes

Needing to truly resonate with their diverse audiences around the world, the IB wanted to tell their story from the perspective of their current students, educators and alumni while utilising digital channels and social media more effectively.

Celebrating 50 Years with Real Life Community Stories

Partnering with Stackla, the IB decided the best way to celebrate its 50th anniversary was to showcase the authentic voices of its community. The #weareIB campaign asked students and alumni to complete this sentence: “The IB educator I’d like to thank is…” using the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.

“The strength and impact of the IB rests in our community. We knew it was important to tell our story through them. So we chose to create a celebration of our educators, rather than a standard promotional campaign. Using real life stories from our students and community is the most persuasive way to tell an honest and heartfelt brand story.” – Matthew Shaw, Digital Communications Manager at the IB

The IB used Stackla to aggregate the UGC posted by their community across various types of media (text, posts, tweets, images, and videos) and display it on the campaign web page.

At the core of the webpage sits an interactive UGC-powered global map demonstrating how much IB educators have inspired students and alumni in almost 5,000 schools across the world.


“It’s really difficult to show the scope of IB World Schools across regions, time zones and cultures persuasively with words. The visual map was a key feature we needed.” said Shaw.

All the team needed to do was quick and light development work to create a campaign web page and style it to make the UGC widgets match the website’s look and feel. Shaw credits Stackla’s user-friendly editor interface and flexible UX styling options as saving the team countless hours.

“Stackla took care of the heavy-lifting functionality and easily generated real-time visual maps populated with location-based community photos. It added a visually engaging and interactive element to our site while completely removing the pain our team might have felt if we tried to develop something like it ourselves.”

Not only does user-generated content highlight the authentic educational experience, it also creates a sense of community. Through UGC, the IB has a constant stream of engaging content to choose from as students, alumni and teachers stay connected.

“The community appreciates being able to see their content presented on our website, which we’ve seen is a key driver for them to contribute their own stories to the campaign.”

The 50th anniversary communications campaign includes social media promotions and a chatbot to answer questions from online visitors. Stackla also supports the IB with conferences in Africa and Singapore, allowing them to showcase community stories on event pages and live screens for a true multi-channel brand experience.

How the IB Evaluated User-Generated Content Platforms

The IB team went through an extensive evaluation process between different UGC platforms based on a checklist of required functionality. Aggregation, curation, API flexibility and ease of implementation were all key. They narrowed down the options to Stackla and one other vendor and used a comparison table to make their decision.

“We looked at Stackla alternatives but the Stackla platform won based on multi-channel display capabilities, with flexible and responsive layout options across not only websites but also emails, social ads and event screens. It was also the best platform for operational ease of use and speed of implementation.”

Not to mention Stackla’s strategic partnership with the IB’s CMS, Episerver, which helped to make their UGC platform choice a no brainer.

Stackla’s stellar customer success team and clear tech documentation also played a crucial role in the IB’s success. “We’ve been well supported by our Customer Success Manager and the API documentation has been great. Our developers and Stackla’s technical team have productive conversations to think through and create the best solutions for our needs,” said Shaw.

Helping to Curate Influencer Content

To help amplify the reach of the campaign, the IB leveraged influencer content from educational thought leaders and distinguished alumni.

“We see influencer content as a subset of user-generated content. The organic content we receive from influencers is content that we want to spot, jump on and highlight immediately. Stackla allows us to easily discover the influencers we’re engaging with organically, and surface and curate the best of their content.”

Anniversary Campaign Results

The #weareIB campaign ran for three months and the success metrics were set from the start around content pieces gained as well as social reach and engagement. For the website, the IB focused on page traffic, unique page views and time on page to track user’s engagement with the content.

It was a tremendous success on several fronts:

  • 979 content pieces were generated
  • 87 map pins showcasing the global influence of IB
  • 8.9 percent growth in social followers during the campaign
  • 58 percent higher average time on site
  • 69 percent boost in campaign engagement rate — the highest they’ve ever had for a social campaign

The IB was also impressed by the power of their communities’ social content to build excitement around live events. The #IBSG2018 hashtag for their four-day IB Global Conference in Singapore generated 3,489 pieces of content! Not only was the community able to relive the whole conference through these photos, but the IB can now use that content as social validation for the quality of their events in future promotions.

“Beyond the strong metrics we saw as a result of our user-generated content campaign, it has also delivered greater awareness and PR internally. Other teams in the business have been impressed with what we’ve achieved.”

What’s Next?

The success of the 50th anniversary campaign provided the IB with a strong proof of concept on the Stackla platform. They’ll be placing user-generated content at the heart of their next big campaign coming up this year #generationIB, including placing dynamic UGC displays in their emails.

“User-generated content forms a major part of the IB’s branding strategy this year. We’re partnering with Stackla to support even bigger and better future campaigns to come.”

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