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Encouraging Canadian Adolescents to Go on Exchange with AFS Interculture Canada

A Communications Strategy

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Encouraging Canadian Adolescents to Go on Exchange with AFS Interculture Canada

A Communications Strategy

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

AFS Interculture Canada is a nonprofit organization that operates on a non-governmental basis. It is the Canadian branch of AFS Intercultural Programs. It enables adolescents to go on foreign student exchanges in order to develop intercultural awareness and skills.
During a briefing in January of 2014, AFS Interculture Canada expressed a problem statement: Canadian adolescents do not feel the urge to leave the country to go on exchange. AFS hopes to increase its quota of Canadian participants by 15% within the upcoming five years. By the means of a central research question, factors that encourage the AFS target group (Generation Z) to participate in secondary school exchanges were determined.
The communications efforts of AFS Interculture Canada focus on incoming students rather than sending the Canadian Generation Z abroad. This represents the core problem which the organization is facing. A communications campaign is necessary in order to encourage the target group to become involved in the offered foreign exchange programs.
Research findings show that developing self-identity and tracing ethnic origins matter to the AFS target group. They are possible campaign messages in relation to participating in a foreign student exchange. Literature was consulted and stated that decisive stages of identity development take place during adolescence. Self-identity development and tracing ethnic origins receive more attention at this stage and become more concrete. Secondary school exchanges greatly impact this development.
Next, it was necessary to determine to what extent the desire to develop one’s identity encourages Canadian adolescents to go on exchange. This represents the knowledge gap of the AFS case. Through in-depth research, it was possible to close the knowledge gap.
Field research results show that AFS target group members and foreign exchange returnees share a stronger interest towards self-identity development, rather than tracing their cultural background. In addition, they would very much like to develop their self-identity by participating in a high school exchange. Therefore, the first was granted as a suitable communications campaign message.
In terms of its communication tool usage habits, Canadian Generation Z is enthusiastic about personal and digital communication. A combination of these two can be incorporated in an integrated marketing communications campaign. Appropriate digital communication tools for the AFS case are social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, in addition to the organizational website. These tools portray the central theme of developing self-identity through photographs, testimonials and videos of Canadian adolescents being abroad. Regarding personal communication, returnees and current exchanges in Canada are asked to wear new AFS t-shirts in public. This forges a dialogue between AFS and its target group and therefore spikes the interest to go abroad among potential future exchange students. Returnees are asked to be present at info days and other events in order to personally share their experiences and enthusiasm with others.
It takes approximately one year to implement this campaign. Monitoring and evaluation are an important aspect in order to measure the response of the target group and weather there is an increase in interest towards AFS exchanges. The campaign can be implemented by a communications professional and an intern starting July 2014. The costs involved are 2,734 CAD.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
OpleidingESC Communicatie
AfdelingAcademie voor European Studies & Communication
PartnersAFS Interculture Canada
Jaar2014
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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