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  • Eloise Barclay

Australia's largest student Startup Weekend

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

In just 54 hours, experience the exhilaration of building a startup that could change the world!

In March 2020, CEA in partnership with Techstars and QUT Entrepreneurship delivered Australia's largest student Startup Weekend - NextGen. Startup Weekend NextGen empowered students to create the future they want to live in. It was about embracing technology and innovation, and tackling global challenges with creativity, agility, resilience and empathy.

As a Marketing team, we were briefed with the concept of a student-led Startup Weekend in September 2019. Marketing drove multiple brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders to determine what the theme of the event should be and who the target audience was. The theme that we landed on was NextGen and the audience being university students, in particular first to fourth year students. From this I developed and led an omnichannel marketing campaign strategy to highly target the audience and created campaign content pillars to ensure diversity and quality of content.

Startup Weekend NextGen Content Pillars and Plan developed by Eloise Barclay

I worked closely with the Marketing Assistant and Head of Brand, Marketing and Communications to develop compelling copywriting for the campaign. See the copy below:


In just 54 hours, experience the exhilaration of building a startup that could change the world!

Startup Weekend NextGen will empower you to create the future you want to live in. It’s about embracing technology and innovation, and tackling global challenges with creativity, agility, resilience and empathy.

You are the NextGen and the future is…





Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward entrepreneurial thinking and making connections while creating a business.

13 – 15 March 2020

QUT Gardens Point

What is a Startup Weekend (SW)?

Held over a weekend, Startup Weekend will involve networking, team building, developing an idea and pitching to a panel of judges. Meet experienced mentors, like-minded change-makers and industry connectors while you launch your brilliant idea – and celebrate your amazing achievements at the SW After Party!

Realise Opportunity

Embrace Creativity

Build Resilience

Be Courageous

Startup Your Future

I then developed the theme into some campaign graphics:

All the while I was managing and briefing a graphic designer who was part of the Techstars Graphic Design team in the U.S., to develop the Startup Weekend NextGen logo. All Startup Weekends are required to have their own distinct logo designed for that particular event. I wanted to design something that communicated 'empowerment' and 'youth', and this is what we landed on:

Campaign Phases

There were three phases of the campaign:

  1. Awareness phase through a soft launch in November which coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week

  2. Announcement phase through hard launch with campaign video and finalised logo/graphics

  3. Post-event phase through highlight videos and photo galleries

Awareness Phase

The aim of the awareness phase was to educate our audience on what a Startup Weekend is, as many students had never heard of the global initiative or of Techstars, despite it being widely known in the startup ecosystem. The other aim was to use it to create hype around the event in the form of a 'teaser'. The four tiles pictured above were used as the teaser. An example of an educational content piece is this video I filmed and edited with our Head of Programs, Philippe Ceulen.

Announcement Phase

The key component of the launch was the campaign video which I storyboarded, scripted and briefed to an external video editor in Bangkok, Thailand.

Another core element of this phase was the coordination and partnership of several societies within the university during Orientation Week to help in the promotion of the event. Using my own networks I reached out to four key societies with the proposal of putting together a society video to promote the event in exchange for discounts for their members to attend. The aim for the videos was to be a subtle sell, that would intrigue their audience and encourage them to find out more and ultimately purchase a ticket. I asked the societies to explore the theme of Startup Weekend NextGen and how their industry was creative, entrepreneurial, automated or sustainable. I was closely involved at every stage of this project and it had fantastic outcomes, see some content examples below:

QUT Law Society Startup Weekend NextGen Campaign Support

QUT AMPed Society Startup Weekend NextGen Campaign Support (Filmed, Directed and Edited by Eloise Barclay)

Post-Event Phase

An important part of audience/customer retention is to ensure the experience is re-lived after the event and positive connotations are made between your audience and the brand. Photography and videography of the event played a very important part in this role. Prior to the event, I engaged and briefed renowned photographer Damien Bredberg who would be capturing the weekend, and an external videographer to capture and create the highlight videos. The photo gallery was released a few days after the event, and the videos a week later.

Startup Weekend NextGen Highlight Reel

Startup Weekend NextGen Experience Video

Campaign Channels

  • CEA social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook)

  • CEA website

  • CEA Eventbrite

  • CEA email marketing via Mailchimp

  • Techstars website

  • QUT website

  • Partner social media (QUT Business School, QUT Foundry and QUT Marketing, QUT Societies, Mentors)

  • Partner email marketing

  • Digital billboards and signage (Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point Campus')

  • Startup Weekend Social Media Ambassadors

  • Merchandise (stickers, banners, posters, t-shirts, etc.)


The initial KPI set at the start of the campaign was 200 registrations. However, in light of anxieties and restrictions increasing around COVID-19 this was lowered to 150. Despite growing concerns, we exceeded the KPI with 167 registrations by the 13th of March. The marketing campaign was a success! Survey results revealed that word of mouth (WOM) was the strongest channel accounting for 36% of conversions, with QUT campus advertising following with 27% and social media 20%. Whilst WOM led to the most conversions, it can be argued that advertising, social media and efforts by social media ambassadors would have impacted this as well.

Key Skills Utilised in Campaign

  • Copywriting

  • Graphic design using AdobeSpark, Photoshop and Indesign

  • Videography using Premier Pro

  • Holistic campaign management with an omnichannel approach

  • Social media management via Sendible and Asana

  • Facebook Business Manager advertising

  • Development of Content Pillars to ensure content-rich strategy

  • Creative briefing of graphic designer, photographer and videographer

  • Storyboard, script writing and direction of video

  • Coordination of external stakeholders, i.e. ambassadors, societies, digital billboards, photographer, videographer

  • Liaising with key stakeholders to ensure accuracy and relevancy of content

  • Event social media coverage

  • Email marketing using Mailchimp

  • Campaign tracking, analysis and reporting

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