Office for students

Preventing a predicted shortfall in four essential but lesser-known health professions

About the campaign

When you need specialist treatment, you want to know there are enough skilled professionals around to meet your needs. But some specialist health roles are in danger of becoming understaffed.

We joined forces with professional bodies, universities and the Office for Students on a campaign that successfully increased applications to study four at-risk professions: podiatry, orthoptics, prosthetics and orthotics, and therapeutic radiography.

Three posters on a station wall, with three different headlines:

I See The Difference

Using surveys, interviews and focus groups, we researched:

  • the qualities universities and employers hope for in a health professional
  • the appeal of the four target professions to existing students and professionals

Above all, a good health professional needs to genuinely care about the people they work with. And one benefit that all four of these professions have in common? You get to see the difference you’re making to people’s quality of life, first hand. Our campaign leads with this simple, powerful key message: I See the Difference.

I See the Difference targets people looking at degree programmes before starting their university applications. Our research showed that people at this stage – whether they’re school pupils or mature career changers – want to make decisions that will lead to a rewarding, fulfilling career and life.

To grab these prospective students’ attention, I See the Difference leads with its emotional appeal: the promise of making a difference you can see first hand, and the fulfilment that comes with that.

Once the ads and headlines have caught the audience’s attention and interest, materials like leaflets and web content go on to explain what’s involved in these less well known and understood professions – and add concrete detail to the message that they make for rewarding careers.

Emotional messaging alone is rarely enough to confirm a decision as important as what degree course and career to enter. Our research found that even if the promise of fulfilment is enough to convince a young person, their teachers and family will have more rational enquiries.

If you get a degree in this subject, what sort of salary can you expect after graduating? What are the usual hours? Will it involve moving around the country? What are the avenues for career development?

We made sure that campaign content, both online and in print, gave clear and detailed answers to these more pragmatic questions, showing that each of the four professions comes with good pay, good prospects and sociable working hours.

Opening with an appeal to emotion and aspiration, and backing that up with rational selling points, made for a winning combination – and a successful campaign.

I See The Difference website on laptop and smartphone

Trusted testimonials

In our surveys and focus groups alike, prospective students revealed that the messages they trusted the most came from people just like them.

Messages coming from organisations like universities, professional bodies or government agencies like the Office for Students were seen as having an agenda. When making decisions about their future, prospective students wanted to hear from others who’d recently made the same decision.

We worked with the campaign partners to engage a group of current students on relevant degree courses, and current members of the four health professions. We commissioned a series of photo and video shoots to make sure all the campaign’s messages came from these trustworthy, relatable spokespeople.

“Definition are experts at finding and using the emotional hook and rational persuaders that convince an audience to get on board.”

College of Podiatry

A grid of photos of students and practising allied health professionals on a range of brightly coloured backgrounds

The impact

1.3 million

views on Facebook and Instagram


people visited the online campaign hub between the launch of the campaign and the next major university application deadline

14 universities and 7 NHS Trusts

adopted the campaign, using the materials in their owned channels to promote relevant courses and opportunities


year-on-year increase in applications to podiatry degree courses, after less than a year of campaign activity (source: College of Podiatry)

The cover and inside pages of an I See The Difference informational flyer

Want to talk about your next project?

We'd love to chat.