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Change the world


Reasons to be Proud #R2bP: Nelson Mandela University’s Communication and Marketing Directorate has won gold in this year’s global Digital Communication Awards (DCA), in the Small Budget Campaign category.


The awards are hosted by Quadriga University, in Germany. According to Dr Thomas Hilmer, Deputy Director: Digital Communication and Marketing at Nelson Mandela University, the “awards comprised 35 categories with hundreds of entries, with the top five in each category shortlisted”.

This year, multinational organisations such as Vodafone, Al Jazeera, Microsoft, Maserati, Audi and Hugo Boss entered in different categories.

The DCA has been rewarding outstanding online projects and campaigns since 2011. The awards are open to companies and agencies, associations and NGOs, political institutions and parties from all over the globe.

The DCA jury is comprised of experienced digital leaders from different sectors, including business, academia, non-profit and finance.

“We again entered the Small Budget Campaign category with our 2023 graduation campaign to build on and improve upon the success of the previous year, using social media to extend our brand exposure into Africa and  internationally,” explained Dr Hilmer.

The campaign was a massive success. “Our social media posts were displayed over 15.5 million times to users (up by 112%) and generated over 1.9 million engagements (up by 348%) compared with 2022. Video views grew by 678% to over 4.1 million.

Three videos on Facebook had over 1.5 million impressions, with one reaching 4.7 million impressions and over 900 000 engagements, while one on Instagram had over a million impressions,” he explained.

Social listening results indicated that 2 509 authors in 55 countries (up from eight countries in 2022) mentioned our graduation in 4 098 messages, which could have been viewed over 22.3 million times by the followers of these authors, resulting in 196 237 engagements.

“The objectives were therefore exceeded far beyond our expectations. It shows that a small university can stand tall amongst the best in the world. This was achieved through team work and agile planning.”

Chantal Janneker, Senior Director: Communication and Marketing at Mandela University said: “We are thrilled with the win, given that we have a small budget. Winning awards has a significant impact on extending our brand: it builds credibility and trust as they serve as third-party validations of our institution’s services and initiatives. When stakeholders see that an institution has received awards, it boosts their confidence in the brand, as it implies that experts or peers have recognised the institution's excellence.”

Chantal added that awards build differentiation: “In crowded markets, awards can help an institution stand out from its competitors and this award will help us expand into new markets or regions. Winning awards also enhances our relationship with our community by showcasing our commitment to excellence and contributions to society.”

Nandipha Sishuba, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People and Operations praised the Communication and Marketing Directorate for its “agility and adaptability, in a rapidly evolving digital world. We have a small team that is talented and creative and it has proven it can compete on the international stage”.

Mandela University won bronze awards in the DCA in 2020 for outstanding accomplishments in the field of digital communications and PR in the category COVID-19: Internal Communications; and in 2022 for a Small Budget Campaign on its first post-COVID-19 graduation season. 

Contact information
Primarashni Gower
Director: Communication & Marketing
Tel: 0415043057