The study revealed: the number of students who want to study in Kaunas has increased by one third
Photo: “Kaunas IN”.
A unique virtual reality truck “Kaunastic VR” has been traveling around Lithuania for two months. Gymnasium students from 33 cities and towns had a chance to take a virtual walk around Kaunas and see the most interesting places of the city. Kaunas City Municipality and Kaunas IN, an international marketing, business, and tourism promotion agency, have implemented this non-standard project to introduce renewed Kaunas to Lithuanian youth and to destroy old-fashioned stereotypes. As the survey carried out after the project has shown, the virtual trip to Kaunas not only changed students’ attitudes towards the city, but also influenced their decision on further studies.
“When analyzing the data from previous surveys, we have noticed that more than half of the students, when considering where to study, pay more attention to whether they like a particular city than to academic reasons. This is how the idea to creatively introduce today’s Kaunas to Lithuanian pupils was born,” recalls Tomas Grigalevičius, Public Relations Advisor to Kaunas Mayor.
Before the start of the “Kaunastic VR” tour, “Spinter Research” carried out a survey on behalf of Kaunas City Municipality, in which 16-18-year olds from centers and towns of various Lithuanian districts (except Kaunas, Vilnius, and their districts) answered questions about their willingness to study in Kaunas.
The responses at that time showed that one in four pupils would like to study in Kaunas, and the strongest motives for this were a likable city (54%), cheaper costs of living than in the capital and attractive study programs.
At the end of the tour, another survey was carried out asking the students who took part in the initiative to compare how the virtual walk in Kaunas influenced the pupils’ choice of the city for their future studies.
The number of Kaunas critics has decreased three times
Like in the previous research, more than half a thousand respondents were interviewed. The aim of the survey was to find out the reasons that prompted young people to study or not to study in Kaunas, to find out what determines the attitude towards Kaunas, and what sources form the opinion about the city.
“The main goal of the “Kaunastic VR” project was to change the opinion of some Lithuanian students about Kaunas and to persuade them with an opportunity to choose this city for their studies. As the survey showed, the results were not disappointing: the number of pupils wishing to choose Kaunas for their future studies increased by one third: from 28% up to 41%. The most notable change was among those who said there was no way they were going to study in Kaunas. After a “Kaunastic VR” tour the number of such pupils dropped almost three times: from 30% to 10%,” said the Curator of the Project and Senior Marketing Project Manager at Kaunas IN Laura Germanavičiūtė.
Among the most frequently mentioned reasons for the desire to study in Kaunas remained the attractiveness of the city: 70.6% of respondents (previously 54%) chose the answer “I like Kaunas as a city”. For young people, studies in Kaunas proved to be attractive because of the high level of Kaunas educational institutions (the number of respondents has increased from 38% to 66.8%), and specific study programs in Kaunas (from 41% to 60.3%). One in ten respondents said they were interested in studying in Kaunas because their friends/peers were going to study there.
“The results confirm our initial idea that in order to reach young people, we need to search for the original approach and create live, interactive communication. After all, the assets of “Kaunastic VR” are not only virtual reality glasses and a visual journey but the work of the enthusiastic team who were true ambassadors of their city and engaged in direct and lively communication with the youth from the whole Lithuania. It is obvious that a young person is able to feel, hear and appreciate such things, and the application of innovations and original marketing tools provides obvious and measurable results,” says L. Germanavičiūtė.