Diakonia – student recruitment campaign

The number of Diak applicants in 2023 increased by 18% from the previous year – and the number of vitally important first-choice applicants by as much as 48%.

The need

Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) is the largest provider of UAS level education in social work in Finland. To support their branding efforts, Diak’s marketing and communications team needed a partner for conceptualising and producing a marketing campaign for their biannual application period.  

 Valve has been responsible for the creative concepts of Diak’s student recruitment campaigns for several years. Working closely together with the client’s in-house team has allowed us to develop the campaign messaging and visuals based on previous years’ learnings, building up to success in the long

Main goals

  1. Increase the number of applicants
  2. Support Diak’s in-house team in brand-building and creating brand awareness
  3. Communicate about Diak’s value-based differentiators in application campaigning

Offering degrees in social work, healthcare and nursing, diaconal and pastoral work as well as interpreting, Diak has an impact on many societally important fields and attracts highly motivated and value-driven students.  

The solution

Making a student recruitment campaign all about individual values 

We created an umbrella concept based on matching the values and aspirations of an individual applicant with Diak’s brand and high-quality educational offering. 

The key was to present Diak’s unique brand qualities in a way that interests potential applicants 

  • Convenient campuses enable a tight-knit learning community 
  • Strong ethical orientation matches the values and aspirations of an individual applicant 
  • Highly specialised degree offering provides a competitive edge regarding future career opportunities. This claim is also backed by research: graduates from Diak are more likely to get hired than from any other UAS in the nation. 

The solution

Digital marketing for making the interested into applicants  

The student recruitment campaign was designed with a digital-first mindset.  

Target groups 

  • 17–40-year-olds in cities with Diak campuses (Helsinki, Oulu, Pori) and Eastern Finland as well as neighbouring regions. 

Media mix  

  • Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, Spotify, display advertising, SEM, influencer marketing and radio advertising.  

The solution

Digital marketing goals 

  • Reach our target audience in media they already consume daily. 
  • Create interest before and top-of-mind awareness during the application period. 
  • Direct traffic onto Diak’s application website to learn more about their degree offering. Towards the end of the application period the aim was to convert an interested prospect into an applicant. 

The solution


We designed and produced colourful and fun still images and video, coupled with engaging and informative copy. The content showed people of different ages and backgrounds, conveying the message that Diak is an inclusive and diverse community of learners, educators and experts. 

The results

Developing applicant marketing together with Diak’s dedicated in-house team has yielded great results. Coupled with their communications and marketing efforts, the results have been steadily positive, both in terms of number of applicants as well as in the big picture of growing Diak’s brand.  

Compared to the previous round of applications, we saw a 18% total increase in the number of applicants in spring 2023 and a 48% increase in the number of applicants who had Diak as their primary choice when applying.  

The number of applicants for bachelor’s degree programmes in social and health care in which the language of study is English increased by a record-breaking 174% from the previous application period. 

Diak was also ranked the third most renowned UAS institution in Finland in the Korkeakoulujen Bränditutkimus (‘Brand Study for Higher Education Institutions’) 2022 conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy. 

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