Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP)

Keeping students informed, engaged and reassured in times of crisis

The client

The London-based Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) has been developing and delivering music education and training to music students for more than 30 years. It offers students from around the world an impressive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses, spanning guitar, bass, drums, vocals, songwriting, music production and an array of music business, entrepreneurship and marketing options. The Institute’s website – icmp.ac.uk – offers a wealth of information for prospective and current students, many of whom are international students who speak English as a second language.

The problem

ICMP produces a large amount of content every day – both in digital and print form. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in Europe in early 2020, the Institute needed help developing urgent copy which followed its brand and tone of voice guidelines. With lockdowns mandated and borders closing, the need for fast, targeted student communications increased dramatically, with vital information changing by the day or sometimes even by the hour.

ICMP required a partner to help them turn complex, often-bureaucratic UK Government directives into clean, clear language that all prospective and existing ICMP students could understand. While the messaging itself was urgent, a calm tone was needed to reassure students that ICMP had the situation in hand. On top of this, students across Europe were worried about their educational future due to the UK’s upcoming Brexit situation, meaning an even greater need for reassurance and speedy ongoing assistance.

The solution

Having worked with ICMP for a long time, Catch the Sun already understood our client’s brand intimately. Over the years, we’d produced a raft of content in both digital and print formats – from staff biographies, event write-ups, student surveys and news items, to press releases, email campaigns, prospectuses and course copy – so were ready to help quickly when the urgency of their need increased.

As COVID-19 and Brexit presented additional time-critical demands, we provided ICMP with a fast-turnaround one-stop content and editorial shop. Our ‘catch the sun’ offering let us complete urgent work ‘overnight’ for our client, with drafts waiting for ICMP staff when they fired up their computers the next morning. Having a Southern Hemisphere extension of their team gave ICMP the ability to change and communicate important messaging rapidly, clearly and calmly, without the panic many were feeling. With multiple freelancers at the ready, we took on as much or as little as ICMP required over many months.

Among the communications we developed was a comprehensive list of COVID-19 FAQs, tailored for existing students, applicants and staff and regularly updated. We also developed an overview of the Institute’s COVID-19-secure campus, giving students confidence when they returned to on-site learning at the start of the new academic year in September 2020.

All content was presented in a clear and concise manner, using engaging, user-centric plain English language in the ICMP tone of voice.

The result

Our ICMP clients were hugely appreciative of the ongoing quick-turnaround editorial support we them provided during a chaotic and very difficult time. We continue to be the Institute’s primary external editorial and content provider, helping them with projects such as extending their short course offering and updating their website and series of course prospectuses.

Thank you for all of your help during this crazy year. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your responsiveness and general ‘thoroughness’ in all we throw at you – it’s so reassuring!”

Steve Dunhill, Head of Marketing, ICMP

Our work

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