From the Nominator
Inaugurated in 1952, the Beatty Lecture brings respected and inﬂuential scholars, scientists, and leaders to McGill University to present a public talk on a subject of their choice. Over seven decades, the lecture has grown into a signature event for McGill, embodying the highest possible standards of intellectual excellence and community outreach. In 2017, following several years of falling attendance, the communications team recognized the need to rebrand the initiative in order to reestablish its relevance for the university and Montreal communities. We commissioned a market study and, following its recommendations, refocused the lecture on topics with a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary appeal.
From the Judges
This communication improvement project caught the hearts of the judging panel. It provides a strong template for communication planning and actions to successfully revitalize a “tired and outdated” guest lecture series. By commissioning a market survey to position the guest lecture in the wider ecosystem of guest lectures in the digital age, the team skillfully applied evidence-based communications to deliver measurable end results. The repurposing of the archived photography and audio from past lectures into online materials breathed new life into the annual lecture for the digital age. Tackling a steady decline in attendance is a significant achievement. Notably, the required increased expenditure on the annual event was offset by a raised ticket price -- without outpricing students -- and increased level of attendance.