Marketing and Communications Track
Welcome from the track chairs
Kenon Man | Deputy Director of Marketing, University of Nottingham
Lorraine Westwood | Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President International, Bangor University
It is a privilege to have a chance to shape the conference as track Chairs. This year we have speakers from around the world who can challenge some of our thinking and accepted norms.
The past two years have created a professional shift for all of us and enabled the unimaginable to be imaginable. The ‘reimagine’ theme is perfect at this specific point in time, it’s about taking the best of what we did before, adding the innovation we did during and creating a new future for our professional practice.
The selected sessions are about innovating, challenging traditional thinking, and future planning. Whilst the case studies will look at what has been done, the takeaways for the delegates will be about what you can do differently now as a result of what you have learned.
Tuesday 30 August
A dynamic and interactive session unpacking the powerful concept of 'glocal' - a hybrid approach to education brand building which maximises both global and local engagement and reputation to create a coherent brand narrative to enhance an institution's standing and impact.
We will explore good practice from within the education sector and in health and retail sectors to exemplify the approach and outline to tools delegates need to enrich their own institutions' brands.
If a beautiful story is what you seek, dance this way and take a peek.
Together in tango, we will move, to discover what makes your content groove.
Grab my hand, I’ll lead the way, and show you how your brand can slay.
I want to make your mind shift, a twist of perspective will be my gift.
You know it’s no longer what you share, but that you convey it with care.
It’s time to step in a new direction and change your concept of perfection.
For it is always a story with soul, that will end up stealing the show.
Our planet is facing a climate crisis. We urgently need to re-evaluate every aspect of society to reduce our carbon footprint.
In the education sector, we monitor the impact of our content on student recruitment, research impact, alumni fundraising…but how often do we review the impact of our content on climate change?
In this session, we’ll show you how to:
- Calculate the carbon footprint of your school, college, or university content.
- Decarbonise your content by applying the 5 Rs of the waste hierarchy: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, retire.
- Create change personally and across your school, college, or university.
- Spread the message of content decarbonisation throughout the education sector, so more students, alumni, professionals, and academic colleagues cut their content carbon footprint.
Wednesday 31 August
Supporting your academics to build a social media profile not only enhances their research and international network but is also an important aspect for recruitment and rankings. In this co-presentation Dr Hilary Young (448 Studio) and Dr Sean Morrissey (University of Strathclyde) will discuss successful techniques and strategies that they have implemented to support and encourage academic social media communities that thrive.
Higher education isn’t immune from the basic marketing premise that getting your product offer right is just as important as anything you do to promote it – which for universities means ensuring a course portfolio that meets demand.
This session will explore the insights you need to understand opportunities for growing, contracting or changing your course portfolio. Does your portfolio reflect student demand and market needs? How to evidence something you’ve suspected for a while? What does it take to get organisational buy in to a review of what you are selling to an increasingly discerning market.
We’ll take you through 5 key stages of portfolio review and hear from Birmingham City University about the work underway there to review and overhaul its portfolio.
Our marketing efforts are most often dependent upon winning hearts and minds, what better time to do this than at Christmas – that is what John Lewis tapped into when they created their legendary Christmas TV advert series. This formula can also work for higher education as well. In this session we will explore how one university, Bangor in north Wales, took inspiration from John Lewis and told a very personal Christmas story which reached target audiences in an exceptional way.
Campus events are some of the most important tools for a university marketer and some forward-thinking institutions are now capitalising on new trends to engage with students online before and after their in-person events. Find out more about how they are using the opportunity to boost interest and applications, and why incorporating a virtual experience into your marketing plan the day before and after your event should be an essential part of your strategy. Revolution Viewing are in the unique and privileged position of having significant amounts of data about how prospective students and other stakeholders are interacting with universities online. We’ve spotted user trends and peaks in website traffic around key university events and we’re here to show you insights and learnings from this. Find out what users are looking for and engaging with, and how to capitalise on this. We will look at recent data from real university virtual experiences, showing you the sort of content that students are consuming, what is working particularly well and how you can use these insights to boost engagement and conversion on your own university website. There are some quick wins to make a difference as well as some longer-term actions that we’ve proven to increase performance across key website metrics. There will also be the chance to discuss best practice ideas with colleagues and friends in Higher Education and to speak to us about the kinds of ideas that would best align with your resources and approach. Leave with some best practice suggestions for combining the strengths of on and offline student recruitment along with up-to-the-minute insights into user behaviour online before and after some very recent Open Days.
I will be dealing with mechanisms on how the University of Navarra has been listening to stakeholders based on the data that we collected during the last 5 years, consisting of roughly 26.000 participants (prospective students, students and alumni). We will then share some learnings from this project and how our own stakeholders at the university perceive us, and how this knowledge can also be transformed into meaningful actions that will lead to an overall improvement of our core activities. I am certain that the session will generate a meaningful discussion about how these insights are relevant to other universities as well, towards a common understanding of metrics for measuring and managing university reputation.
University research communication has changed. Press officers and news are out, in favour of communications business partners and multi-channel media campaigns.
Yet, Covid has shown the value in specialist science journalists and news media in holding governments to account and helping the public distinguish fact from fiction. University press officers help journalists to find stories and find experts to scrutinise developments.
Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Centre, will present a new SMC report into the future of university press offices. She will argue that specialist press officers are vital in the advancement of education, research and society.
Pete Castle, from the University of Reading press office, will describe how today's university comms priorities can coexist with traditional media relations.
In a post-pandemic world, the expectations and demands of students in relation to their learning and student experience has shifted significantly, Meanwhile, within our own institutions a drive for student-centred decision making and more authentic engagement with myriad student communities is accelerating. This session will explore how brand and communications professionals can navigate this challenging terrain, exploring brand propositions and narratives, student values and charters, engagement strategies, and evaluation frameworks. Brand & Reputation founder – and former University Executive Director – Michael Lavery will steer you through a fast-paced session, highlighting his work with institutions from across the globe.
Learn how to use relationship marketing to focus your message and tell your school's story (and drive admissions, retention, and alumni engagement along the way!). Through this storytelling approach, you'll find effective methods to ensure that your communication resonates with families—past, current, and future. This session will cover everything from social media and email marketing to publications, from strategy to execution.
Thursday 1 September
Readability is accessibility.
Written content with high readability greatly benefits our audiences:
- People who are stressed
- People who are distracted
- People with motor impairments
- People with cognitive impairments
- People who don’t speak English as their primary language.
But readability best practice isn't always followed in the education sector. It is a training need often overlooked by universities and colleges.
This talk aims to offer a foundational course in readability. You will discover 22 simple ways to make your website, blog, email, print, and social media more readable and (therefore) more accessible.
We will explore capitals, clauses, and colours. We will discuss sentences, sizes, and sub-headings. We will investigate alignment, acronyms, and alt text.
Let 2022 be your year for readability.
How to Develop an Effective Post-pandemic Digital Marketing Strategy for Chinese Student Recruitment
The sharp drop of numbers of applicants to international universities at the peak of the pandemic in 2020 and the quick surge in 2021 when China, ahead of the rest of the world, regained normalcy, are telling evidences of how the pandemic made planning for intake and recruitment difficult, if not impossible for universities. Pandemic has also brought about some interesting changes to China’s international education sector. Ranking is no longer the dominant factor for Chinese students when choosing schools. Other considerations such as career support and the university’s brand image are playing a bigger role in the process of decision-making as well. For lesser known universities, this means they now have a bigger chance to stand out against the “big names” who always take the top spots in major rankings. Some of the topics we are going to discuss are for example: How the current political and economic climate in China can impact the number of students studying abroad? How do universities utilise digital channels to establish a distinct branding and to engage with students on a personal level? How important it is to know your applicants? Will tailored educational offerings appealing to a new generation of Chinese students? At this round-table discussion you will be equipped with fresh perspectives towards recruiting Chinese students upon hearing the discussion.
Join the University of Aberdeen as we discuss how we broke through the noise of the COP26 conference in Glasgow by bringing teams from across the University together to deliver an integrated marketing communications campaign that amplified our voice and delivered great results.
Geographically removed from the conference but in the epi centre of the energy conversation, how did we ensure we were part of the conversation? An opportunity for the University to demonstrate our academic excellence on a global stage, how did we stand out from the crowd and generate results?
Delivering excellent customer experience is important in building brand differentiation, appeal and connection - all of which contribute to recruitment performance. But it’s also critical in ensuring student retention, success and advocacy. This session will explore the core components of developing and implementing an effective customer experience strategy, focused on meeting audiences’ needs to improve institutional performance. We’ll share examples from the University of Wolverhampton’s recent work on improving the customer experience that they deliver. We will also draw on recent syndicated research conducted by SMRS, working with 47 universities who are part of the CASE Universities’ Marketing Forum, to understand the behaviours of over 34,000 future undergraduate students.
By 2025/2026 there could be over 1 million students applying for higher education, with increasing routes and courses across traditional degrees, apprenticeships, higher technical qualifications and lifelong learning. Students are faced with more choice than ever; universities and colleges are employing increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies to capture greater attention while expanding portfolios to cater for increasing volumes. But does more choice lead to positive outcomes or confusion/dilution? The competitive landscape is increasing. Students need a curated offer to help them make the right decisions when choice is more critical; universities and colleges need a curated offer to concentrate effort on their strengths and the right applicants for their institution, whilst every other institution is looking to do the same. In addition, the focus on widening access and participation is increasing. Discover how taking a data-led approach enables both students and institutions navigate the multiplicity of choice, cut through the noise and reach better outcomes. Hear from Ashleigh Little, University of Sunderland, on how their work with UCAS has transformed their outreach, academic engagement and recruitment initiatives. You’ll come away with: (a) An understanding of the future HE landscape; (b) Tips on how to focus on your big hitters; (c) Opportunities to improve course portfolio, outreach and conversion strategies
As the higher education sector emerges into a post-Covid world, the student recruitment and engagement ecosystem looks quite different; prospective students increasingly expect high levels of instantaneous digital engagement. As institutions navigate this new blended space, the University of Aberdeen has created an innovative and revolutionary environment for students where we are always available. The use of dynamic social platforms for marketing and student recruitment activities has become essential for re-imagining a new and authentic way to recruit the tech savvy post-Covid student. How is University of Aberdeen leading the sector by working to eliminate barriers to engagement by connecting with prospective students via the correct social platforms and deal with a saturated market where quality matters?
How do you ensure a successful global fundraising strategy that maximises international Alumni Relations and builds a strong pipeline of global Recruitment? Come and learn how the University of Glasgow's teams collaborate and innovate, supporting one another to maximise institutional success and outcomes.