EUPRIO’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2016
living the brand
University of antwerp (belgium)
september 01-04, 2016
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR UNIVERSITY’S BRAND?
What can the communications team do to strengthen that brand and engage academics, students and alumni as ambassadors for it?
In the 21st century, the strength of a university’s brand is absolutely key to its success – so EUPRIO’s annual conference 2016 – hosted by the University of Antwerp, Belgium, from 1-4 September – focused on ‘Living the Brand’.
Today, more than ever, staff and students help create and live a university’s brand, becoming day-to-day ambassadors for it. Whether internal branding, employer branding, corporate branding or product branding, all are integral to brand development in institutes of higher education: marketing and communications departments need to manage all four in an agile way, finding the right channels, messages and audiences to ensure that there is one brand, one voice.
The conference explored how communications teams can help develop the university brand, and how they can best work with staff, students and other colleagues in professional services to maximize perceptions of their institutions.
Sessions at the conference explored key questions, such as:
- How can we manage the balance between branding a university and a sub-brand at the same time?
- What exactly is a brand anyway?
- Should branding be centralized by the university or is it better to let faculties develop their own reputation?
- Is education branding different from company branding?
- Can marketing and communications departments effectively involve students, staff and partners in promoting a university and so support student recruitment and the dissemination of research?
- What are the trends in university branding?
A strong line-up of speakers from across Europe was getting to grips with these questions, and more, and focused on why branding is essential for universities.
The EUPRIO conference in Antwerp explored all aspects of brand development in higher education. There were some great sessions, plenty of networking, an exciting social programme and the chance to get to know the beautiful city of Antwerp.
4 tracks within ‘LIVING THE BRAND’
How monolithic should a university brand be? Sometimes smaller entities such as faculties or research centres are as much -or even better- known as the university itself. How can we manage the balance between branding the university and a sub-brand at the same time? Should branding be centralized by the university or is it better to let faculties develop their own reputation? If smaller entities take care of their branding on their own, how can their reputation be used to benefit the university itself?
Is branding a university or college any different from branding a company? Can an organization of people be positioned in the market in the same way as a product? How important is ‘branding’ for institutes of higher education? Which parties are involved? Are branding mechanisms the same in all sectors? Or can we identify mechanisms or patterns that are unique to higher education?
Are there alternatives to traditional recruitment campaigns for HEI? Can the Marketing and Communications Department effectively involve students and employees, alumni and partners in the promotion of the university? Are social media the ultimate channel? How important is ‘branding’ for a university in relation to student recruitment?
In a service-oriented institute, all employees are ambassadors, good or bad. How can the MC Department get in control of this process? Should it be more a matter of facilitation? How can we help our employees and students to communicate the brand? How should the internal media mix be put together? Are internal social media still the key to success in internal branding? Is internal branding a lever to external branding? Is storytelling still key or should we move to story doing in order to live the brand internally?
People are the key to any institution’s success, and this is particularly true of universities. How do we reach our future employees? To what extent should employer branding look and feel similar to internal and product branding? How can the MC Department work together with the HR department?