Managing University Communications: Creating Brand Identity and Delivering the Proposition
In March 2010, Claire Croft and Rebecca Grundy from the Communications Office travelled to Sri Lanka to deliver two workshops on University communications. The first was delivered in the capital, Colombo, at an event managed jointly by the British Council and the Ministry of Higher Education (IRQUE project). The second was delivered at the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka.
Each of the workshops was delivered over the course of a day. Six sessions were delivered in all, focusing on the following topics:
- Introducing Durham University: brand, identity and offering
- Communicating successfully internally: two-way dialogue
- Recruiting and maintaining the best students: from prospective students to successful alumni
- Using the media: making headlines
- Developing an effective online presence: segmented, targeted information delivery
- Cultural marketing and outreach: there's so much more on offer
23rd March 2010: British Council & IRQUE Workshop in Colombo
This workshop was jointly organised by the British Council and the Ministry of Education, and involved delegates from universities across Sri Lanka. Participants included Vice-Chancellors, Deans, and Heads of faculty and department, representing the majority of Sri Lanka's state-run universities. There was considerable interest in the areas of branding and positioning, with universities wanting to be able to differentiate themselves locally from private universities, and also wanting to enhance their position globally. Detailed discussions were had on achieving internal buy-in for a variety of projects, and the internal structures required to be able to deliver a range of communication activities. The day ended with tea and cake, and some very interesting informal chats about the importance of university education for Sri Lanka's future, and the benefits of international educational partnerships, particularly at postgraduate level.
31st March 2010: Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka staff workshop
This workshop had been preceded the previous day by a dedicated afternoon session aimed specifically at the use of the web and new media for staff members of the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka involved in the development of the institution website. This allowed scope to discuss the full potential of the web as both an internal and external communications tool. The main workshop was part of the staff development programme at the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, and was attended by 25 members of staff from a range of academic and non-academic departments. There was an emphasis on common issues between Durham and Sabaragamuwa Universities, such as museums and community engagement and increasing competition for the best students. Despite Sabaragamuwa University being considerably younger and smaller than Durham (less than 20 years old and numbering 2,500 students), everyone was surprised by the end of the day that so many common issues had been identified.