What education comms professionals need to know 2020 was a unique year to say the least, the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on everything and left people looking to the media for information to help them guide them through it.
It’s natural to expect that, over the course of time, the ways in which a university or business school operates will change. The past five years alone have been testament to just how much the world of education has evolved; the advancements in and preferences for online education over classroom-based learning for example, or the shift in curriculum focus to highlight increasingly important topics such as ethics and sustainability, all in the pursuit of providing a better, more valuable experience for students.
The competition to attract élite faculty has never been more intense.
In 1819, ESCP business school, as it’s now known today, was launched as a Ecole Spéciale de Commerce et d'Industrie, teaching students on key topics like entrepreneurship and business. This was the birth of graduate management education, and helped forge the pathways for other leading institutes in this area like Harvard, Wharton and Stanford – who have gone on to educate, hone and develop some of the world’s leading thinkers, politicians and CEOs.
It goes without saying, that 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, Trump’s response to the election and the attack on the US Capitol, just to name a few.
Thanks to the rise in digital adverts, recent surveys tell us that we see 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day – and the shocking thing is most of us don’t even notice them.
We can all learn PR lessons from events we see in the news every day. From the prime minister to football managers, the potential for negative media attention is never far away. What is important however is how your organisation responds to this media, and how you turn scrutinised blunders into something positive.
The pandemic has without a doubt made major changes to the higher education sector, changes that are likely to remain.
(Here’s a hint: the answer is YES!) When choosing where to study my own degree I didn’t just stick to reading university prospectuses and the rankings, I also took the time to look at what other people were saying about the institution and its programmes outside of what the universities chose to share. I read the stories of alumni and I took note of students who’d shared their experiences in newspapers, magazines and blogs.
Deliveroo suffered one of the worst stock market debuts on record, seeing their shares drop by 30% on opening day, which wiped around £2 billion of their market value. According to Yahoo! Finance, their stock slumped a further 1.9% after opening on the second day.
2020 was a tough year for many in Executive Education. A number of organisations pressed pause on their programmes with leading business schools. Given the fact that much of in-person learning grinded to a halt, learning and development took a back seat as companies grappled with the immediate impact on their company, and many saw their own revenues fall, during the pandemic.
What is PR? As an institution, you might be interested in hiring a PR agency and wondering whether PR agencies are worth it.
How do you successfully improve your online reputation? Well, the key is to listen to what your potential students are talking about. To monitor where your competitors are appearing and to anticipate where your industry is heading. It’s about being and staying ahead of the curve.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day (IWD) is often seen as one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about women's equality, and fundraise for female-focused charities.
In today’s multiplatform online world, maintaining a consistent marketing message and strong brand presence is more important than ever. Over the last decade, the rise of social media and technology means that it is easier than ever to find information on an organisation, and the brand is highly visible to consumers throughout the word.
Messaging has always been important for business schools. Whether for marketing communications, external media engagement or internal comms, how institutions frame key messages has long been crucial. This has never been truer than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Valentine’s Day wraps up, and love is in the air, it seems everyone is thinking about partnering up…
In 2017, MP Michael Gove famously said "people in this country have had enough of experts". And he may have been right at the time. In 2017, debate in the UK was fuelled around Brexit and its impact, with expertise being denounced as spreading fear and over-exaggerating. People preferred to listen to those that fit their preconceived agenda, and that they described as ‘normal people’, not experts who were often seen as stuck in their ivory towers.
2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many, but it's important to look at the positives and appreciate our achievements as well.
Maximising the success of any institution or organisation often depends on having a winning PR strategy. Being able to impact the way in which your target audience – whether that’s stakeholders, prospective clients, and target consumers - perceive your organisation is vital to ensuring long-term success. And this doesn’t only apply to fashion brands, tech companies, or fast-food restaurants; this also applies to business schools and universities.
With great power comes great responsibility – a bit of a cliché I know. But watching the storming of The Capitol building live on CNN and the true impact of Trump’s leadership unravelling before my eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder, have we underestimated the power of leadership?
In the final episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins, Kerry Ruffle and Katie Hurley discuss the future of business education, focusing on the rise of virtual events, along with returning guest Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, and an in-depth interview with fellow BlueSky Education Thinking host, Matt Symonds.
Many people only know what PR is from Mad Men or Sex and the City and, even then, it is a vague and often inaccurate understanding of what it really is. In fact, many people should look to better understand the real impact public relations can have for a brand or institution.
Continuing with the theme of long term changes to business education in episode five of season two, but from the perspective of adapting and embracing opportunities for change, the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast sees International BizEd Guru Matt Symonds – as well as BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle – talk to Dana Brown, Dean of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School.
In the fourth episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle, alongside International BizEd Guru, Matt Symonds, discuss long-term changes to business education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in the episode, Steph is joined by Hanna-Leena Pesonen, Dean of Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, as well as BlueSky Education’s Jonny Stone and Kate Mowbray, and Jonathan Simon, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Telfer School of Management.
Having a winning PR strategy is vital to the broader success of any organisation, in any field, providing any service.
In episode three of the second season of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle are joined once again by International BizEd Guru, Matt Symonds, to discuss the importance of diversity in business education. Also in the episode, Stephanie sits down with Sunitha Narendran, Director of Roehampton Business School, as well as BlueSky Education colleague, Kyle Grizzell.
“Let’s do some PR for this”… A member of your faculty is hosting an event, or has published a book perhaps, or a new programme has been launched by your institution, and the request comes in… “Let’s do some PR on this.”
Focusing on the figurehead of a business school, the second episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast sees International BizEd Guru Matt Symonds, BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins, Kerry Ruffle and Peter Remon discuss how Deans can be positioned externally to great effect along with Sarah Seedsman, Executive Director of Engagement, Insights and Consulting at Media Minds Global, and returning guest Jonathan L. Simon, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.
The early days of PR largely involved networking with journalists over the phone, face-to-face meetings, and building relationships with them in order to get companies, institutions and clients into newspapers and magazines. As such, prior to the internet, PR traditionally focused on print-based publications, TV and radio. But is it even PR now if we don’t include online media? With the growth of online marketing, the majority of PR professionals both in-house and in agencies today have shifted their focus further towards digital PR, with online publications becoming more and more influential.
In the first episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, International BizEd Guru Matt Symonds, BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins, Kerry Ruffle and Olivia Nieberg discuss how the pandemic has heralded the age of the expert, along with Jonathan L. Simon, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.
You’d be forgiven for sometimes losing hope in the crazy year of 2020. Covid-19 has not only taken the lives of many of our loved ones, but also taken jobs, financial security and any form of ‘normal’ life as we know it. But there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Key takeaways from Cision’s 2020 State of the Media report When the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic it swiftly changed everyone’s day-to-day life, and the media was no exception. The pandemic triggered a stay-at-home policy for millions of workers and that significantly impacted media consumption. Suddenly people even had more time at home and they needed a voice of reason from academics and experts alike as the world went into turmoil. But how did journalists feel about this? How has their work changed and what do they want from PR professionals now?
For any PR professionals, one of the fundamental parts of the work is to measure the success of what we do. Just like anything else you pay for; you want to make sure that the service you are paying for is worth it. But in the PR industry, that is often easier said than done.
As with any other service you purchase; you want to be able to measure if it has been worth the cost. But with PR, this may not always be easy or obvious. PR works by attempting to influence and change the behaviour, thoughts, and decisions of others. This can be a hard thing to measure, but it’s a lot easier to see the results of a PR campaign if you first outline the impact you want your campaign to have.
The Future Talent conference never fails to disappoint, and the virtual conference this year was no different. Focusing on the themes of purpose, meaning and culture, there was an inspiring line up of speakers throughout the two-day online event.
Truly understanding and being able to measure the impact of PR is key for anyone working in or around the communications space.
There’s no doubt that the role of a PR and communications expert within a higher education institution is a demanding one. Having to keep one foot firmly entrenched within all the comings and goings of their institution and the other foot in the wider world outside, and trying to marry the two. With multiple stakeholders to keep satisfied; students, applicants, faculty, Deans, corporate partners and alumni. It’s an exhaustive list.
Recently, I was posed the question “for start-ups looking to undertake a dedicated public relations campaign what works best - hiring in-house PR experts? Or, outsourcing to agencies who specialise in PR?”.
Millions of students from across the world go into higher education each year, but with each selecting from thousands of universities and business schools around the world, it is vital that you understand what students are searching for when deciding on where to study, and how to get your school to stand out from the crowd.
How many bars are there in town? Is the accommodation close enough to stumble out of bed at 8:50 for a 9am lecture? Is there a Domino’s that stays open until 5am?
With season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast firmly underway, and Sarah Seedsman from Media Minds Global back as a returning guest, here's a recap from season one's episode on business school social media:
Not long-ago PR and SEO were two different methods of engaging the public or stakeholders, but things have changed. Now that the media landscape has become more digital and Google has placed more of a focus on the quality and relevance of your content, as well as the quality of the site – it is so important for institutions to use both PR and SEO to promote their content even further.
When looking for information on a university, or for a specific course to study, or even for how to boil an egg, we would all probably do the same thing: Google it. Then, when we choose which website to visit, it’s probably going to be from the first page of results. The top results you see depend on the SEO ranking of the content on that site. But what exactly is SEO?
We are excited from the next season of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast hosted by BlueSky Education's Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle, and International BizEd Guru Matt Symonds, with guests from top business schools across the globe. Watch this space for the release date...
Are you wondering whether to engage in PR? Or, perhaps you’re considering reducing, or removing PR services from your institution altogether. If either of the above are true – particularly the latter – please do read on…
If you’re familiar with business schools you will know just how important accreditations are. Speak to any business school students and they would advise you to seek out and apply to an accredited business school. Speak to any business school Dean and they will talk about the importance of the ‘triple accreditation’.
2020 was a strange year. Nobody could have predicted in early January what the world would look like post-March, as staying indoors, not hugging your friends and wearing face masks became normal. The turbulence and uncertainty has been a nightmare for organised public relations and marketing experts, who’d likely planned their strategy and activities for the year ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the higher education community globally. It is no longer a short-term crisis for universities and business schools. Most were forced to shut and go online almost overnight, and many have struggled to develop a clear plan on how they can open their campuses again, with this crisis an institution must have a visible leader. It is more important than ever that Deans raise their profile within the media.