Audits & Analysis

Higher education provides stratospheric value and opportunities. Yet it is often perceived as introspective, overly complex and slow to respond. Our job is to resolve the reputation deficit and change perceptions.

To understand our clients’ reputation and communications challenges, we undertake:

  • Perceptions, awareness and engagement research.
  • Communications audits with all stakeholders including students.
  • Message and channel mapping.
  • Student journey analysis.
  • Structural and performance reviews of marcomms teams.
  • Expertise audits to stimulate commercial demand for academic experts.
“Communications Management conducted a detailed, comprehensive external stakeholder review that supported our strategy review process. Justin’s experience, knowledge, objectivity and ability to communicate the output at a senior level allowed a very clear mirror to be held up to the university so we could take action on the findings.”
Leigh Rengger, Chief Marketing Officer, Solent University, Southampton

The issue

Solent University works hard to equip learners for the future world of work and enterprise. This approach is built into its employment-focused curriculum and applied research programme. Both are strengthened by the quality of its connections and partnerships with other sectors. So, for Solent, its reputation across its wider community is central to its purpose and key to its students’ success.

How we worked together

We talked to the stakeholders.

Using our tried and tested framework, we interviewed 125 opinion leaders from across Solent University’s local, regional and national communities. We captured the honest and direct perceptions of employers, businesses, public authorities, community leaders, schools and colleges, professional bodies, and leaders across national and international higher education.

This clear understanding of its reputation across key stakeholders supported Solent’s broader strategy review. And, with a mix of perspectives and key indicators, we offered suggestions to strengthen the university’s brand, communications and engagement.

The results

A year later we surveyed opinion leaders again to track progress. Solent’s reputation had grown across 60% of its original indicators. The university is successfully sharing its distinctive purpose and approach. And it is communicating what this means for the experience and success of its students, its impact within its community, and its future-focused approach to research and knowledge exchange. Our work together is strengthening perceptions about what Solent stands for and why it matters.

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