The Holy Trinity of University Reputation Management

At the recent CASE Europe Annual Conference, I led a session on "The Holy Trinity of university reputation management". I was joined by a trio of experts, each making the case for their area of the university journey – attractiveness & outreach, careers & employability, and alumni relations – and their impact on university reputation. 

In any organisation, your reputation – your brand – is the sum total of all the meanings that all your audiences hold in their heads and their hearts about you. 

In "The Holy Trinity of university reputation management", three experts joined me to talk about three different areas of a university, which each have a part to play in influencing its reputation. I kicked off the session with an introduction on the importance of emotion in choosing a university. Then to add some interactivity and a bit of fun to the proceedings, we allocated our audience a fictional £100,000 budget, and asked them to split it between our three speakers and their specialist areas, in response to each of their sessions.

Three is the magic number

First off, Claire O'Neill (Head of Southern Universities Network, University of Southampton) made the case for investment in early outreach and engagement with school students, and the impact that has on young people that may not be considering university as an option for them. 

Then Lorna Froud (Independent Consultant) took to the stage to argue why careers and employability are everybody's business. She spoke about her work at the University of Reading to restructure and rebrand the careers service, which resulted in a Gold Transform Award for the Best Brand in Education.

Lastly, David Williams (Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, Durham University) took up the case for alumni relations, and the power of having a highly engaged alumni community. Branding for alumni relations is something that's been largely unexplored by universities, and IE is keen to find an alumni client keen to explore the opportunities this area represents for raising reputations, not just raising funds.   

My final question to our panel of experts asked each of them to offer up one practical step they've taken that's enhanced the university's reputation, revealing a good deal of overlap between the three parts of our Holy Trinity.

Watch the video

I invite you to watch some or all of the session, and perhaps stimulate some debate with your collegues! You can watch the full 52-minute presentation below, or simply use the links above to skip to the sections of interest.


(To make it a little easier, we've provided timings for the different sections of the presentation in the YouTube video descriptions.)

A really inspiring session, the three speakers' respective subjects interlinked nicely! I take a lot with me from this!

CASE Europe Annual Conference delegate