19 Sep Universities – From Disorganised to Desperate
What you can Learn About PR From Universities
This summer has been an interesting mixture of University roadshows and visits to Universities with my son, Felix. What I have found so fascinating is how these Universities seem to accurately portray what businesses seem to do badly or well. Let me explain…
First to come were the roadshows for prospective students where Universities gather in mass and try to persuade students to include them on their UCAS forms. Felix went to this with his peers so I didn’t get first hand sight of this, but what I did see was my son staggering home with water bottles, pens, pen drives and notebooks (apparently, he ate all the sweets before he got back).
When I laughingly asked him if was being bribed by all these freebies,he very confidently replied that everyone knows that all rubbish Universities give stuff away, and an institution with too many freebies looks dodgily desperate. MORAL: In most cases, If what you offer is quality, you shouldn’t have to bribe people with freebies, be they pens or a free hour’s introductory session.
Next up were the open days and, more to the point, booking the open days. Some had a great online system that emailed you straight away to welcome you to their system, and sent plenty of reminders. (These are a tricky subject. I like reminders because I have a lot going on, but I know some people hate getting too many of these), whilst others advertised that online booking would be open on a certain date, but didn’t live up to their deadline.
MORAL: in today’s day and age there is no excuse for not getting your technology right, or living up to self declared deadlines.
On the open days themselves, some institutions offered a smooth service, with fast track entry, well ran student tours and lots of places to stock up on tea, coffees and snacks. Others began with a huge queue, with tours that were run by students who clearly had no idea where they were meant to be going (not their fault, that sort of stuff is down to the organisers) and nowhere to grab a bite to eat or drink.
Needless to say, you had to be very determined and forgiving to warm to the disorganised ones.
MORAL: Orgainsiation is key if you want to impress and remembering people’s basic needs a must.
Of course, the product (in this case the courses themselves) is going to be the biggest factor in making a decision, but all of the little points above will contribute to it. It was interesting how some insititutions were very good at the big picture stuff but completely ignored the details – not so good when you could be living and working there for three or four years of your life.