Posted 14 May 2014
"We have had a lot of positive feedback from a variety of sources, complimenting us on the speed and efficiency of the communication of and change to the new title"
Harper Adams University has received national recognition for the way it spread the message upon being award full University Title.
From a record number of entries, the Marketing and Communication team at Harper Adams has been nominated for three HEIST Awards, which recognise excellent practice in higher education marketing.
“Harper Adams – 100 years in the making” is the project shortlisted in the Strategic and Corporate Campaign category.
Director of Marketing and Communications, Lorraine Westwood, explained: “Even though Harper Adams had greater academic credentials than many full universities, in the public’s eyes the brand ‘university college’ automatically positioned the institution as lower down the pecking order.
“This was proven by market positioning research - for those with no prior knowledge of the institution, the title 'university college' made it a player in the college market not the university market. This was not a true reflection of the institution and the level of education it delivers.
“Changes to the rules on student number thresholds for university status in 2012 finally allowed university colleges to apply to the Privy Council for full university title. This provided an exciting and once-in-a lifetime opportunity for Harper Adams to re-position itself within the market place.
“We weren’t sure when the final decision would come, but we wanted to ensure that we got out of the starting blocks first. The groundwork was laid well in advance and we were, indeed, the first of the eight former university colleges in the UK to announce our university status.
“When the decision to award University Title finally came, at 3.55pm on a December afternoon, immediate actions were confirmed within 10 minutes. After 25 minutes, all media releases were out, a large banner was up on the main road outside the university, all-staff and all-student emails were out, messages were released on social media, alumni had been notified, a newly-branded website was up and timings and locations for the following days activities had been agreed.
“The next day, a student-centered launch of university title began. The queue to bag one of 100 T-shirts bearing the new logo stretched onto the main road and the rest of the campaign wheels were set in motion!”
The workloaded included the mammoth task of changing all branded materials – not just to a new logo, but a whole new creative approach, with much more sophisticated designs. Staff were briefed on the change of language used to promote the new university
“The immediate impact was amazing, but more important for us was the long term impact on changing attitudes towards the institution,” Mrs Westwood added. “It is now very rare to hear or see anyone refer to Harper Adams as anything other than a university, and we have had a lot of positive feedback from a variety of sources, complimenting us on the speed and efficiency of the communication of and change to the new title.”
The universities further Heist shortlist nominations are for the best Postgraduate Prospectus, for which Harper Adams has already won the Prospects Awards, and for Marketing Team of the Year, for which it has been shortlisted three years running.
The winners will be revealed in early July.