Embrace the brand

Anyone searching for a word to wind up academics could give this one a try: brand.  “Brand” is the new “customer” for awfulness of metaphor when it comes to explaining the profile and values of a higher education institution. It’s the term—and the attitude to public communication—that has already white-anted our confidence in politics, so why universities are presently gulping the Kool Aid when it comes to brand profiling is beyond me. OK, don’t write in: I know that universities…

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Birds in our sleeves

Underline everything, I’m a professional in my beloved white shirt (The National, ‘Squalor Victoria’) One of the troublespots of shared governance in higher education institutions is the tone to strike in corporate communication with students. Is there a business unit that can stalk them on Facebook without seeming creepy? Who should follow their tweets? What happens to the brand if they’re dissing us to their friends? We don’t even know how to communicate with them officially, given that we’re institutionally…

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Vertical thinking

The “education vertical” sounds a bit more thrilling than it is.  The first time you hear it, it seems to share the weird poetic syntax of “the body electric” and “the life everlasting”. It’s education, on an updraft. A bit of googling fishes up a turn of phrase that has more concrete aspirations. This vertical is both market and solution  (“Callista cracks open education vertical“) and it continues intermittently to appear in the promotional talk of software vendors and government procurement….

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