Global Glasgow: Reputation
Tom Rice, Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Glasgow, shares his thoughts on building a global reputation from the inside out.
What does reputation mean? Why does global reputation matter? What’s in it for me?
These are all questions that we were asked in staff engagement forums before the launch of our university’s current strategic plan, World Changers Together, in 2020.
"The new international strategy, Global Glasgow 2025, further articulates our vision to be the world-changing university and is a road map in putting our best foot forward globally."
The importance of reputation has been affirmed in the need for timely and relevant communications in the crisis of a global pandemic, and the need to assure people of our credibility and relevance in their lives. Our world-changing impact is evident in the positive sector ranking results we achieve, stakeholder experiences we deliver and pioneering research we undertake as a world-changing university.
The new international strategy, Global Glasgow 2025, further articulates our vision to be the world-changing university and is a road map in putting our best foot forward globally.
Refining our reputation strategy
In late March, we met with colleagues across the University to refine our action plan for the Global Glasgow pillar of Global Reputation.
It was an opportunity to reflect on the work that we are already undertaking to persuade audiences of our credibility and relevance.
This has included storytelling and activation of global campaigns, newsletters and events. Such as talking about our award-winning work in reparative justice - which led to us being named Times Higher Education University of the Year 2020 - and what we are doing to address race and gender inequality, and our contribution to the national COVID-19 response which led to us receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
"Everything we do as a team is underpinned by relationships, both internally within the University, and externally across the Higher Education sector, city and through international networks."
These areas are underpinned by collaboration and meaningful relationships with partners and that is something that we are keen to bring to the forefront of our narratives.
We asked colleagues to share their experience and perspectives so that together, we can improve our communications for international audiences and in turn put the University's best foot forward.
The workshop resulted in a positive conversation around what makes a university’s reputation. Around where we see the opportunities over the next 12−18 months to increase our credibility and relevance in the minds of our stakeholders, and around how we can work together to make that happen.
It was refreshing but not surprising that the reaction and response from colleagues to reputation plans has shifted from What does reputation mean? Why does global reputation matter? What’s in it for me? to How can we collaborate? Can you help us? Can we help you?
That’s because at the University of Glasgow, reputation matters. It’s not about striving to be the best university in the world, but the best university for the world. The University’s Senior Leadership Team make this known and are keen to reaffirm that our reputation is a University-wide endeavour.
We work collaboratively with our colleagues to shape, deliver and enable meaningful opportunities and effective communications. There is a leadership sub-committee dedicated to this, with an emphasis on empowerment. Ultimately, that’s what Global Glasgow is all about too - how our UofG community can be empowered to develop more meaningful relationships with international communities.
A good story well told
Our Marketing and Communications team mantra is a "good story well told" and we use all the intelligence, channels, creative and tactics at our disposal to do this for both planned and reactive audience engagement. We’re proud to be an award-winning team too!
Everything we do as a team is underpinned by relationships, both internally within the University, and externally across the Higher Education sector, city and through international networks. Our connected team and way of working reflects our connected university.
As Director of Marketing and Communications, I joined the University three years ago having managed the development and delivery of the City of Glasgow’s brand, People Make Glasgow.
The University is one of the City’s largest employers and contributes £4 billion to the UK economy. Large ancient universities like Glasgow, are much like cities. They are deeply rooted in history and heritage whilst being a destination of opportunities. Both cities and universities need to adapt to thrive. There is no doubt that people make the University of Glasgow the success it is today. The Global Glasgow international strategy is an excellent way to ensure that we are continuing to adapt to meet the needs of society today and in the future.
At our university, we treat reputation as an opportunity to have a conversation and find out more about areas of university business. In Marketing and Communications, we extend an open invitation to colleagues to engage us in projects or problems early and to allow us to get to the heart of the business need. This enables us to develop communications that will resonate with our audiences through the relationships that they create and improve the kind of university that we are.
Our first question is often, what does your audience need to know and how would you like them to feel?
TeamUofG is a fantastic community of people and we invite you to collaborate with us so that together we can change the world.