SI.4 is aimed at boosting the University’s international competitive advantage by increasing brand awareness of ITMO University internationally, significantly boosting the efficiency of its internal and external communications and improving its recognition worldwide.
The initiative is to be carried out in 3 stages.
Stage 1: 2013-2014 - building of a communications management system at the University, communication strategy and global branding development, upgrading of the University’s internet portals and websites group.
Key results of the first stage are as follows:
· A strong team for internal and external communications management has been formed
· The comprehensive re-branding of ITMO University has been completed
· A strategy for the University’s global promotion has been developed
· The basic Internet policies have been defined
Stage 2: 2015-2016 – increasing internal and external target audiences’ loyalty to ITMO University, implementing the University’s global positioning strategy, improving its brand awareness nationally and globally and rapid upgrading of ITMO University’s position in the university rankings.
Stage 3: 2017-2020 – development of ITMO University’s Community, professional management of University’s reputation, improvement of ITMO University’s positions in the world rankings
To implement the SI the two tasks will be undertaken.
Main activities of Task 4.1 “ITMO goes global” – namely, creating ITMO University’s global brand, improving its recognition nationally and globally” are concentrated on brand promotion of ITMO University, improving its brand awareness, forming its reputation of world-acclaimed University with strong research/scientific background and entrepreneur spirit. Special attention is paid to the ITMO University’s presentations at the leading world’s conferences, forums and meetings, as it increases ITMO University’s visual and associative recognition by external target audience. A substantive change in ITMO’s corporate style in 2014 ultimately resulted in the creation of a new unique image, which has been appreciated, but not yet recognized, by the target audience. To build up a strong global brand, the University’s most immediate task will be to increase its visual and associative recognition by external target groups.
A key attractive element of the University’s global positioning will be its geographical location.
· St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful world cities, so working or studying in St. Petersburg can be one of the additional attractive moments for foreign student or employees
· Brussels - opening of ITMO University’s Representative office in November 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, facilitates the implementation of cooperation projects with international companies and Universities in Europe
To complete Task 4.1 We shall use the following global promotion instruments:
· Participation and organization of international events in order to provide the active promotion of the University's brand among its target groups.
· Organizing ITMO University’s special projects including international educational programs and international recruitment project, “ITMO Fellowship and Professorship”, in order to improve its recognition and promote its interests globally
· Close cooperation with mass-media and other communication channels (publications, press-tours for foreign MM, press-conferences, etc.) in order to broaden the University's information field, attract the largest information agencies’ interest in ITMO University’s activities including creation of the mass-media comments hot-line by the University experts.
· Intensive development of the ITMO University pages in social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You-tube, LinkedIn and others, as an efficient tool to attract prospective students and staff. Social networks have also proven to be an effective measure for raising the frequency of University hits on the Internet, as well as building trusting relationships with target audiences, the improvement of the University’s reputation, and, as a result – an increasing number of foreign students admitted to the University.
· The University’s expansion into the global information network is carried out through its integration into internet-zones (virtual offices, repositories), increasing the University’s presence on the Internet (web-sites, professional social networks, etc) in order to involve the target audience in the University's information field and help increase its positioning in the world rankings.
We have chosen three key hints to improve ITMO University’s global recognition and to provide effective promotion:
· Science and innovation popularization: growth of the University’s academic reputation (cooperation with various associations, international popular science projects, i.e. TED, Science Slam, Open University and others), its integration into global society, providing popularization of Science and innovation (promotion of ITMO University’s Fab Lab, Business Incubator, etc.); development of Science Communications (launch of the first Russian Master’s degree program “Science Communications” and building up a popular scientific information distribution network (promotion of the scientific and research articles in MM, inspiring interest of MM towards research and science), creating ITMO’s own unique popular scientific content (video, photo, articles)
· Increasing ITMO University’s recognition among corporate employers: building up relations with HR-departments of big companies (special media-projects, company popularity rankings based on students’ and alumni opinion), broadcasting of the ITMO University’s graduates’ success stories in MM, implementation of joint projects in alliance with international employers (internships in the world’s top companies in “Work and Travel” format, reality-show about student internships, etc.)
· ITMO University’s HR-brand: in order to attract high-quality personnel we are going to create a sound and attractive HR-brand (“university as an attractive employer”). The image of ITMO University - as one of the best places to develop one’s career - will be formed with the help of communication tools, modern efficient positioning methods (conventions, exhibitions, participation in events, organization of ITMO’s own events)
Completing of the task of the University global recognition (‘ITMO goes global’) can dramatically influence and increase ITMO University's positions in global ratings in reputation terms among the academic and business community. This is one of the established criteria included in these ratings.
Task 4.2. “IT's MOre than a University - creating and developing the united ITMO University community” and building up close links between internal and external University's audiences. The creation of a united community will ultimately lead to the University reaching the target of continuously improving the University’s positive reputation, building up the involvement of target groups in the University's activities through their direct participation in its life. This task’s implementation is based on realizing a series of activities targeted at forming its corporate culture, including broadcasting the University’s basic principles and values to its current and potential communities and the positioning of ITMO University as a team of professionals.
ITMO University has become more than a place just for students acquiring knowledge and staff fulfilling their daily duties. Our University is a space for personal development, the development of a culture where staff live, where there is a spirit of people and large organizations being in close community.
It is possible to arouse the interest and increase the involvement of external and internal target audiences in University activities by the following means:
· ‘ITMO OPEN’ – modern open space and interactive educational platform for high-school kids and students;
· ‘ITMO PLACE’ – non-conventional creative spaces in University buildings which differ by their characteristic features (Birzhevaya liniya - innovation, Grivtsova Street – robotics, etc.)
· ‘ITMO MEDIA’ – leading-edge media center for implementing collaborative projects with Russian and International Media
All of the above-mentioned spaces and projects are also aimed at creating an attractive international environment for foreign students. We have also planned to put together a new sports hall (ITMO Sport) by 2020.
ITMO University Community development is closely linked to the information support of its activities targeted to those University graduates who should become role models and experts for current students. (Meetings with the students, implementing the “Mentor” project, introducing the “responsible assistance” contract to be signed upon enrollment by every student, ensuring that graduates assist, mentor and help the freshmen in their own major).
Integrating the corporate culture into students’ everyday routine, and transmitting ITMO University’s values - even to potential students, is very important. It involves young people in the life of the community from the very start of their contact with the University, creating an initial and long-standing positive image of ITMO University and its culture. (Implementation of students’ creative projects at the University, launching of various “virus” campaigns, opening of the ITMO brand store, café, etc.)
One of the special PR-projects increasing the University’s global recognition will be ‘IT’s MOre than a Year of Light – International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies’ – a global event organized in St. Petersburg by ITMO University. A comprehensive calendar of worldwide events has been included in the Year of Light program is intended to attract the attention of both academic and business communities to scientific research and educational activities of the University and increase its visibility worldwide.
Key aspects and instruments of implementation of the SI 4 are given in the table below:
ITMO goes global! – Promotion of international brand and improvement of ITMO University’s visibility in the world educational community
Participation in large international conferences and conventions.
Working with international associations.
Cooperation with international mass media and information sources.
Promotion of ITMO University’s brand in social networks.
Integration into the world web-environment (development of ITMO University’s websites and portals)
Promotion of the university with the emphasis on the unique geographical locations of its offices: St Petersburg and Brussels.
IT's MOre than a University – creation and development of a unified community of ITMO University
Formation and development of the corporate culture of the University (cooperation with various target audiences)
Open environments ITMO OPEN, ITMO MEDIA, ITMO PLACE etc.
Cooperation with alumni.
Comprehensive cooperation with alumni, students and prospective students. Building trusting and continuing relationships.