Branding is a function usually thought to apply in the business arena, but in fact, successful academic institutions—universities and colleges—have long relied on their brands to help attract promising students and retain alumni support over generations. Just think of the color branding success of the Harvard “Crimson Tide” and the loyalty it inspires.
How does a college build its brand? Today, schools rely on a combination of time-tested, traditional methods that promote their strengths—a winning sports program, a dynamic mascot, achievements in specialized academic fields—with dynamic technological innovations that create strong ties to the institution among multiple stakeholder groups. In other words, educational institutions need to build and sustain student engagement. The key to the future is, more specifically, digital engagement.
Challenges in achieving higher levels of engagement are amplified by trends toward decreasing enrollments. As the economics of higher education are transformed by reductions in state and federal support, frequent budget shortfalls, and steadily rising tuition costs, new methods of student engagement are mandatory.
Increasingly, schools are adapting technology like social network software that customizes activities and makes them more interactive and engaging. When learners can use the familiar structure of social media to share new information outside of class, and seek resources outside the institution, user satisfaction levels increase.
Students who connect with faculty through social networks achieve greater understanding of curriculum, and are more likely to remain engaged in learning throughout their school careers and beyond. In turn, additional stakeholders like alumni, faculty, researchers, and others can interact with students and with one another more dynamically, sharing knowledge and advancing their own learning.
Educational institutions of all sizes will be challenged to develop alternative models of learning. As fewer students find traditional college programs affordable, technology is an increasingly important means of connecting with new, previously underserved communities. Interactive systems designed to promote self-service help speed transactions and reduce personnel costs, at the same time as they increase user satisfaction.
When technology promotes engagement, it sets up a dynamic relationship between the individual student and the university or college, leading to quality communication, an essential component in student success. A direct line can be drawn from greater student engagement to greater student achievement, and from there, to higher rates of graduation.
Using the same interactive tools, the alumni stakeholder group becomes more effectively engaged, with demonstrated end results that lead to higher levels of giving and support for the institution.
Digital engagement through technology invites all stakeholders into the institution to enjoy a greater sense of participation. Groups and individuals connect around key values and goals, from the institution’s mission to its history and culture, preserving and building the brand into the future.
About Enterprise Hive
HiveSocialTM for Higher Education by Enterprise Hive transforms the educational institution into a social campus by easily connecting all constituents, using embedded gaming mechanics and more. For more information contact them at www.enterprisehive.com, or call 1-804-438-9393.