University of Bedfordshire Graduate Outcomes case study
The University of Bedfordshire began preparing for the implementation of the Graduate Outcomes survey in early 2018, working in collaboration with academic and professional service teams to develop a core brand and message that would be appealing to both students and graduates.
Our marketing plan was developed at a newly formed ‘Graduate Outcomes Working Group’ with a focus on two key priorities:
- Ensuring students and graduates update their contact details via our online records system.
- Raising awareness of the Graduate Outcomes brand and embedding this across the work of the Careers and Employability Service and the University more widely.
In order to meet our first priority, we developed a new Graduate Outcomes strapline called ‘Update Us’ in early 2018, with the aim of embedding the notion of students and graduates regularly updating their contact details via our Evision portal. This has now developed further with the creation of a second tagline called ‘Be Part of our Future’.
In order to raise awareness of the Graduate Outcomes brand across the University, we have developed a number of initiatives for students, staff and graduates.
How did you put it into action?
‘Update Us’ is the campaign we have been running to remind students and graduates to update their contact details via our Evision student records portal.
We developed the ‘Update Us’ tagline to ensure students and graduates were aware of the core message/call to action of updating their contact details, to ensure they could be contacted for the Graduate Outcomes survey.
We embedded the ‘Update Us’ tagline across multiple marketing materials, including; banners, leaflets, posters, electronic posters and our university app (see images below). We have also encouraged academic colleagues to embed the tagline within their teaching materials in order to ensure the Graduate Outcomes branding is familiar to students before they graduate.
‘Be Part of our Future’
Since the design and delivery of the ‘Update Us’ campaign, we have utilised the new HESA published marketing templates to develop a new graduate specific message focusing on the philosophy of continuing to be part of the University of Bedfordshire community following graduation.
We have developed a new set of marketing materials that we utilise specifically at graduations in conjunction with our Alumni Association, that reminds graduates to ‘Be part of our Future’. We utilised this message specifically at graduations as we feel it gives a strong message of continued support and engagement, and allows graduates to feel that they continue to be part of the University.
We introduced this tagline at graduations alongside the publication of our new 28 page ‘The Graduate Career Guide’ which all graduates were presented with at their graduation ceremonies, as a celebratory gift from the Careers and Employability Service.
Developing our Evision portal
In order to allow graduates to easily update their contact details post-graduation, we have significantly developed our Evision portal, creating a graduate specific dashboard that allows access to specialised content and links, especially for graduates.
The development of the portal has been crucial, as we felt strongly that providing a quick and easy process to check and update details was essential in developing engagement with the Graduate Outcomes survey.
Embedding the Graduate Outcomes brand
Throughout the University, one of the key objectives of our Graduate Outcomes marketing strategy has been to embed the Graduate Outcomes logo across all the marketing materials produced by the Careers and Employability Service.
We have therefore embedded the logo into all posters, leaflets, booklets, banners, emails and other marketing materials that we produce in order to ensure that the branding is familiar to both students and graduates. We have also worked with the Alumni Association and Students Union to embed the branding and core messaging within communications sent from their teams.
We have also developed a new email signature template below that can be utilised by colleagues that provides brief information about the survey and can be used to promote the survey and improve brand awareness.
In order to increase staff awareness of the Graduate Outcomes brand, we developed a new Graduate Outcomes Forum that meets three times a year, allowing nominated colleagues from across all faculties of the university to find out more about the survey, important developments and key information that can then be cascaded to their teams.
The introduction of the forum has allowed for a more developed working relationship between the Careers Team and academics in promoting the Graduate Outcomes survey.
In addition to this, we have created a new staff e-resource community that allows academic and professional service colleagues to easily access information about the survey and branded templates which can be utilised in student and graduate interactions.
Alongside the Graduate Outcomes Forum and new e-resources, we have also developed a bespoke Graduate Outcomes Guide that is available to all staff across the University. This guide includes important information about the survey and a guide that can be shown to students/graduates on how to update their contact details.
What was the result?
As the Graduate Outcomes survey is new and only in its first collection cycle, it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing approaches we have developed.
Feedback from students, graduates and staff has been positive, and awareness of the survey has increased significantly as we have developed our marketing materials and embedded the Graduate Outcomes logo across our whole suite of marketing materials.
One key lesson we have learnt is that by keeping the marketing messages simple, and embedding the survey logo throughout different marketing materials, we have been able to increase awareness of the survey effectively, and provided clear actions with regards to updating contact details.
Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate and develop our marketing and promotion of the survey and explore how we can expand and adapt our materials so they are engaging to different student and graduate population groups.
Matthew Harris, Graduate Outcomes Manager, University of Bedfordshire: [email protected].
Role in Graduate Outcomes
Working within the Careers and Employability Service, I manage and oversee the operational delivery and analysis of the Graduate Outcomes survey at the University of Bedfordshire.