Sub-committees of Council take stock and plan ahead

Two sub-committees of Council, the Human Resources Committee of Council (HRCoC) and the Brand and Communication Committee of Council (BCCoC,) recently met to reflect on progress made during the year and to start planning for 2020. The BCCoC also hosted a workshop where portfolio managers and Unisa staff tasked to oversee its communication and marketing efforts could engage on the status of Unisa’s reputation and the way forward.

Reputation management and advancing Unisa’s reputation was the topic under discussion at the BCCoC workshop. What does it mean to be the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity? What does the Unisa brand stand for? With probing questions and insights on the latest branding trends, Thebe Ikalafeng, global African brand and reputation architect, adviser and author, set the tone for robust and frank discussions on the status and management of Unisa’s brand.

BCCoC chairman, Mr Sandy Lebese, and Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya, emphasised the importance of effective and agile brand management, and reflected on Unisa’s achievements and challenges in this regard.

Over decades Unisa has grown into an iconic brand recognised for its quality education and as a leader in in open distance learning. However, with unfavourable reports surfacing in the media over the past two to three years and complaints, especially on social media about poor service delivery, Unisa’s brand reputation was losing ground.

Managing and growing your brand requires hard work or “elbow grease”, as Council member, Janine Hills, put it. She said well-crafted communication, marketing and branding plans were commendable, but unless they were followed by effective execution and hard work, they would have little impact.

Unisa’s portfolio managers briefly discussed the reputational opportunities and challenges in their respective areas.

At the end of a lively workshop, members of BCCoC and senior management, and communication, marketing and branding staff all agreed that there was a wealth of positive news and good stories to be shared with the world outside and that it was now up to Unisa’s marketing and communication team to manage and promote the Unisa brand with vigour and enthuisiasm.

Source: University of South Africa