The needs of students and alumni are different. How do educational institutions deliver an effective global communication programme?

The challenge

The Open University (OU) initially commissioned Beehive to conduct a strategic review of its communications, to measure their impact and effectiveness, and assess how they could be improved. Two years later Beehive was asked to repeat the exercise to evaluate the changes that were put in place.

The solution

The research objective was to enable the OU’s Communications and Development team to provide the most effective strategy for getting its message across to its diverse range of target audiences including: students at varying levels of course completion, alumni, and “dormant” students who had not completed their qualification. It was essential to determine which channels of communication were most appropriate to each of the stakeholders and, within those channels, which communications vehicles were most effective.

"We will not just deliver actionable insight. We will work collaboratively with you to help you to achieve your business objectives"

Paul Kavanagh, Head Bee

The benefits

The findings highlighted the different communications needs of students and alumni and the most effective channels to use when communicating with each of them. It also showed how the different communications were received and what OU needed to do to raise awareness of its key communications vehicles. As a result of the research, OU has developed a more cost-effective and streamlined communications plan.

The findings have been applied in other communications-related issues such as managing and developing reputation, improving positive onward communications, supporting retention and recruitment, increasing re-registration/continuous study, inspiring ambassadors, increasing fundraising awareness and philanthropic support.