Summary: Every business has to reinvent itself, even in small ways, over time to stay competitive. The Corporate University must take steps to reinvent, as well. Here are some things to look at when considering a fresh, new approach – even after a short period in business.
The reinvention of the Corporate University should occur, even in small measure, regardless of what you’ve discovered in an assessment or re-evaluation. You’re not looking to change the overall brand, because you want that to stay indelibly identified with the organization and its University. But you do want to make small changes and publicize the successes or coming successes of the University.
First, look for ways to “freshen” the marketing. One way to do this is to look for ways to tie the marketing into achievement of goals for the past year. For example, if the goal to open 5000 new accounts was met, congratulate the organization in your marketing – and place the University as a partner in the journey forward. Think about the ways the organization has been successful, partner with the marketing department, and come out with a fresh approach that congratulates on a job well done and positions the University as a strategic partner. If the organization’s goals have not been fully met, concentrate on the goals that were met – and capitalize on those in your marketing.
If the organization’s strategy has changed, it may be time to look at changing the University’s position on certain aspects. For example, if the organization has moved operational efficiency up in the strategy, you may have to look at your own efficiency. This goes back to the re-evaluation and assessment – if you have locations that are not being used, consider closing them and reassigning the staff. In the same way, consider moving classroom courses or parts of classroom courses into online formats to bolster the University’s efficiency. Just take a good look at the organization’s strategy and change the University’s strategy accordingly – you’ve built and developed a staff that is capable of handling the change.
Consider your infrastructure, as well. If you make strategic changes that have a public impact, capitalize on them. For example, if you’re reassigning instructors, do a communications piece that highlights the instructor and his or her expertise and background. If you’re migrating courses to online formats, this is a great way to create some buzz surrounding the programs on offer. The idea here would be to look at changes to strategy as strategic in themselves, as new ways to publicize the University and its programs. Above all else, your publicity of changes will show that the University is marching right alongside the entire organization. This is target marketing at its best.
When you originally rolled out the University, you may have decided to phase in other curricula, courses, or focus areas. Part of you reinvention, even on an annual basis, can be to start work and roll out these new phases. If you have the resources to create training and career paths for certain groups, go ahead and do it. This will play into your marketing as well, not only to the intended audience but also to the organization’s population as a whole. You can publicize new programs, showcase them, and point out that each department within the organization has the opportunity to take advantage of learning services.
Finally, look at your staff and determine what they need to be “reinvented”. Did staff members get the kind of development they need, or did they miss out? Are there certifications or licenses the staff members can get that can be included in the fresh marketing of the University? If you reorganize the staff in order to roll out new programs or keep up with organizational strategic changes, can you promote from within? And if you do promote from within, can you pull promising talent from the organization itself into vacant University positions?
Reinvention does not have to be a full-scale overhaul – it can include simple marketing of new programs or programs that have not been as successful as intended. The main thing to remember is that the University must keep its image and its programs fresh, in touch with the organization, and in step with the organization’s overall strategy and mission. And by doing this, you’re firmly establishing the University as a value-added partner.