New research by the World 100 Reputation Network (W100) shows that most universities are not protecting reputation by adequately preparing for the risks associated with international partnerships.

Given the recent issues in Hong Kong, the potential for negative changes to the reputation of a partner, or indeed a country, have been highlighted for global universities which are increasingly focused on developing strategic alliances.

The W100 surveyed leaders in international relations and communications at around top 80 universities in the top 200 of the global rankings; the full report, Riding the Tiger: Enhancing the Role of Reputation in International Partnerships, is available to members of the Network.

Riding the Tiger - Enhancing the role of reputation in international partnerships 2018-19

So, how should a university go about preparing for potential impacts arising from reputation problems associated with global partner universities or countries?

The W100, which represents leaders in communications, marketing and international at more than 50 top universities around the globe, has identified some key actions for communications and marketing teams and International Offices.

1. Have strong processes in place for protecting reputation by assessing potential risks to reputation when forming international partnerships

2. Develop strong relationships between International Offices and Communications and Marketing teams with shared objectives and plans

3. Monitor the reputation of partners (and countries) through media social media and local intelligence from students/ staff

4. Put robust communications strategies in place to address key audiences: students & parents, staff, local stakeholders

5. Develop Exit Strategies from partnerships in worst-case scenarios

The full Riding the Tiger report is only available to members of the World 100 Reputation Network. A summary is available to universities considering joining the network.

In addition to an annual piece of bespoke research on a key issue relating to reputation, members receive a wide variety of benefits, including an annual conference, global media and social media monitoring and access to specialist training.

To find out more about joining the network visit our 2020/2021 membership page or email Mark Sudbury, our Head of Global Network Development.