King’s College London was the suitably impressive venue for the 2019 W100 Tracker Symposium on 27th November with colleagues from member universities discussing how the tracker is being used and providing constructive feedback on enabling more effective data collection.

The symposium featured speakers from member universities detailing specific examples of how they have used the tracker and the data it provides to implement or supplement strategies for boosting their institution’s reputation.

Several speakers described how the data provided by the W100 Tracker had given them the evidence to back up an observation or highlight an area that needed work in order to get wider teams and more senior members of staff to take action or see another side of things. Claire Hamilton, Head of Marketing at the University of Sheffield stated that the data ‘pushed where people thought they already had the answer’ and that the tracker ‘helps relay messages in a depersonalized way’.

King’s College London, Manchester and Queen’s University Belfast also provided examples of how Tracker data is influencing discussions around reputation and engagement with key audiences, including alumni and staff.

Maxine Taylor Tracker Symposium Quote

One other key theme was a concern that ‘survey fatigue’ may be influencing efficient data collection amongst certain audiences. Several Tracker members outlined the ways in which they are addressing the issue. Richard Smith, Head of International Reputation at the University of Birmingham, stated the importance of using appropriate messaging with the tracker surveys, emphasizing the benefits to the institution of filling the tracker survey in compared to others that may go out at the same time.

Internal audiences were also identified as being particularly prone to survey fatigue. Members who have been successful in the collection of data from these audiences shared their experience and tips. The University of Sheffield has been particularly successful in surveying their Staff due to the alignment of Communications and HR teams, meaning they harmonise survey timings and capitalize on wider engagement activities with the university’s staff. The University of Birmingham also commented on the benefits of engaging the HR team when surveying staff in order to successfully collect data.

Birmingham also offered a case study around the successful polling of alumni and current students. In order to negate the issue of survey and email fatigue, Claire Doggett, Head of Campaigns and Reputation at the University of Birmingham discussed how they had used social media to collect survey respondents; by using LinkedIn in particular,  they were able to reach alumni without the need to send an email.

Claire Doggett Tracker Symposium Quote

Overall the symposium was very successful in gauging how successful the tracker has been in 2019 in terms of shaping university reputation action plans and campaigns. Alan Ferns, Associate Vice-President for External Relations and Reputation at the University of Manchester, and one of the founding members of the UK tracker, talked about how integral the tracker data has become, with a strong potential for influencing institutional Key Performance Indicators. He also highlighted the value of the Tracker as a co-created project, providing the opportunity to engage with other members around challenges and successes.

Alan Ferns Tracker Symposium Quote

The End of Year meetings for Tracker members will provide a further opportunity to discuss how Tracker data can support your strategies to develop reputation.

To find out how the tracker could help your university, talk to us. Or visit our tracker page for more information.