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Success and crisis: preparation is key for the marketing communications community group

How can success be measured in marketing communications? And when disaster strikes, how can communications contribute to a successful recovery? The GÉANT Special Interest Group on Marketing Communications (SIG-Marcomms) explored these topics, GDPR around events, webinars and more during a highly-rated meeting on 4-6 February in London, hosted by Jisc.

SIG-Marcomms Steering Committee Chair Lonneke Walk presenting SURFnet’s crisis communications plans.

Practice makes perfect

For the third time, SIG-Marcomms visited the subject of crisis management and communications. Having originated the idea for the GÉANT community ‘CLAW’ workshops, the group heard a report from the second CLAW event – held in November 2018 – where it became clear that clearly defining roles and responsibilities is an important step towards successfully dealing with a crisis. Belnet, SURFnet and Jisc presentations then revealed their lessons learned from CLAW, practical exercises and – in some cases – real crises, and the plans put in place by each organisation. The common thread? A large marcomms support and regular practice are needed to turn crisis management from a one-off stress into a task that everyone takes in their stride.

Quick-fire brainstorming on metrics tips and tricks.

The need for numbers

What does “good” look like and how do you measure it in a marketing communications context? How do you build metrics into strategic planning and ensure that it doesn’t get forgotten in the drive to keep creating the next output? The SIG participants heard some examples from GRNET and Jisc before breaking into groups for a quick-fire exploration of what to measure and some tips and tricks. Ideas for how to present the results in an appealing and meaningful way were shared by GÉANT.

Regarding regulations

Most NRENs organise conferences and other events, where particular issues arise in connection with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), such as registration, mailing lists, photography and videos. Presentations by Jisc and GÉANT gave some examples of experiences and raised many questions that were answered by Magdalena Rzaca, GDPR IPR Legal Advisor at GÉANT, who pointed out that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) also need to be taken into account. These questions and answers will be used by GÉANT to compile a checklist that the community can use as a reference.

Online information sharing

Some organisations have been using webinars, ‘infoshares’ and other live or recorded online communications sessions, but for many this is a neglected area of the marketing communications toolkit. Experiences from the marketing communications perspective and from the Learning and Development team were presented by GÉANT, with attention given to the value of these outputs and to making them as engaging as possible. Jisc and SURFnet also described their experiences of using online information sharing for internal and external communications and of experimenting with different formats, respectively. Some practical tips were shared and some support documentation is available via the online meeting agenda.

Alexei Belotserkovsky explains how BASNET supported public engagement with the Space community in Belarus.

Other updates

Presentations were given about marketing communications activities in the PRACE research infrastructure organisation and GRENA, the Georgian NREN.  GRNET’s recent marcomms strategy and results were shared along with insights into PSNC’s anniversary events in December, RENAM’s anniversary and conference experiences, and a major public engagement event in Belarus that was supported by BASNET. New services in the context of the new iteration of the GÉANT Project were explained, along with activities now being undertaken by NRENs to facilitate the adoption of cloud services, with examples from FCT|FCCN, Jisc and HEAnet.

A hands-on communications game.

Further information

In a feedback survey about the meeting, participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the topics and discussions and awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars over all. Suggestions for topics to be tackled in future meetings were also gathered and will be addressed in future meetings. More than 40 people from 22 organisations took part.

The next meeting of SIG-Marcomms will be a joint event with the Global PR Network immediately preceding TNC19, on Sunday 16 June in Tallinn.

The London meeting slides and agenda are available online.

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