Two years and half after the last in-person meeting was held in Montpellier, the Special Interest Group on Marketing and Communications (SIG-Marcomms) held an interactive and engaging hybrid meeting alongside TNC22 in Trieste, Italy.
Sharing laughs and stories
After holding so many online meetings, an informal wake-up game was what the group needed! It was an opportunity for the participants to share personal stories, fun facts, and anecdotes about themselves and connect on a personal level without the distractions of failed screen shares, and muted microphones! Since the meeting in Montpellier, the group has grown, and many new members have joined. This side meeting was not only an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, but also to get to know people that had never had the chance to meet the Community in person until now!
For the past three years, the GÉANT Community has actively been involved in the Cyber Security Month campaign. Davina Luyten (Belnet) engaged with the participants to get some feedback and ideas to implement the upcoming 2022 Cyber Security Month campaign #AllCyberHeroes.
In the second part of the meeting, the participants attended Lightning Talks from NRENs and RRENs from four continents on the topic of website development and promotion. Presenters shared their experiences on building and populating a variety of websites, from those that cater for non-technical audiences or more targeted groups to websites for specific services or events. The presentations were a showcase of different examples of clear, concise, direct, and inclusive messaging on websites.
Jane Gifford (AARNet) and Silvia Fiore (GÉANT) explained that their respective In The Field and impact.geant.org blogs coexist to complement each other in their purpose of showcasing use case stories and raising awareness of the impact and value of NRENs. Both target non-technical readers and while In The Field provides a space for any and all global NRENs, GÉANT has a more European focus.
An example of website re-branding was brought forward by Barbara Carroll (HEAnet), who presented the eduroam.ie website. She demonstrated that marketing and user experience should be considered a key driving element when redeveloping any website. Minna Lappalainen (CSC) and Ela Yadzani (CANARIE) shared their website development and re-branding journeys, respectively around the LUMI Supercomputer and the new CANARIE website.
Ela highlighted: “People may not remember what you say, but they’ll remember how you make them feel.” A very simply concept in theory but challenging to apply in practice! CANARIE’s website rebranding is an example of how messaging can be simplified to better communicate the organisation’s culture so that the audience can relate more easily. Discussing these examples, all participants highlighted the importance of conveying the NREN’s brand and core values by aligning the messaging of the website to them, keeping it as simple and inclusive as possible.
Effah Amponsah (WACREN) joined the presentation remotely to share his experience building and promoting two of his recent creations: the websites for the WACREN2022 annual conference and the one for LIBSENSE. He gave the participants tips on why a conference website is needed and what are the key steps to follow from planning, designing, content creation, development and launching.
The group was also joined by GÉANT’s Legal Advisor, Magdalena Razca, who shared some guidelines on data protection, GDPR’s applicability and website cookies.
The last session of the meeting saw an engaging discussion on a couple of points that were raised by the participants. In particular, the group shared ideas and examples on how to effectively conduct recruitment campaigns and attract new talents, in collaboration with HR departments.
Another stimulating point of discussion revolved around the use of different Content Management Systems (CMS) in the NREN and RREN community, and on the best practices and security aspects related to each CMS, with a focus on WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.
It was an incredible experience to get together again with so many passionate colleagues from different sides of the world and discuss the key role of marketing and communications activities for the Research and Education Community! Details on the Autumn meeting will follow shortly.
If you are curious to learn more about SIG-Marcomms activities and objectives, visit the Community Programme’s website.