Can the wrong events influence your academic venue branding?

Academic venues can’t exist in isolation. They are, by their
very nature, required to work alongside the university. Even those that have
entirely separate commercial and academic businesses will need to work with
each other, but should the university’s brand be considered when determining
the suitability of an event? I think so.

My team and I have spent a considerable amount of time
nurturing our relationships with the various faculties at the university, which
is a hugely important process as the benefits are mutual. We can advise
lecturers and course leaders of the best ways to use the spaces available at
the university to host events relevant to their disciplines and supply an
experienced events team to ensure the event is top quality. In return, from a
commercial perspective, the faculties are filling the booking calendar with
significant events.

There are clearly practical advantages to hosting events
that complement the university’s offering too. The University of Sunderland,
for example, is home to a leading glass and ceramics course, utilising the
equipment and exhibition space at the National Glass Centre. This is a
ready-made environment for conferences and events in this field, so it makes
sense for us to pursue this business.

On the other side of the coin, the university has a brand
and reputation to uphold and we are potentially bringing events to the site
that are in no way associated. As I’ve demonstrated above, our positive
relationships with the whole organisation are essential if the business is to
succeed, so we need to consider this when determining the suitability of an
event. If we risk diluting the university’s brand with a particular business
win, does the short-term benefit to the business outweigh the potential damage
caused to the internal relationships? Not really, in my view.

While it may feel un-natural to turn down any type of
business, academic venues need to think more strategically than traditional
event venues. Even if we think beyond the commercial benefits, maintaining
strong relationships with the various faculties creates a more positive working
atmosphere for all involved. You’re also much more likely to get a positive
response when you ask a course leader if you can move their seminar to a
different room so you can set up for an event coming in later that day!

Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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