One of the UK’s most unique and much-loved private universities, which was established by Sir Cyril Taylor in 1972, was facing funding challenges. Sadly forced to cancel their January 2020 intake of students a month earlier, the University’s situation was garnering national media attention and causing understandable concern amongst staff, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders. While the Board of Trustees was working hard to find a new strategic partner to secure the University’s long-term future, it was uncertain whether or not the University would close or a suitable partner would be found.
We worked with the senior leadership and communications team to immediately develop a narrative around the situation to protect the University from unhelpful speculation. We prepared media statements, letters to key stakeholders, social media messaging, communications to staff, students and more to ensure the University’s narrative stayed on course. We also supported with external relations, arranging a local MP meeting and briefing, advised on messages to neutralise conflict situations, and supported communications with key industry stakeholders.
Communications plans and materials for different outcome scenarios were prepared. The University was successful in securing a long-term strategic partner, and we prepared the core messaging, media statement, FAQs and communication pieces for internal and external audiences to announce the good news. Moving forward, to help the University build on its new strategic partnership and establish its voice in the sector, we created a stakeholder engagement plan and started implementing reputation building activities with target media and meetings with key MPs.