So Often FE Complains of Being Underfunded and Then Spends Huge Sums on the Official Openings of New Buildings, Mergers and Other Events
It’s total madness. There is no way that bringing in a celebrity to cut a ribbon is going to have more than a marginal impact on learning, recruitment or anything else associated with FE’s key objectives. And yet providers still spend 5-5 figure sums on official openings.
A good marketing department can get plenty of good PR when a new building or campus is opened .. at very low cost.
Questions to Ask About Official Openings: How Not to Overspend on PR When Opening New Premises or Buildings
What is the purpose of an official opening? It’s a question that many SMTs fail to fully answer. The assumption is that it needs a celebrity to achieve it though!
If it is widespread recognition then what does it say when the England team captain is paid to come and make a speech and cut a ribbon? Not a lot of those that are not supporters of their team. And if underfunding is an issue a government minister, a Royal or your local MP don’t charge appearance money. And they are more likely to get you on TV or on the local radio station.
How the Astute CEO Handles Official Openings: How Not to Overspend on PR When Opening New Premises or Buildings
Firstly they ascertain the objectives of the official opening
Then they keep costs down
They also keep their ego under control
Next is to decide on who is invited. Choosing the right Ambassadors will do more for your PR than anything else
They hold the event in the building itself …. those that hold an official opening in another building can look a bit silly when people ask why?
Choose the right time of year for the event. Some time after snagging has taken place, and perhaps when the weather is better is often ideal. An event on the day after the handover, when snagging discovers the toilets aren’t working, is not great.And don’t think that’s never going to happen. I’ve seen it happen.
Official Openings and Underfunding can go hand in hand. But so often they are a PR disaster waiting to happen.
There’s more on Financial Viability and Stability here.
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