Polytechnic maintaining overseas brand awareness

Otago Polytechnic. Photo: ODT files
Otago Polytechnic. Photo: ODT files
Covid-19 put the brakes on Otago Polytechnic’s drive to attract international students but marketing still includes advertising in Russian.

Effort is going into maintaining international brand awareness but the messages have been adjusted in a world afflicted by the coronavirus.

Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland international campus sales, marketing and business development deputy chief executive Gagan Sachdeva said it was partly about looking after people.

“We have actively built social media campaigns to reach out to our international learners currently in New Zealand," Mr Sachdeva said.

"This includes our Russian community."

Sharing positive stories helped create a sense of community — "one in which our international students are well supported academically and personally".

The polytechnic shelved offshore marketing campaigns in April.

That decision was based on uncertainty about the border and sensitivity relating to how Covid-19 was affecting other countries.

“Instead, we have since directed all our marketing communication towards sending positive messages on how New Zealand is managing Covid-19 and the specific steps Otago Polytechnic has taken to support all its learners and staff, specifically international students."

The polytechnic’s Auckland campus has taken a hit. Domestic enrolments in the South, however, have climbed significantly.

Mr Sachdeva said the polytechnic was maintaining contact with agents in all its markets.

“These agent relationships have been developed over many years and it is key that we take a longer-term view to international education, as we are confident a ... vaccine will be developed."

More students throughout the world were also studying online and some were looking to study with offshore providers.

“We do have plans for offshore marketing, but this is conditional on receiving Government approval to offer online academic programmes to international students in their home countries. "We are still awaiting that decision."


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