The newly renamed Brand and Stakeholder Relations (BSR) unit was responsible for conceptualising, developing, and implementing an integrated brand and marketing plan that engages with UCT stakeholders to ensure that they are aware of UCT’s initiatives and priorities. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown and the team working remotely in 2021, we ensured that UCT’s stakeholder relations activities as well as the institutional events programme continued to be effectively executed. This was done whilst upholding the CMD mandate of promoting, supporting and upholding UCT’s vision and reputation. The team is primarily responsible for the following outputs:
As part of our Vision 2030 strategy, UCT focuses on unleashing students’ potential through education, to be resilient agents of change for themselves and in society. In keeping with this ethos, the Vision 2030 strategy states that UCT will focus on the impact of our research, specifically focusing on our longstanding priority of social responsiveness, and that we will increase our effort to communicate our research results and impact to the public.
The unit changed its name in January 2021 from Marketing & Stakeholder Relations (MSR) to Brand & Stakeholder Relations (BSR) to align more closely to the team’s integrated outputs. The COVID-19 lockdown period gave the team an opportunity to re-think priorities and break down some of the silos that existed. This ensured a more streamlined, efficient, and integrated team to respond to a new way of thinking and being, post-COVID-19.
BSR created formal brand plans and creative design elements that included the use of social media giphy’s and frames. The design and implementation assisted in creating a festive and celebratory atmosphere and awareness both online and face-to-face which was well received after two years of virtual graduations.
Key Highlights for 2021
The Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lectures are prestigious annual events in the UCT calendar. These lectures provide an opportunity for anyone in the country, whether connected to the university or not, to have the benefit of hearing first-hand from academics, researchers and other social role players who have distinguished themselves in their respective areas of expertise.
The unit facilitated three Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lectures in 2021.
The purpose of a Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture is to allow newly promoted full professors to introduce themselves and their body of research to the university community and the broader public. The lecture marks the appointment or promotion to full professorship and showcases the institution’s academic excellence.
Two virtual inaugural lectures were hosted in 2021.
The team was responsible for managing and coordinating the UCT Official Merchandise Concept Store and successfully launched an online sales platform with e-commerce partner Takealot in 2021 due to COVID-19 lockdown affecting the campus store. The partnership with Takealot was very well received as there was an immediate spike in sales, with free delivery and regular combo deals available countrywide.
Africa Day is commemorated annually on 25 May, which marks the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, now the African Union (AU). The team, on behalf of the institution and in collaboration with strategic partners, hosts UCT’s annual Africa Month celebrations to mark this important milestone. In 2021, we collaborated with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (NMSPG) and convened a public symposium featuring leading scholars and diplomats under the theme: ‘Youth development and participation on the African continent during the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
The BSR team organises UCT’s annual Womens’ Day event, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, in August each year. We commemorate this day to also raise awareness on the persistent inequalities, discrimination and abuse of rights experienced by womxn today.
The 2021 virtual Women’s Day event was hosted under the theme, ‘Social responsiveness and internationalisation’. The programme featured keynote speaker, Miss South Africa 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida. Total attendees: 1 683.
The team is responsible for coordinating UCT’s Annual Staff Awards which serve to honour and celebrate exceptional staff (PASS and Academic) for their contributions through excellence and dedication in research, teaching and service. The Vice-Chancellor and her Executive host the event. In 2021 we presented a virtual ceremony, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, which acknowledged staff receiving Long Service Awards, Distinguished Teacher Award, the Alan Pifer Research Award and the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, as well as academic staff who have received ad hominen promotions.
One of the key highlights for 2021 was the launch of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre on campus. The BSR team contributed to the launch by designing the brand collateral for the floor space as well as coordinating logistics for the launch event. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The intention was for the centre to remain operational until 2023.
A partnership with Valenture Institute led to the launch UCT’s Online High School, a first for Africa. The school launched mid-2021 and BSR assisted with event logistics and developing the partnership’s brand identity and guidelines for the new partnership and its associated identity.
After a sudden cancellation and postponement of the Chancellor’s installation event in March 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we finally had an opportunity to officially install Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe as the sixth Chancellor of UCT in December 2021. The event was held under strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) with limited guests. It was also livestreamed on our digital and social media platforms. The guests included chancellors and vice-chancellors of other universities, heads of diplomatic missions and many other VIPs, traditional leaders, civil society, and government.
UCT’s Vision 2030 strategy was approved in 2020. In 2021 BSR developed visual interpretation of the new ten-year strategy. We created various branded stationery, t-shirts, apparel and gifts as well as frequently used collateral templates.
Continuing professional development and benchmarking our outputs in the CMD sectors both locally and internationally assists us to develop and maintain our brand reputation and to strategically position our work amongst industry peers. The opportunity to benchmark our work to that of other higher education institutions and corporate organisations allows us to reflect, improve and innovate whilst staying ahead of the curve. CMD participates in indistry awards and BSR coordinates the submission of the various award programmes for the department and benchmarks some of its own projects. In 2021 the department won over 20 industry awards across the various programmes.
In 2021 the BSR team assisted the Student Records Office (SRO) with hosting the first UCT Graduation Walk of Celebration. The team’s contribution included a formal brand plan and creative design elements such as social media giphy elements and profile picture frames. The design and implementation assisted in creating a festive and celebratory atmosphere, both online and face-to-face which was well received after two years of virtual graduations.
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