What can we do?
Firstly, in my opinion, now is that critical moment when we need to answer the question "Who are we?" not with a phrase "one of the best universities in Russia", but with our own identity. In a situation where our readers feel fear and lack trust, "selfish marketing" is useless at best.
Secondly, a crisis is a time when you need to invest in relationships. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Now it is important to rethink our values and think about whether our own employees and students trust us. Because they are the ones who will preserve those few personal and professional international ties. The question is, what will they broadcast in their communications?
Thirdly, there is another question: how do we organize communications now with our partners and applicants? What points will we convey to them? Websites of foreign universities have long become independent digital media. Media trusted as independent, authoritative and reliable.
And it is also important to learn from the mistakes of the pandemic. In 2020, foreign universities shared their risks in communication with foreign applicants. We were silent during the 2020 admission campaign. In 2021, on the websites of most foreign universities, you saw the contribution of scientists to overcoming the consequences of the pandemic. On the main pages of our websites there were calls for vaccination and coronavirus restrictions. Today we must share risks with our foreign applicants and build the trust of our foreign colleagues.
Now when Facebook and Instagram are blocked, restrictions on Twitter and Youtube, we will need to re-design the digital path of foreign target audiences.
We still have educational portals, exhibitions, blogs, a website, messengers and email newsletters. The website will strengthen its role as the face of the university brand. But the restriction of advertising in Google can be quite a blow for us. Analytics shows that the digital path of an applicant often begins with a search query in which they formulate not the name of the university, but a way to solve their problem. This means that we need to create content about the problems of our applicants and partners, and not about ourselves.