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A marketing strategy for a college merger

The Chichester College Group was formed through the merger of Chichester College and Central Sussex College, creating the largest College Group in Sussex, providing high-quality learning opportunities for 25,000 students.

Having worked with Chichester College for many years - including delivering an award-winning website for them - we were approached as consultants on all aspects of marketing for the merger.
We began by developing a strategy that dealt with the marketing communications around the merger, including the approach when communicating with stakeholder groups over what was potentially a sensitive issue. While our strategy dealt with immediate issues surrounding the merger, we also had a hand in developing a five-year vision for the college.
The approach included drafting a new mission and values statements and, working with the in-house marketing team, we helped augment a tactical marketing plan. Part of our work was to develop brand guidelines across the group that gave instructions on how each brand would work together while maintaining its individual identity. We delivered a merger website to inform stakeholders about the changes and highlight important information people affected would need to know, whether students, staff or local businesses.
We then produced a group website, which went live when the merger became official. This provided information on the group, the combined scale of students educated there, as well as highlighting the wide-ranging courses available across each of the colleges and the excellent facilities.
We also managed PR for the merger, ensuring key messages were pushed out, allowing us to manage the media while also making sure the college was prepared for any potential negative reaction. Fortunately, though, the merger was well-received by the vast majority. The client was delighted with our work on what was a major change to those affected. The merger went better than expected with the majority of people affected pleased about the change and how it was handled.

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