When I grow up, I’ll work in the education sector…
Blog - Oct 09, 2019
Earlier this year, I got many new tasks, including development of our – internally dubbed – Education Sector. Just like the cat from Breakfast at Tiffany’s simply called Cat, we named our education – “education”.
Completely unaware of all opportunities. Just like Audrey Hepburn was unaware of what Cat meant to her.
Let’s go back to my definitely challenging task.
My predecessors did quite a good job: they developed the LSPR (London School of Public Relations) brand, created an entire range of training courses, designed some new schools. A different challenge was ahead of me: further development of the Represent System’s education brand at the regional level.
I have no guidelines and directions and I had no readymade solutions, but I can share with you how we got to three schools in three cities of the region on the same day last Saturday in only eight months.
Firstly, education had to get a name, namely to be branded. Thus the Knowledge Academy was born.
Secondly, we have offices in five cities of the region, but we held educational programs in Belgrade only. So we analysed the markets, consulted clients from the local offices about what would be most beneficial for them and a few months later – LSPR returned to Sarajevo and Skopje, the Content Academy was set simultaneously in Sarajevo and Belgrade.
Thirdly, I took over the “beheaded” sector (one colleague was on a maternity leave, the other one got a new job) – so we engaged Nenad Antić as the HR manager, realising that his calmness, meticulousness and focus might vastly contribute to the development of the education sector as well. He bravely took on the double challenge and the rest is history.
To be honest, there was another dilemma on the table: What is it that we are good at other than LSPR? Research, study, ask – and people say it’s public appearance. Huh, wait a second – many people, such as actors and journalists, are active in that area. Many are highly professional in what they do. We used to have a seminar on presentation skills and public appearance, but it was no longer enough in our market.
What’s the major issue when it comes to public appearance? A virtually unanimous answer is: fear. So we added: preparation, preparation, exercise, exercise. We engaged a psychologist, a professor at the Faculty of Drama Arts (who is also a popular actor), our renowned Paralympic to talk about focus. And the result: the strongest commendations from attendants ever.
And the biggest challenge – the Content Academy. Represent Communications is perceived in the market as a PR agency, that’s where we are masters, experts and all that. In recent years, we’ve invested in the development of The Content Studio, specialised in digital marketing, content marketing and production. However, since we have built the PR brand for 15 years only, we don’t expect to be immediately recognised as a content agency. We are aware of that and we invest, work hard, learn, grow. Nevertheless, when we started promoting the Content Academy, we encountered a real challenge – an amazing number of schools, courses and trainings for SEO, Facebook, Instagram, online reputation. Price range: from 20, to 60, to 100, to 300 euros. Our Content Academy is a way more expensive.
A dilemma was whether to compete in regard to price only?
No. Courses for 100, 200 euros are not our niche. It doesn’t mean that the competition does not offer high-quality programs at those prices, on the contrary. However, to put it simply, our business model is based on internationally certified schools that span over five or more weeks, with regional lecturers and internationally rewarded speakers, recognised in their professional areas as top-notch experts. On the other hand, our groups are for up to ten attendants, because that number guarantees quality and dedication, so it’s clear that we don’t rely on massiveness.
So we set off. Thus our Knowledge Academy entered an exciting autumn, with six schools in four countries of the region in the autumn and the winter. Immensely grateful to our attendants, we are honoured to have expanded our curriculum with new lecturers and eager for new impressions from one Saturday to another.
We are strongly motivated by commendations, while equally appreciating criticism as well. We’re not perfect and we mustn’t be vane.
And we firmly believe that we can turn our long-standing experience, with all ups and downs, into high-quality educational programs in the area of communications (and other areas, if neededJ).