15 October 2015 at 9:00 am

Hawke’s Bay groups collaborate for growth

Education Hawke’s Bay has a goal of doubling the value of international students to the region by 2025.

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The group of education providers and partner agencies are making sure their “shop front” is as attractive and welcoming as possible. E-News caught up with Education Hawke’s Bay Business Development Manager, Steph Kennard, on the approach.  

Who makes up Education Hawke’s Bay?

Education Hawke’s Bay is a voluntary member organisation made up of local government, schools, our ITP and PTEs.  We were formed approximately two years ago with the common goal of doubling the value of international students to the region by 2025.   

What was the motivation behind the re-brand and new website?

 We wanted to create an identity for Education Hawke’s Bay that served multiple purposes, with a brand that would give our members a sense of belonging. We wanted to showcase Hawke’s Bay as a study destination at the same time as promoting the special characteristics of each education provider. By developing a website, and removing the dependence upon printed brochures, we have reduced our overall costs. 

Based on this brief, we developed a new brand called ‘Learning Hawke’s Bay’ and new website www.learninghawkesbay.nz. The use of the word ‘Learning’ represents both the study and leisure experience – students come here to study in a classroom, but they will also gain experience – learn – outside of it, through our culture and local tourism. 

Our logo operates on several levels – acting as a pointer to direct the viewer, resembling an open book and also an open laptop. This works well with our ‘Learning’ brand.

The website works as a stand-alone site, but can also be incorporated within individual members’ marketing collateral. Our website uses large format imagery to “paint a picture” of Hawke’s Bay as pictures require little, or no, translation! These images have been chosen to appeal to both students and parents alike, and regardless of country of origin. 

Our website ensures we can respond quickly to queries and can be updated within moments.  

What part does the rebrand and new website play in your overall strategy?

The website and brand are an integral component of our strategy and give us the tools to promote Hawke’s Bay to students overseas. Building the website has meant we can work more smartly on our international promotions. The next steps are to incorporate a social media presence and build on our communication plan.  

Are there any particular successes or learnings you’d like to share from the rebranding exercise?

It was important to ensure that our design, including colour and brand, represented our members and was functional. We also required the website to be built with an easy content management system so that we could make changes quickly in-house, without incurring extra costs.  The framework also needed to be flexible enough to enable us to develop the website and make additions to pages without the need for a full re-design.  

You recently took part in a regional cluster pilot with Hastings District Council. How has this gone?

The Agent tour was our first real taste of regional clustering in practice. It certainly had its challenges as each member had a different view of which country we should be targeting. In the end we settled on Japan, which meant that not all members participated.

The other project in the pilot, is to develop a revenue monitoring framework. This is still in the planning, as it requires data which the Education Hawke’s Bay team can’t yet access. Our stakeholders are keen to know just what revenue is generated by our international students, so we want to ensure accuracy.  

What part has ENZ’s Regional Partnership Programme played in the development and operationalisation of your strategy?

The support and advice from the ENZ Business Development team has been hugely appreciated, as it can be quite isolating being based in a region and trying to please each of the members. Of course, the financial support has enabled us to employ someone to help us deliver on our regional strategic goals for growth.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Our region has just taken part in a poll which proposed that all five councils amalgamate. The proposal was turned down by the community. Although this has been challenging for our region in general terms, the regional education cluster we have established is a great example of how collaboration among members from both Hastings and Napier can work!

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