Ben20 May 2016 16:30
Rebrand Week 1: Looking back!
First, I want to thank you all for being so patient with me this week. As with most things I’ve done this year as a Sabb, this has been an enormous learning curve, and I’d like to thank you all who have made your points calmly and clearly and given me a chance to engage in a dialogue about them – in most cases where this has happened, we’ve reached at the very least an understanding, and in many cases we’ve come to really positive agreements.
I stand by the notion that the rebranding consultation was good enough, and accept that I could in hindsight have done more to make it much better, but I believe as leader of the Union that rebranding was the best choice, especially viewed next to the many other improvements made this year. I appreciate and have truly taken to heart all the criticisms and comments about it and against me this week. Now there are things you want to know and actions you want to see… and in a very positive way, that is what this blog is for!
What did people want to know?
A lot of people had questions about the brand review – where it came from, where it’s going, whose idea it was. I’ve answered these questions on You Make Change, I’ve done a Q&A that you can watch live-streams of here and (part of) here, and I’ve talked about it on our Surge Radio show which you can listen back to here – I don’t want these to be the only places you can find out info, and I’m sure many of you don’t have 90 minutes to spare to watch the Q&A, so I’m continuing to answer questions by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on You-Make-Change, and by Facebook message on my Pres Facebook. My absolute preference is face to face – the Q&A showed this is the most effective way of having discourse about the brand review.
Please please do get in touch if you have questions, as I’ve said in the talks there’s no part of this that I want to hide. I acknowledge that the process that led to this rebrand has come under fire, including my ability to connect with students which seems to form a large part of the controversy so far, and there are a few things I want to do to tackle that, including…
Stop talking, start doing and learning
Issues like the brand are big and important, and it’s opened up a dialogue on the smaller issues too. Next week, I will hold two events on Redbrick to address two of the biggest things we’ve heard about the Union post rebrand – that lots of the small stuff is broken, and that we should better understand the ‘average student’ (not that I believe this is as simple as one ‘average’). On Thursday and Friday from 12pm, I’ll be on Redbrick with some creative campaigns to get to know our students better.
The first will directly address this comment. Come along, get a free caricature, and while you’re being drawn lets have a chat so you can tell me what the average student means to you – are you an average student? Is there only one ‘average’? What are your concerns and desires from the Union and the University?
The second will be to get your thoughts (no surveys, don’t worry) on the small things the Union gets wrong that you want it to get right – grab a slice of cake, and when you’re done leave me a message on the plate – things like ‘I don’t know who my course reps are,’ or ‘I don’t know who makes decisions’ to name just a few that came out from this week. As well as the big things, it’s the small things that effect you on a daily basis and we need to look at these as much the bigger ones too.
And here’s the brand report
A lot of people have been asking to see the outcome of the survey that led to the decision to undergo a rebrand. Here is the report that Holden’s produced for us from the survey. The complexity of the data shows why we felt the need to bring in experts! As with all surveys and data, the usefulness lies in the interpretation, and what you take from the data is the important part.
I’ll be honest, one of the hardest jobs as President is making big decisions like this based on the evidence I have. That requires judgements to be made and actions to be taken using the best advice available. If another President was sitting where I am this year, listening to the same facts and opinions, they may have made a different call, but I am happy that I made the best decision I could for the Union, and I’m still excited to see where this all goes.
Petition functionality will be available on the website under ‘You Make Change’ from Monday. It’s taken a few days to get it right, but obviously it’s vital that we do. The functionality will be live on You Make Change from Monday.
If you missed the Q&A, I discussed my views on the referendum – I’ll be honest with you, I don’t believe it’s the best thing for the Union now. If there is demand, of course we will have one – but at this stage I don’t think it will be constructive. What is clear is that the democratic processes we’ve had to work with this year are not up to ask, and that is why I’m so enthusiastic about the democracy review alongside all the other great stuff we’ve got planned for next year.