The marketing communications special interest group SIG-Marcomms anticipates new EU regulations.

A little shocked by what they heard at their Poznan meeting on 7-8 March, SIG-Marcomms participants resolved to roll up their sleeves and prepare – for the May 2018 onset of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

How many of the meeting’s 30 participants had known these regulations were coming? Less than half. How many of them were aware that their organisations had started to prepare? Around a third. And how many had begun specific actions to address the impacts on their marketing and communications activities? Only two.

Leading the group through the Regulation’s complicated terrain was Andrew Cormack, Chief Regulatory Adviser at Jisc Technologies who regularly blogs about such matters. This apparently dry topic proved a rich source of discussion as he clearly outlined the implications for national research and education networking organisations (NRENs); in particular their federated access management, incident response and clouds services, as well as their management and use of mailing lists and record keeping about consent.

Recognising that gearing up for this will mean quite some work for many NRENs, the SIG-Marcomms participants explored what could be done to prepare, what positive aspects could be found, and what possibilities there may be for community collaboration in this area.

Crisis – not if we can help it

Teams prepare ideas for the crisis event topic’s ‘post-it battle’

Back in September 2016, SIG-Marcomms had heard how one NREN dealt with a major crisis (see ‘Keep calm and carry on communicating’). At the Poznan meeting, participants got a further instalment of the story, with more lessons learned. They also heard that a community event on crisis management and communication is being planned, in line with a SIG-Marcomms proposal, and gave inputs to the organiser about individual and NREN needs.

Feedback, identity and anniversaries

Providing feedback is one of the strengths of SIG-Marcomms: within the past couple of years the meetings have included open-space mini sessions in which participants can informally ‘show off’ their successes or ask others to spontaneously offer ideas for solutions to challenges being faced. In Poznan, an issue about how to make staff from multiple locations feel part of the core organisation drew out various ideas and led to the discovery that staff email signatures can be a surprisingly thorny topic.

The core identity, vision and mission of DeIC and CSC received scrutiny, with updates about re-branding work, and GÉANT efforts to re-define key messaging prompted a rapid brainstorming. HEAnet and CESNET provided updates about significant anniversaries being celebrated this year, and the meeting host, PSNC, gave an overview of its marketing and communications activities.

SIG-Marcomms & SIG-MSP participants, with flowers kindly provided by PSNC for International Women’s Day on March 8th 2017.

Further information

The Poznan meeting included a joint meeting with SIG-MSP. The agenda and slides can be found on the SIG-Marcomms wiki, with a link to a photo gallery kindly provided by PSNC.

The next meeting of SIG-Marcomms will follow TNC17 will be a joint meeting with the Global PR Network on Friday 2 June in Linz, Austria  – registration is open.