Beyond the Brainstorm: Advancing Strategies Through Roundtables

The frank Agency Branding
Spring 2018

Wouldn’t it be helpful to have open forum discussions with your higher ed peers – allowing you to gain insights from others with similar challenges? What if you could upend the status quo and acquire unique perspectives? What if higher ed marketers could easily share their experiences and mutually benefit each other through frank interactions?

There is a way to accomplish all these goals at once, through EDU roundtable discussions.

The concept of roundtables has existed for centuries and can be a hugely beneficial way to advance strategies and brainstorm ideas. And, in a landscape crowded with schools all facing similar challenges and sending similar messages, having a fresh approach can make all the difference in meeting your marketing goals.

But what makes an effective roundtable discussion, and how can it be applied in higher education? Here we seek to answer these questions – but first, a little history.

The Origin of the Roundtable

Surprisingly, the roundtable concept was conceived by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century. He formed a sort of “club” that consisted of diverse individuals meeting for the purpose of idea-sharing and discussion of a variety of topics – from politics to business and any other prevailing thoughts of the day.

Since his time, the roundtable has continued to be used as a means of bringing together different ideas and expanding beyond the confines of the typical thought processes and methodologies. These types of groups are especially popular in automotive and franchise settings, as participants all tend to have common goals and challenges, yet unique perspectives to bring to the table.

In an open-floor dialogue where there is an overarching unity of goal, but a diversity of opinions and experiences, the discussion is much richer and far more likely to yield out-of-the-box solutions to common challenges. And this is exactly what higher education marketers need in order to break through the routine and achieve the extraordinary.

Bringing the Roundtable to Higher Ed

In a higher ed setting, the door is thrown open to people from every crosssection of the EDU landscape. Incorporating experts from different areas such as marketing, communications and enrollment and then cross-pollenating across non-profit and proprietary, public and private, liberal arts and specialized schools, creates a broad range of mindsets and opinions from which to gain perspectives and tackle the challenges besetting the higher education landscape.

The peer-to-peer relationships formed from this diverse group will open up new ways of thinking through problems. Most schools are experiencing waning enrollments, rising attrition rates and diminishing ROI – but each school will experience them differently and to varying degrees. Getting new insight from other schools’ experiences, failures and successes brings to light new processes that may be applied to your institution.

Advancing Adaptability

With the rising competition and increasing cost pressures facing higher ed, breaking out of the box and developing new solutions is an absolute must.

By stepping outside of typical circles and gaining insight from other professionals, the principle of “iron sharpens iron” is put into action, and everyone involved mutually benefits from new viewpoints and skill sets – and can come back to their own challenges ready to overcome.

The concept originated with Benjamin Franklin, but today roundtables continue to help participants refine strategies and think outside the box, gleaning knowledge from peers within the industry who bring new perspectives to the table.

Join our EDU Roundtable

Get connected. Be inspired.

At our EDU Roundtables, The frank Agency brings together small groups of individuals and experts from across the higher ed spectrum in an objective, third-party setting to facilitate specific conversations around common questions. In this kind of environment, peer-to-peer discussions become robust and productive knowledge-sharing sessions, as individuals collaborate to find solutions and share their perspectives and experience.

With crowd-sourced topics based on the most relevant, timely and important EDU questions, thoughtprovoking conversation can be held, while the closed webinar setting ensures each voice is heard equally. All that’s left for your institution is to join in and see what your peers are saying, so you can discover new ways to meet your challenges head-on.

Interested in participating in one of our upcoming EDU Roundtables?
Email us at to reserve your spot!

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