Nieuws - 27 mei 2010

Wageningen UR must study marketing

Terms like 'marketing' and 'reputation management' were being bandied about during the strategy meeting with corporate staff and facilities and services at the head office. These themes were considered to be the ones that would help Wageningen UR to attract money.

Wageningen UR must get itself on the map as a partner people want to work with. National and international clients alike. Because then we can make money. But how? The problem could be the university's profile as an agricultural and biological university, commented one of those present. The loyalty of alumni is certainly not the problem. They stand firmly behind Wageningen, wherever they are in the world, said someone else. Ex-students know what Wageningen stands for. But it still seems to have a bit of an idealistic hippy image, secretly even within Wageningen UR.

BP disaster
For instance: where was Wageningen UR during the BP disaster? Did Wageningen offer its products to the US? A missed chance, people thought. They were in agreement that Wageningen UR possesses much valuable expertise, and that it simply does not make optimal use of it. It seems as though Wageningen is good at preserving the status quo, but is scared of change.
The prestigious American institute MIT was cited as an example of a place that is good at marketing knowledge. And marketing is an underrated skill, was one comment. That must change. Student recruitment used to be almost a dirty word, but now it is an integral part of Wageningen UR policy.

Joining in societal debates is another way in which Wageningen UR could raise its profile. Chairperson Herman Eijsackers said the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food (LNV) thought that Wageningen should speak out more on social issues, and have an open attitude to society. Wageningen should want to enter into debate and should have the courage to do so too.