Reaching the last year of high school, students begin to submit their university applications. Among all the countless universities, which one will they choose? One student starts to surf universities’ websites and consults with teachers at the high school. One day, the student comes across the promotional video of Sookmyung Women’s University. The student then takes a close look at the Sookmyung Women’s University slogan: “Gentle power to change the world”, and she is captivated by the words. The student then dreams of successfully entering Sookmyung Women’s University.
Direction of promotion
The dictionary definition of promotion is to spread an organization’s thoughts, plans, activities, and achievements in order to widen the activities. The targets of these promotions differ according to the organization. In the case of a university, it promotes itself through its slogan and image among students and the public. Promotion is very important to a university. First, it is the way others view the school. The goal of a promotion is then effectiveness for attracting students from middle and high school students, future enrollees at the university, as well as appealing to the general public. Promotion is a means of enhancing the status of a university. Through promotional activities, each university expects to recruit future talent who will enrich the school’s value. Second, promotion increases the value of a university among its student body, both currently enrolled students and alumni. As the value of the school increases, university spirit and sense of belonging will increase among the student bodies.
Therefore, promotional activities by universities are important both internally and externally. The promotional work at Sookmyung Women's University is carried out by the Office of Communication & PR. The office manages the school's website, online promotional videos, advertising, the selling of souvenirs, and promotion methods using media. This year, the office filmed a new promotional video to mark the 113th anniversary of the university, had the Prime Center featured in an episode of SBS’s <Running Man>, and hosted an ad idea festival to hear the voices of Sookmyungians. The office also manages leadership groups such as Sookmyung Communicator and Sookmyung Student Ambassadors. The Sookmyung Communicator manages school events and posts articles on the school’s website that introduce influential schoolmates, clubs, and alumni. Sookmyung Student Ambassadors is the official school ambassador club at Sookmyung, and it is in charge of promoting the school by giving campus tours or color guard and doing foreign volunteer work. Sookmyung is promoted through those associations operating within the Office of Communication & PR.
How Sookmyungians think of Sookmyung
Sookmyung Women’s University promotes itself and centers on its influential power. From October 13 to November 30, SMT conducted a survey to listen to Sookmyungians’ thoughts on the current promotional activities of the school. Among the 90 people who participated in the survey, 67.8% (61 of 90) said they first learned about Sookmyung in middle or high school. The admissions process of Sookmyung was mostly learned, however, from school teachers or academic teachers. In other words, before entering Sookmyung, students learned more about Sookmyung via individuals and not promotional activities conducted by Sookmyung. Nevertheless, 69 out of the 90 respondents said they have seen the promotional video. The second most viewed promotional method by participants was the school promotional brochure, which was followed by textbooks featured in the EBS Special Lecture for CSAT, which is a workbook for students preparing CSAT. These findings suggest that students generally learn about Sookmyung in high school. The survey also asked about promotional activities on social media platforms. In the survey, 37.7% and 21.7% of respondents said they watched official school social media and posts of Sookmyungians’ each social media. One Sookmyungian wrote about the importance of publicity through media platforms. She said, "The creation of a thriving YouTube channel like "YonKo TV," which Yonsei and Korea University operate, could have a huge positive promotional effect.” As media becomes important publicity means, Sookmyungians pointed out the importance.
Findings showed most respondents have been exposed to at least one type of promotional activities by Sookmyung Women’s University. Among them, three were prominent. The first is the emphasis on input and output. Many students said Sookmyung should capitalize on the school's input and output more. One Sookmyungian said, “I think Sookmyung is undervalued because its output, such as employment rate, is not well-publicized. By promoting the hiring rate and careers of graduate students, high school students would be more motivated to choose Sookmyung.” The second is the low visitation rate of the PR team to high schools. Less than 20% of Sookmyungians who participated in this survey said that the PR team of Sookmyung visited their high school. One Sookmyungian said, “I graduated from a high school in the countryside. Everyone perceives Sookmyung to be a good university, but no one has any concrete information about it. School promotional visits to high school will guarantee talented students come to Sookmyung. Personally, after a Student Ambassadors club member visited my school, more students considered applying for Sookmyung Women’s University.” The third is the need to increase opportunities to visit Sookmyung. Currently, Sookmyung hosts high school student events such as the Open Campus, Campus Tour, and Sookmyung Girls’ High School Literary Awards. However, more is needed, especially the promotion of Sookmyung’s College of Fine Arts.. One Sookmyungian said, “An art college’s value increases through practical competitions and contests. These events are opportunities to learn about Sookmyung’s testing approaches, so many students try to participate in events at universities that host contests.” To sum up, Sookmyungians think that bettering public relations is important for a variety of reasons.
Spreading the word about SOOKMYUNG
Sookmyung Women’s University has always attempted to advertise Sookmyung widely. Yet, despite its continuous efforts, more than half of the survey respondents (57 of 90) said Sookmyung was not actively promoting itself. Some respondents claimed that they had never heard of Sookmyung until they did a search on universities in high school, and others said they could not recall anything about the promotional materials even though they had claimed to have viewed them. In addition, some students pointed out the low frequency of and limited methods of publicity materials. Among many reasons, respondents did not feel it was being carried out actively. They said the materials did not properly demonstrate or support Sookmyung’s capability. Respondents also said Sookmyung they know is much more magnificent than the one on the publicity materials. Similar to the survey results, student comments said better promotional materials are needed. Kim Miri, Department of Consumer Economics ’19, said, “I think Sookmyung does a poor job of promoting itself because it is unfamiliar to many people compared to other universities. I am so proud of Sookmyung, and I know Sookmyung is an excellent school. However, I feel many people in society do not know much about Sookmyung nor about its value. I hope the school modifies its publicity materials to better show the greatness of Sookmyung to others.” Kim pointed out the unfamiliarity of Sookmyung compared to other universities, and she emphasized the need for more active publicity so that Sookmyung’s value is shown to others.
While about half of the survey respondents said Sookmyung was not doing enough to promote itself, more than half of the respondents noticed Sookmyung needs much more exertion to promote itself for publicity. 74.4% (67 of 90) of respondents said the school should work harder to promote the school. In other words, over half of respondents want the school to become more aggressive in its promotional activities even though the majority believes the school is actively trying to promote itself. This finding suggests that though promotion work is active, students want the school to advertise more, as much as possible. Thinking of the fact that most students want the school to do more promotion, positive results are expected when Sookmyung promotes itself to more people more actively. When surveyed the types of promotional activities students want, the most would like the school to endorse the employment rate of graduates (66.7% or 60 of 90 respondents). The second was Sookmyung’s slogan ‘Gentle power to change the world’ (56.7% or 51 of 90 respondents), and the third was an effective curricular system such as double majoring and interdisciplinary majors (53.3% or 48 of 90 respondents). Other suggestions were focusing on Sookmyung’s mascot Noonsong, superb alumnae, and various guilds. Sookmyungians are proud of Sookmyung’s diverse aspects. Sookmyungians want Sookmyung to promote more effectively in various ways which supplement preexisting materials so that a positive synergy effect can occur.
For a better Sookmyung
Most Sookmyungians have had contact with a Sookmyung advertisement. However, regardless of viewing or learning about Sookmyung promotional activities via word of mouth, students want Sookmyung to revise and develop better advertising. Overall, students are expressing their pride in ‘Sookmyung’. By putting more effort into its promotion, more people will know about Sookmyung and its value. Then, Sookmyung and Sookmyungians will shine brilliantly not only on the inside of Sookmyung but also on the outside of Sookmyung. For a brighter future, and to attract stronger talent, Sookmyung needs to promote its gentle power to change the world.
Kim Lee Hyunmin / Reporter
Kwak Lee Shinyoung / Reporter