Marketing and Communications Conference – 12 September 2019 Summary

CDN’s 2019 Marketing and Communications Conference

#MarketingCDN @ColDevNet

‘Communications is the heart and soul of every organisation’ was the key take-away at this year’s CDN Marketing and Communications Conference at Stirling Court Hotel. The one-day event in Stirling attracted 115 delegates from across Scotland’s college sector, from as far as Stornoway, with a representative from Lews Castle College UHI, to Inverness College UHI, as well as those closer by, including marketing and communications teams from Edinburgh College and Forth Valley College.

Attendees heard from PR Expert Marjorie Calder, Director of Ocean-Blue Consulting, who focused on the impact that digital is having in today’s marketing and PR landscape. She reminded the audience that although technology isn’t everything, it is very important when it comes to sharing key messages. Marjorie has recently completed a seven-month contract with the Student Loans Company as their Head of Communications.


Rob Catterson, Brand Manager of Brand Scotland, is a member of the team behind the Scotland Is Now Movement, which tells the story of Scotland to the world. The #ScotlandIsNow campaign has been extremely successful, especially on social media, inspiring many to tweet using the ScotlandIsNow hashtag. Their ‘Scotland Is Open’ video is their best performing video to date, reaching 80 million people around the world. ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’, Rob said, emphasising the impact of what can be achieved when people and organisations work together. He added: ‘The emotional resonance is hugely important to the way we communicate and tell stories.’

Delegates also took part in workshops throughout the day. Andrew Pyke, Insight Manager at Scottish Football Association, spoke about the #OurGirlsOurGame campaign, and the research that went into developing the campaign which centres around women’s football. He spoke about the four key elements of the campaign – bright and eye-catching posters, an online toolkit, other marketing collateral and social media. His top tip? ‘Use creativity to make your budget go further!’


Young Scot’s ‘How To Engage The School Audience’ workshop was really popular. Content Editor Kandice Wood and Strategic Partnerships Manager Hilary Kidd shared key information about how to communicate with Generation Z. ‘Generation Z is not your typical young person,’ Hilary said. ‘They are a device-first generation, they watch videos and socialise on younger channels like Snapchat, TikTok and Whisper. They are a tough audience to crack.’

Alan Stevenson from Digital Biz also held a workshop about the importance of data. He spoke about content and design, highlighting the importance of providing easy to navigate links to background information online.

The day ended with a thought-provoking panel discussion considering the topic: Colleges Of The Future. Edinburgh College’s Principal Audrey Cumberford argued that the current model is not fit for purpose. ‘We are used to change as colleges have always evolved’, she said, adding: ‘the speed of change we are experiencing is exponential. We really need to start thinking about what the college of the future looks like.’ She told the audience that a commission has been set up to look at what colleges of the future will look like and that a report of recommendations should be ready by spring 2020. Will McLeish, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Colleges Scotland said: ‘We are developing a national, sector-wide approach to showcase the terrific work going on in the sector.’ John Robertson, Director of Corporate Affairs at Skills Development Scotland said: ‘I see a very bright future for colleges!’

A special thanks to Jim Kelly, Deputy Managing Director of Story UK for being a fantastic MC for the day.


Expert Advice From The Speakers…

‘Know what your brand is. Find ways that people can relate to your brand, so they will recognise your brand and understand it.’

(Marjorie Calder, Ocean-Blue Consulting)

‘Collaborate when you can.’

(Rob Catterson, Brand Scotland)

‘Content is King!’

(Andrew Pyke, Insight Manager, Scottish Football Association)

‘What might be to young for millennials, is too old for Generation Z.’

(Hilary Kidd, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Young Scot)

‘If you’re clear about your motives, young people tend to trust you more.’

(Kandice Wood, Content Editor, Young Scot)

‘When designing content, consider how the user will view the information.’

(Alan Stevenson, Digital Biz)

View the presentations here.

  • Share This Story