This week we chat with John Boyle about the success about the PwC Corporate Alumni network.
Last week, we explored the value that a corporate alumni network can provide for business development, brand ambassadorship, recruitment, referrals and company culture. Large, multi-national companies like Citigroup are leveraging their alumni networks with dedicated staff, regional events and targeted newsletters.
But none of this happens overnight. It can take upwards of five years for a strong alumni community to form, though the benefits can start being reaped immediately through referrals, boomerang employees and brand ambassadors.
John Boyle, Director of Business Development and Marketing at PwC Ireland, tells us about the essence of a successful corporate alumni program. PwC should know; their PwC Corporate Alumni Network has been around for over thirty years.
John stressed the importance of knowing your audience and constantly seeking feedback, so that you can engage your alumni the way they want to be engaged. He also cited the need for clear objectives and measures of success for your program. If done right, the alumni community becomes a “business development and advocacy vehicle, assists with recruitment efforts, provides a sounding board for new propositions and service offerings, and helps us stay in touch, collect insights, learn from others, and win business.”
But it’s not a one-way street. PwC produces emails, eZines, newsletters, social media content and live events for its alumni. Says John, “Our overall goal was to promote and foster an interactive and engaged community/network of alumni in the interests of developing and strengthening long term business relationships.” The alumni network is now in its 33rd year.
John believes that the full potential of these networks has not yet been reached, however. While “alumni networks have generally evolved further in recent years with the growth of social media platforms, segmentation and alumni engagement analytics,” he says, “they are also becoming increasingly effective as funding vehicles for a variety of interests (e.g., scholarships and education, charitable causes, CSR programs, start-up initiatives, research & development etc.).”
Stay tuned as we explore those opportunities further in a future blog post!