Ivana Butoracová Šindleryová
The transformation of the Slovak economy and the market environment inevitably affected the area of education, the period of the current millennium is defined by numerous changes related to various external and internal factors (European education policy, change of the internal structure of Slovak education and national priorities in the field of education and learning society, transformation of classical management and organizational structures into the modern strategic management based on experience and innovation, application of the theoretical bases of various science disciplines to the management of educational institutions, etc.). The entry of the private sector into the education market after the 1989 breakthrough is also accompanied, among other things, by the growth in demands for public school management in terms of its stabilization and competitiveness in an open and dynamically developing market. The education market has become a market of perspective and competition, but especially seems to be opened to new possibilities, which in the course of the last decade has shown a need for its stabilization because of the fragmentation of the institutions active on the market. Educational institutions strictly place emphasis on building their own brand, identity and culture in order to stabilize their market position in the strong competition and, on the other hand, also to provide an active and seeking consumer some space for his or her self-realization. The presented monograph deals with the content and structure of the changes in the marketing management of educational institutions arising from the view on the management of the public schools for the last fifteen years. The authors put the main emphasis on the necessary implementation of modern marketing and especially communication strategies into the whole complex of school management. The monograph is divided into six key chapters, creating a logically integrated concept of the importance of implementing marketing principles and theories in educational institutions in the Slovak Republic with a primary focus on higher education institutions, i.e. the universities. Authors of the publication, doc. Ing. Ľudmila Čábyová, PhD. and Mgr. Jakub Ptačin, PhD. have long been interested in exploring the defined area and are actively working on the university campus of the Faculty of Mass Media Communications, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava. It is clear – according to the way of the writing (both content and form) – that the authors apply their findings on a long-term basis not only in the theoretical level of research but also in the practical implementation and evaluation of feedback in the praxis of the Slovak higher education environment. The reviewers of the publication are prof. Ing. Anna Zaušková, PhD. and doc. Mgr. Zbigniew Wider, PhD., both well known experts to the public from the area of marketing and communication. Following the introductory part of the publication, the authors approached the research of the literature in order to demonstrate the consistency of the opinions of a wide range of authors on the importance of marketing implementation to the management of universities in the Slovak market environment, with the aim of building an “entrepreneurial” philosophy based on the differences and specifications of the offer. The basic emphasis is put on designing an easily identifiable identities and brands. At present, digital media and the emergence of extremely fast social networking seem to be the trend set for the last decade. Therefore, the communication with both potential and existing target group is an indispensable aspect of any business, not ignoring the education market. The way to the customer becomes available, targeted, cost-less and really easy to perform. It is a paradox that the results of the surveys presented by the authors of the publication show that there are still faculties in the Slovak university market that do not have their own websites, almost half of respondents claim not to be aware of the importance of marketing communication as such, they do not use social networks and do not target audiences through the online media communication, in fact most of respondents do not use online chat at all. When we look more specifically at the problem of building a visual identity of higher education institutions, we find positive examples only abroad. From my point of view, the importance of this publication is undeniable. The education institutions must understand and admit the fact that the appropriately chosen communication and the identity of the educational institution is able to solve the common problems of many faculties in Slovakia. Even the public higher education sector needs to realize that marketing communication, social media and design is no longer a priority of the private sector. The authors present the theme of corporate identity as well as identities of educational institutions in the Slovak Republic in chapters 3.1 and 3.2. On the basis of the theoretical domain, the authors approach to the comparison of two key elements influencing the brand building process: the specificity of the university market environment of Slovakia in comparison with foreign countries models as well as the specificity of the market environment as such in comparison with the environment of higher education institutions. This part of the monograph is a basal introduction to the subject of the problem, identifying the primary barriers, limits or shortcomings that trigger the situation described above. Based on the analytical part of the publication, there are two researches performed – the first one focusing on perceiving the identity of a college of high school students, i.e. the target group of the universities, the other one focused on the perception of the importance of identity by designers. The second part of the research brings a lot of ideas and recommendations on how to develop a school identity. The chapters 4 and 5 present a kind of practical guideline for the readers, this part of the monograph might be defined as a key to understanding the chapter 6 “Visual Identity in Practice – Design School”. The authors present a realistic presentation and definition of possible procedures with a demonstration of the full spectrum of use of individual marketing tools in praxis. The authors have created a template that respects the specific features of the universities (educational institutions), which enables the conceptual use of the described model guideline to any Slovak university, even if it does not have funds for promotion or does not have marketing management experience. A skilled student, a pedagogue and, in particular, a taste and a well-chosen communication strategy are enough to handle the basic design building process. The advantage of the proposal presented in the last chapter is that it is easily adaptable to the needs of the educational institutions. There is much to learn in this publication for both the public and the expert society. Although the model is considered in a general way, not a case-study specific modeling at a selected educational institution, the monograph brings a great benefit to the praxis of higher education institutions.