Regardless of your personal sentiments regarding Jeff Bezos, the man knows how to build a brand. He put it succinctly when he said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

For much of the year, educators—and certainly university marketers and enrollment managers—haven’t been sharing walls with students.

With us out of the room, what are they saying? And how will you know?

It’s incredibly important to keep a read on student opinion.

In the short term, their insight gives guidance on how to pivot when needed, what strengths to tout, and what weakness to remedy.

But long term, a culture that thrives on understanding student opinion leads the way to strong retention rates and more seamless enrollment.

When students tell us who we are, they’re helpful. When students tell others who we are, they’re more believable than we’ll ever be.

Their positive stories hold the key to doors we can’t open and their negative stories could seal doors we’d never want shut.

Toward this end, we’ve increasingly encouraged our client-partners to utilize student surveys and call campaigns.

They’re convenient, quick to put together, and easy to take. Through them, our schools have gauged the health of their brands through student perception.

They’ve also seen important data for the next cycle, indicating plans for current students’ return to campus, factored by distance from home, financial concerns, and health issues.

As your school approaches the close of the semester and begins a new chapter, its identity must be sure. It’s time to find out what’s said when you’re out of the room.