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Karen Smalley

Head of Marketing & Campaigns, University of Reading

A strategic marketing specialist, Karen has taken her broad experience in campaign delivery and brand strategy as Head of Marketing at the Department of Education, from Whitehall to Berkshire.

Her role at the University of Reading began with the hefty brief of creating a visual identity to grow into a thriving global brand. Within the first year Karen had led the creation of the University’s award-winning brand, LIMITLESS.

Coupled with the brand brief, Karen led the development and launch of the University’s first integrated above-the-line national advertising campaign, now in its fourth year. The campaign became the first external articulation of the new visual identity and contributed to an increase in undergraduate applications of over 20% against the backdrop of declining applications across the sector.

Karen has a number of industry awards under her belt for campaigns, brand and strategy, and recently at The HEIST Awards the University of Reading scooped gold for the Best Student Recruitment Campaign.

The focus now moves away from doing things better and doing better things, to looking for innovative and strategic new ways to grow the University of Reading brand, continuing to enhance reputation and perception; and keeping the communication fresh and relevant in an increasingly savvy youth-focussed market.