Chapter 9: Differentiating, positioning and branding the university
Three distinct market forces, student diversity, cost pressure, and technological change are converging, compelling many universities to not just closely re-examine their role in society, but to animate how they make strategic investment decisions in support of the institution’s efforts to develop a distinctive position in the global higher education market place. Achieving a distinctive position can help the institution develop a recognized, truly valuable brand value proposition that defines the university’s role and contribution to society and the stakeholders it serves. We examine the role of differentiation for universities through the lens of a brand strategy framework comprised of four dimensions: Destiny, Distinction, Culture, Experiences. We also discuss the benefits to developing a university ‘brand touchpoints’ map and a customer journey map, with the student as customer as the focal point, but an obvious application to other stakeholders is apparent as well, providing a highly useful set of tools planners can use to fine tune their respective institution’s strategic plans and positions over time.
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