The market for higher education is becoming increasingly competitive now. Many of the universities are focusing more on evaluating their prestige and reputation as a brand amongst the prospective students and companies as the levels of global competition is going up. The top universities are now aiming towards improving their international performance and standing. There are more changes which reflects volatility in the educational sector worldwide. There’s also an increasing competition from the other emerging universities in BRIC nations such as from Brazil, Russia, and China.
The top universities must remain aware of how they are representing and communicating about their educational offerings to differentiate from the other universities. These factors are incredibly important for the outward excellence and reputation, creating a perception of the university. It is crucial to define the image, reputation, and brand. The image creation is being done with creating immediate impressions which should resonate with the university. This is important for creating the individual’s feelings, ideas and beliefs about the university.
Reputation is directed with the experience of the individual with the university or information obtained through any medium of communication. Lastly, the brand summarizes how it is like to be perceived by the prospective students, employers, stakeholders and the general public. The brand also provides a sense of vision, values, and culture to the students and the employers as well. In order to enhance its reputation, the university must first evaluate its present image, goals and how these align with the brand. Marketing materials, designing the logo and other aspects of the university image has to be evaluated. These are just the tip of the iceberg actually! How well the university performs is the result of successful marketing and effective changes in the activities.
Having a well-established brand statement can result in bringing a strong sense of focus to the university. Developing the statement needs the university to do a SWOT analysis which means evaluation their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for improving their strategies over time. Branding is mean to help the university move from its mission to its vision by presenting a powerful strategy to excel. The positioning is also an important element of the marketing.
The university has to determine how to communicate about their courses and offerings to their target student group based on their needs, pressures and how to carefully craft their key messages. This needs a solid understanding of the present market scenario and the students’ needs so that the key messages are being spread with the right kind of communication channels or mediums.
Components that influence the positioning are the four Ps of marketing and that means – product (academic courses or services), price (tuition fees and financial aid), and place (university size, class size and student to faculty ratio). The universities can use each of these concepts to compare with the other universities. After doing an evaluation of these areas, the university can create their own positioning statement to implement those changes for long-term success.