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Branding a university: adding real value or smoke and mirrors?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

  • Chris Chapleo
In recent years UK higher education institutions (HEIs) have increasingly sought to differentiate from one another, often utilising the practice and techniques of branding and, controversially, expending considerable sums in doing so. The effectiveness of branding activity in UK higher education (HE) has traditionally received limited scrutiny among academics and there is little evidence of much debate on both the case for and against branding activity, and the applicability of various approaches. This paper seeks to take initial steps to remedy that situation, examining the rationale for branding as part of the „marketisation‟ of UK higher education. This was undertaken through qualitative research among UK university management. Conclusions were that the rationale for much current UK HE branding activity varied greatly. Although the role of branding as part of the marketisation of UK higher education is contentious, and simple application of commercial techniques may be difficult, to view it simply in these terms ignores a number of benefits that an understanding of brand can offer in defining and communicating the essence of the institution. If branding techniques are applied in a manner that is sensitive to the particular qualities of higher education it can support rather than be detrimental to the varied and complex role of universities. To do this, however, requires a specific approach to branding that is seemingly only partially embraced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe marketisation of higher education and student as consumer
EditorsM. Molesworth, R. Scullion, E. Nixon
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780415584456
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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