Students’ awareness of branding

Duncan Stephen
Friday 5 December 2014

Overseas PhD students rely on rankings to select a university

This article about how PhD students select universities contains some interesting findings about the use of websites and the perception of the brand.

The report, aimed primarily at university communications and marketing staff, notes that the websites are “much easier to influence by good communications and marketing than rankings”.

However, the study also expresses surprise that most students were unable to articulate their selected university’s “brand personality”.

“Most students went silent [when asked to do so], or told us this was ‘very difficult’. Those who attempted an answer discussed rankings or rather generic characteristics like friendliness, or told us the university sold branded caps and T-shirts…Is this because [the students] are too young [to understand brand personality], that it doesn’t matter, or that they simply haven’t been told in an effective way what it is?”

Students were also unable to explain what their university did to market itself, and did not recognise campaigns “even when they were sitting a few feet away from a university brand banner across a street”.

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