Branding Educational Services

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Branding Educational Services through Innovation

Abstract

The privatization of educational services in our country have led to a mushrooming growth of educational institutions at primary, secondary and higher educational levels. There is thus a cut throat competition amongst various institutions lying around in the same vicinity. It is a strong endeavor on the part of these institutions to customize and differentiate their services. The processes of creatively and innovatively branding the intangibles have begun. The paper tries to identify the different factors which the institutions highlight upon to lure their future customers. It also attempts to throw light on prospects and utilities of branding these educational services.

1. Introduction

Competition among schools for the best students, faculty, staff and donors is fiercer than ever before. At the same time private funding continues to decrease while the market in many parts of the world for secondary students is shrinking. To address these issues, many schools have concentrated on external communications solutions like redesigning their logos, creating taglines and developing advertising campaigns. A growing number of schools are now realizing the need to build their identities through cultural change, like those in the corporate world. Like other industries before them, brand development in higher education derives from the creation of corporate identity standards. Following this strategy, schools integrated their marketing communications. Today, they are frantically trying to determine how best to compete in the noisy marketplace of higher education. They’re redesigning logos, coming up with catchy taglines and spending a fortune on advertising. German brand strategist Klaus Schmidt (2002) calls this “superficial tinkering.” Schmidt also encourages organizations like schools to think holistically by including the entire organization in the brand building process. Research shows that unless advertising is cause-related, teens can deem it gimmicky and not respond. Skeptics exist within these entities as well, but dichotomy becomes dialogue when stakeholders realize a contemporary branding approach is not just about logos, taglines and advertising, but about them. Brand skeptics turn into brand champions when branding is about identity building from the inside-out and when it includes them in the process. This approach can resonate with faculty and prospective students because it demonstrates the school’s commitment to communicating its true essence, core values and academic reputation, rather than simply attempting to recruit more students. Colleges and universities can be successful in developing a distinct school brand.

2. Growth of Indian business education

Recently, with the bursting of clicks as well as ethics bubbles, the credibility the business education has taken a beating. The rapid growth and proliferation of business schools, has led to the emergence of some schools having dubious quality – and business education has come under scrutiny. The Indian government has liberalized the business education market over the 1990s, resulting in a rapid growth of business schools offering programs at both undergraduate as well as graduate levels. Indian business schools have sought to replicate the US-based organizational, pedagogical, curricula, industry-interface, and academic research models, but are struggling to introduce several adaptations because of the differences in the work culture system. The growth of business education has gone hand-in-hand with numerous innovations in pedagogical models, course content and curricula, the role of research and the relationship with government and industry. In response, business schools diversified their student bodies in terms of both discipline and demographic backgrounds, and pushed for more team-oriented programs backed by preparation in the foundations of international business, information...
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