Colleges and universities are now plunging themselves into practices like branding as a mechanism for combating decreasing government funds and increasing engagement of alumni and potential donors. This article explores whether brand identification elicited brand-supportive behaviors from university alumni. Using a web-based instrument, the researchers surveyed alumni of a mid-sized state-run university in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States to see if identification affected promotional behaviors like word-of-mouth support, harboring a competitive attitude towards out groups, and seeking contact with the university website and social media avenues. The study highlighted that brand identification and interpretation of the university brand, expressed in distinctiveness and attractiveness, positively influenced alumni supportive behaviors. This study expands on the understanding of identification as it relates to alumni behaviors that ultimately support the university brand. This research offers support for the importance and value of brand management in higher education.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ahearne, M., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Gruen, T. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of customer-company identification: expanding the role of relationship marketing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(3), 574–585.
Alves, H., & Raposo, M. (2007). Conceptual model of student satisfaction in higher education. Total Quality Management, 18(5), 571–588.
Alves, H., & Raposo, M. (2009). The measurement of the construct satisfaction in higher education. The Service Industries Journal, 29(2), 203–218.
Anctil, E. J. (2008). Recommendations for selling higher education. ASHE Higher Education Report, 34(2), 89–98.
Arnett, D. B., German, S. D., & Hunt, S. D. (2003). The identity salience model of relationship marketing success: the case of nonprofit marketing. Journal of Marketing, 67, 89–105.
Ashforth, B. E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 20–39.
Ashforth, B. E., Harrison, S. H., & Corley, K. G. (2008). Identification in organizations: an examination of four fundamental questions. Journal of Management, 34(3), 325–374.
Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2003). Consumer-company identification: a framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of Marketing, 67, 77–88.
Bhattacharya, C. B., Rao, H., & Glynn, M. A. (1995). Understanding the bond of identification: an investigation of its correlates among art museum members. Journal of Marketing, 59(4), 46–57.
Boenigk, S., & Helmig, B. (2013). Why donors donate? examining the effects of organizational identification and identity salience on the relationships among satisfaction, loyalty, and donation behavior. Journal of Service Research, 16(4), 533–548.
Bunzel, D. L. (2007). Universities sell their brands. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 16(2), 152–153.
Chapleo, C. (2011). Exploring rationales for branding a university: should we be seeking to measure branding in UK universities? Journal of Brand Management, 18, 411–422.
Cialdini, R. B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M. R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L. R. (1976). Basking in reflected glory: three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366–375.
Curtis, T., Abratt, R., & Minor, W. (2009). Corporate brand management in higher education: the case of ERAU. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 18(6), 404–413.
Donavan, D. T., Janda, S., & Suh, J. (2006). Environmental influences in corporate brand identification and outcomes. Brand Management, 14(1/2), 125–136.
Dukerich, J. M., Golden, B. R., & Shortell, S. M. (2002). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: the impact of organizational identification, identity and image on the cooperative behaviors of physicians. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47, 507–533.
Dutton, J. E., Dukerich, J. M., & Harquail, C. V. (1994). Organizational images and member identification. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39, 239–263.
Edwards, M. R. (2005). Organizational identification: a conceptual and operational review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(4), 207–230.
Hamilton, L. C. (2008). Low-tech causal modeling. Unpublished manuscript. University of New Hampshire: Department of Sociology.
Hemsley-Brown, J., & Goonawardana, S. (2007). Brand harmonization in the international higher education market. Journal of Business Research, 60, 942–948.
Jevons, C. (2006). Universities: a prime example of branding going wrong. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 15(7), 466–467.
Jimènez-Castillo, D., Sánchez-Fernández, R., & Ángeles Iniesta-Bonillo, M. (2013). Segmenting university graduates on the basis of perceived value, image and identification. International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, 10, 235–252.
Judson, K. M., Aurand, T. W., Gorchels, L., & Gordon, G. L. (2009). Building a university brand from within: university administrators’ perspectives of internal branding. Services Marketing Quarterly, 30(1), 54–68.
Kim, C. K., Han, D., & Park, S. (2001). The effect of brand personality and brand identification on brand loyalty: applying the theory of social identification. Japanese Psychological Research, 43(4), 195–206.
Kim, T., Chang, K., & Jae Ko, Y. (2010). Determinants of organisational identification and supportive intentions. Journal of Marketing Management, 26(5/6), 413–427.
Kuenzel, S., & Halliday, S. V. (2008). Investigating antecedents and consequences of brand identification. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 17(5), 293–304.
Mael, F., & Ashforth, B. E. (1992). Alumni and their alma mater: a partial test of the reformulated model of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13(2), 103–123.
Melewar, T. C., & Akel, S. (2005). The role of corporate identity in the higher education sector. Corporate Communications, 10(1), 41–57.
Morhart, F. M., Herzog, W., & Tomczak, T. (2009). Brand-specific leadership: turning employees into brand champions. Journal of Marketing, 73, 122–142.
Porter, T., Hartman, K., & Johnson, J. S. (2011). Books and balls: antecedents and outcomes of college identification. Research in Higher Education Journal, 13, 1–14.
Sargeant, A., & Ford, J. B. (2007). The power of brands. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 5(1), 41–47.
Sirgy, M. J. (1982). Self-concept in consumer behavior: a critical review. Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 287–300.
Sirgy, M. J., Grzeskowiak, S., & Rahtz, D. (2007). Quality of college life (QCL) of students: developing and validating a measure of well-being. Social Indicators Research, 80, 343–360.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1981). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago, IL: Nelson Hall.
Thomson, M., MacInnis, D. J., & Park, C. W. (2005). The ties that bind: measuring the strength of consumers’ emotional attachments to brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15(1), 77–91.
Turner, J. C., Oakes, P. J., Alexander Haslam, S., & McGarty, C. (1994). Self and collective: cognition and social context. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5), 454–463.
Waeraas, A., & Solbakk, M. N. (2008). Defining the essence of a university: lessons from higher education branding. Higher Education, 57, 449–462.
Wymer, W. (2013). Deconstructing the brand nomological network. International Review of Nonprofit Marketing, 10, 1–12.
About this article
Cite this article
Stephenson, A.L., Yerger, D.B. Does brand identification transform alumni into university advocates?. Int Rev Public Nonprofit Mark 11, 243–262 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12208-014-0119-y
- Branding in higher education
- University branding
- Brand identification
- Alumni supportive behaviors
- Promotional behaviors