Does brand identification transform alumni into university advocates?

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Amber L. Stephenson.

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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

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Keywords

  • Branding in higher education
  • University branding
  • Brand identification
  • Alumni supportive behaviors
  • Promotional behaviors