Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 411–422 | Cite as

Exploring rationales for branding a university: Should we be seeking to measure branding in UK universities?

  • Chris Chapleo
Original Article


Although branding is now widespread among UK universities, the application of branding principles in the higher education sector is comparatively recent and may be controversial for internal audiences who question its suitability and efficiency. This article seeks to investigate how and whether the effectiveness of branding activity in the higher education sector should be evaluated and measured, through exploratory interviews with those who often drive it: UK University marketing professionals. Conclusions suggest that university branding is inherently complex, and therefore application of commercial approaches may be over-simplistic. While marketing professionals discuss challenges, they do not necessarily have a consistent view of the objectives of branding activity although all were able to clearly articulate branding objectives for their university, including both qualitative and, to some extent, quantitative metrics. Some measures of the real value of branding activity are therefore suggested, but a key debate is perhaps whether the objectives and role of branding in higher education need to be clarified, and a more consistent view of appropriate metrics reached? Various challenges in implementing branding approaches are also highlighted.


branding brands university brands university branding 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Portsmouth University Business SchoolPortsmouthUK

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