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Branding a tertiary institution by committee: An exploration of internal brand analysis and management processes

Abstract

This article explores how a branding committee was used to facilitate part of a Canadian university’s branding process. It builds on recent cases exploring the effectiveness of branding processes, focusing on using a committee of selected stakeholders. The benefits and drawbacks of using such a committee in the institution’s brand analysis process are examined from the committee members’ perspective. In-depth interviews were conducted with the committee, exploring individual contributions, leadership, engagement, and overall effectiveness, as well as possible improvements. These interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis, eliciting key themes and rich narrative. Specific insights into the committee members’ perceptions of the benefits of a branding committee and their attitudes about their effectiveness, both as individuals and the committee as a whole, are also discussed. The overall findings offer theoretical and practical implications in terms of managing the branding process in an inclusive manner that takes account of stakeholder views and taps into their inherent knowledge, arguably presenting a more holistic brand. While the context is that of a Canadian university, the authors argue that the findings offer significant insights into key factors surrounding the use of committees when managing the branding process for the majority of larger organizations.

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Correspondence to Chris Chapleo.

Appendix

Appendix

The branding committee conducted its work based on five guiding principles:

  • Inclusion Through membership on the committee or core focus groups, and participation in ongoing face-to-face and online meetings, town halls, focus groups, interviews, and other forms of consultation, anyone associated with TRU will have many opportunities to provide input.

  • Best practice The university’s most senior and accomplished marketing and communications practitioners will lead the process to ensure it invites, reflects and, where possible, redefines marketing and communication's best practice.

  • Transparency A public website – tru.ca/branding – will contain a frequently updated consultation schedule, consultation input, branding presentations, and reference material. Any emails sent to branding@tru.ca will be shared with the committee.

  • Diversity To maximize membership diversity, include representatives of key TRU groups (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members) from multiple backgrounds, orientations, circumstances, ethnicities and cultures, fields of study, and areas of TRU.

  • Learning Explore opportunities for learning or professional development presented by this branding initiative.

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Chapleo, C., Clark, P. Branding a tertiary institution by committee: An exploration of internal brand analysis and management processes. J Brand Manag 23, 631–647 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-016-0009-1

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Keywords

  • university branding
  • higher education (HE) branding
  • education brands
  • university marketing