College Branding: The Tipping Point

Roger Dooley, Contributor

There are nearly 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Somehow, almost all of these institutions have continued to attract enough students to stay in business year after year.

That’s about to change, and one of the key differences in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seemingly unrelated to the schools’ mission:branding.

Two Branding Objectives
First, the school’s brand must attract the necessary quantity and quality of students while still operating in the traditional college/university style. MOOCs and other disruptive influences may be coming, but colleges still have to operate as they have while managing this transition. To make this more challenging, they will have to compete for a somewhat pool of applicants, due to a combination of student demographics and cost pressures.

This means branding the in-person experience and differentiating it from competing institutions.

The second branding imperative is to begin building an identity that transcends the physical campus. As more courses are delivered electronically, some of the branding factors that set the school apart won’t work. The gorgeous campus, the mild climate, the hip urban environment a few steps away, etc. won’t matter a bit to the student thousands of miles away.




How do these issues apply to TSU?


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