Published on July 29th, 2008 | by drkkr


Educational Branding

The word Brand instantly brings to our mind names connected with pedigrees that help to sell products.They are rarely, if ever associated with universities or the quality of education in universities. The word university itself is associated in our minds with the research, masters and graduate degrees awarded b y universities after a period of study in colleges affiliated to them. We rarely stop to consider the fact that employment is based more on the standing of the university than on the actual degree. If we treat, employment as demand for the product of universities and colleges namely degrees, it will be obvious that employment opportunities are related to the name or brand image of the colleges themselves at a primary level and to the brand image of the university under which they come at a secondary level. Unfortunately, college and university authorities, do not pay sufficient attention to creating and developing brand images. The prevalent thinking in India is that brands belong to the world of business. They fail to realize that in an era of self financing colleges, on-line education and foreign tie ups, the creation of brand images even for educational institutions is of paramount importance. A large number of colleges produce the same degrees at the same levels at the same disciplines. Degrees are the product outputs of the universities. There are shoes and shoes and shoes produced by myriad producers. But Nike is the synonym of shoes in the minds of the large majority all over the world and the aspiration of those who cannot afford it, because Nike has created and developed a brand image, which is equated in the mind of the customer with excellent quality. Some how, the people who matter in education do not take cognizance of the fact that the degrees of IIMs, IIT’s, Kellogs and MIT are also in greater demand than those from other institutions because of the quality of the experience which the student undergoes in these institutions before getting the same degrees, which are offered else where. In short IIM, IIT etc are brand images, which have been created over the years by these institution. There is no reason why each institution, under each university should not create such brand images for themselves. Shifting brand images have existed for the universities in the past. We all remember how the name of the university of Madras, the University of Calcutta and the University of Bombay .The three oldest universities in India, where once mentioned with awe and reverence. We also remember the brand image that was created by Shanti Niketan and Aligar Muslim University. With the passage of time and the shift in educational priorities these, universities now have to compete with the newer universities. Some of the universities at united states of American is not just big brands but they are famous and rich too- it is in fact richer than some nations. According to a very recent survey by the National Association of college and university Business offers (NACUBO), “Harvard is right at the top with an endowment estimated at $26 billion bigger than the GDP of Syria, Srilanka and Sudan”. The varsities which follow that is yale (15.2b), (Interestingly yale university, incidentally was started with a modest contribution from Elihu yale, who was governor general of Madras in the colonial era.)Stanford ($12.2 billion), University of Texas (11.6 billion) and princeton ($11.2 billion). In all 56 universities in US have more than a billion dollar each as their endowments, and 746 universities and colleges listed in the survey have $294 billion stamping the fact that education is a huge business in the US provided the branding is done strategically. In India it is time we work on the Branding issues of the educational Institutions which will make our institutions. Famous, rich and most sought after educational hub and will certainly become a Global Brand.It is worth remembering that the brand image and prestige of a university, itself depends on the quality of the colleges affiliated to it. Dr.S.Radhakrishnan former president of India rightly said, “Character is Destiny”. Just as the character of the individual is the basis of the character of a nation, so to the brand image of an individual department is the basis of the brand image of the institution and that in turn is an index of the quality of the university itself. Focus on a few points will help to show, how the brand image of an institution can be created and developed. 1. The focus in an institution should be on the experience that the student undergoes in an institution. Everything from the classroom to the play fields through the seminars and conferences should contribute to the creation of a student of quality whose quality will add to the value of the degree obtained by the student, 2. The college or the university should stand for a single, simple idea that can be communicated to each student and authority of the institution. This will help to create a sense of belonging and involvement, which is an essential fundamental factor in the building of a brand. 3. This single basic motivating idea should also help to make the entire college speak in one voice. This process can be aided by involving the alumni in the functioning of the Institution, and offset the current tendencies to lean heavily on large governmental grants. In due course with careful planning, the alumni could supply the funding necessary for running courses. This approach would also help the colleges and universities to enhance the brand building process. 4. Colleges and universities are collections of Individuals, who come together by force of circumstances but develop strong emotional bonds over a period of time with the proper motivation and clear objectives. Manufacturing organizations which create brands are similar collection of people whose quality of work is reflected in the branded products that they produce. Similarly the college or universities managed with the single idea of creating an experience of quality will develop a brand of students,who will make a mark in society. The success of a brand lies in the quality of a product. Similarly the prestige of a college or university (its brand) lies in the quality of its students. Hence, in the highly competitive and fund hungry environment that exist in the educational scene at present, it is imperative that authorities and policy makers in colleges and universities pay more attention to the creation of brand images for their respective institutions. Brand images are the panacea for failing funds and paucity of funds, which will reverse the current trend and create a golden age for Indian education. ( This is a synopsis of my paper presented in an international Conference)

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9 Responses to Educational Branding

  1. lakshmankannan says:

    excellent sir.. a well thought well presented paper.. the blog gives a clear idea on what exactly should be the aim of a modern collge.the institutes may have the best faculty and technical abilities but yes it should carve itself a recognisable space in a country which has a considerable number of colleges but very few we can really boast about.. iit’s n iim’s deserve what they have made for themselves.. a student from ther needs only his college id to get a job…

    but on the flip side dont you belive that certain institutions in the shadow of branding have turned into pucca business place where the degress are sold at exhorbitant prices { recently manipal college of medicine was de-recogniased by medical council of india, rai university got derecognized by ugc etc}…another example which comes to my mind is arindam chodary’s IIMM.. which carries a brand line “dare to think beyond iim’s”..
    yes brand is necessary …but i have a feeling that most marketed colleges are not really the best.. colleges such as jbims rarely do advertising.. i am not sure about branded college is india..but yes i wish they would happen soon..

  2. ArUn raFi says:

    So is education an industry or a service sector?

  3. drkkr says:

    service industry, is service sector.

  4. Kalyan/HRMG/ICICI Bank says:

    Awesom blog!!

  5. Sanjay vk says:

    I perfectly agree to wat u said sir,though i have not deeply gone thru this issue…and i agree to wat laxman said regarding manipal,bcoz of which iam suffering now…it creates its on brand image among public but provides a very low quality service to its students (Customer’s in their terms). No one to be blamed other than customers,if they are not aware of the product quality and go by brand’s hyped image.

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  8. Mohamed Saaid says:

    Love it.Superb.

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