Monday, February 20, 2017

Literature Review #1: Journal of Brand Management

Joseph, Mathew, Eileen Wall Mullen, and Deborah Spake. "University branding: Understanding students’ choice of an educational institution." Journal of Brand Management 20.1 (2012): 1-12. Google Scholar . Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

The article is feature from the Journal of Brand Management that aims to present an exploratory study comparing the criteria public and private students used when selecting the university to which they applied. The findings reveal that private and public universities need to customize their branding techniques to the type of institution, as well as some overarching similarities expressed by both public and private universities students. The article begins by explaining the benefits of branding in higher education followed by some examples of effective and ineffective branding efforts utilized by universities in recent years. The rest of the article focuses on the study between an American private and public university including the method, results, and analysis.

Eileen Wall Mullen is the Associate Professor of Marketing in the Greehey School of Business, a sector of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Member and the 2005 Commemorative Award for Faculty Research. Outside the university, she was awarded for her excellence in field marketing at Hallmark Cards Inc., where should receved te R.B. Hall Award. Matthew Joseph teaches marketing at Greehey School of Business. He is the author of a number of articles in the area of cross-cultural marketing, marketing strategy, electronic marketing, service technology, international advertising and promotion, and international marketing education. Deborah Spake acts as the Dean of the College of Business Administration at Kent State University. She is on the editorial review board of the Journal of Business Research and her research interests center around services marketing, advertising, and business ethics.

A key term utilized in this piece is brand which in terms of higher education “emerges as a function of how well the institution performs in meeting the needs of its clients: it is the result of effective marketing” (Joseph et al. 2). Another core concept is criteria for selection, which define the requirements students used to determine college selection.

“As consumer's lives become more complex and rushed, brands that can simplify decision making and reduce risk are invaluable. Brands can also help consumers by signaling a certain level of quality. The appeal of a brand is largely at an emotional level, based on its symbolic image and key associations” (Joseph et al. 2).

Early research on factors underlying college choice suggested that financial, geographic and academic factors were important to parents although students tended to rely on social, cultural and word of mouth influences in making college choices” (Joseph et al. 4).

The current study was undertaken to explore which criteria are important for entering freshmen in selecting a university; how these criteria match up with students’ views of the institution they ultimately attended; how students gained information about the colleges/universities they considered; and whether there are differences between US public and private university students’ views on these topics” (Joseph et al. 4).

This material helps to explore my research question: “Why is university branding important?” It distinguishes the criteria students utilize when choosing an institution as well as the differing techniques universities utilize to differentiate themselves.

Research Blog #3: Three Academic Sources

1. Exploring the Benefits of Branding Universities: A Developing Country Perspective - Felicia de Heer. Patrick Tandoh-Offin – This work studies two universities in Ghanda and how branding defines the university in a way that validates the mission, vision, and core values of the institution. This study is unique because it studies the benefits of a university brand in the context of a developing country. It indicates the benefits of branding higher education to attract the desired students and faculty.

2. College Choice and the University Brand: Exploring the Consumer Decision Framework - Amber Stevenson, Alex heckert, David Yerger – This article is unique to the branding of universities because it explicates the decision framework from the viewpoint of a prospective student. The findings reveal the mindset students have when choosing a college, which universities branders capitalize on to differentiate themselves.

3. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education by Taylor & Francis Online – This resources an international journal that publishes original research and review related to the central core idea of higher education marketing. The publication of articles ranges from 1988 onward. The journal aims to interpret theories about the marketing, consumer behavior, economy, politics, and services of higher education. This journal features a plethora of different topics centered on higher education marketing including case studies, analyses, and exploratory researches.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Research Blog #2: Scouting the Territory

I want to somewhat centralize my topic to a more specific subtopic without limiting my research options. However, I am sure that I want to conduct my research in this realm because of my prior knowledge of qualitative research and analysis as well as my existing interest in behavioral changes between different paradigms.

I familiarized myself on a similar topic for my analysis paper, so I already have some material on the topic. For my analysis paper, I analyzed how the privatization of universities changed the administrative goals in terms of branding a reputation and how that change affects student life. For my research project, I find that when I search “the business of higher education” it more so focuses on the micro and macro economics of colleges. While I do think it will be helpful to be familiar with these concepts, I want to focus more on qualitative data. In order to concentrate my data, keywords I found more relevant included college branding, private vs. public college, and privatization of education.

I primarily used Google Scholar to find articles that seemed important for research. I found this database helpful because since it is an academic database, there are many articles that are more research oriented, as compared to just a regular Google search. I also found it helpful to look at the related searches on Google scholar. The suggestions for the privatization of education include key words and subtopics that may be helpful for future research (e.g. marketization, increased choice). - This link is an ebook of entitled Choosing Choice: School Choice in International Perspective. The first chapter is a case study of Chile’s National Voucher Plan, which essentially examines the benefits and challenges of privatization of education. - I predict that I will refer back to this article frequently. Although it does not directly talk about my research topic, it is a exploratory study of survey data that compares the criteria that public and private university students used when selecting where to attend college.

Qualitative research is characteristically subjective, so there are inevitably differing opinions on the topic. However, as of now, I believe that both institutions have pros and cons, although my bias leans towards private institutions in terms of academic and public universities in terms of cost efficiency because may public institutions have prestigious reputations, as well.