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.

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