Brand Positioning Case Study
The choice of a university as a place to study is as much to do with emotion as it is to do with logic. Therefore the brand positioning of the University is a key driver in the choice. However, not many universities have actively managed their brands. Their brands have just grown rather than been shaped or managed.
B2B International was commissioned by one of the UK’s largest universities to show how it could develop its brand to gain a sustainable differentiated advantage over the competition. The following brand positioning case study summarises the work we carried out:
Brand Research Methodology
Step 1: Qualitative Brand Research
9 focus groups were carried out with each cohort of students – first year students through to final year students. These focus groups were relatively easy to organise as students were eager to take part and could be conveniently recruited on the campus. The focus groups used psycho drawing and projective techniques to explore what people thought of the University at different stages: before they applied, at the time they applied and after they had been there for a time.
Step 2: Quantitative Brand Research
The quantitative part of the project piggy backed on the student satisfaction research. Just over 2,000 students returned a self-completion questionnaire (a 30% response). Factor analysis was used to establish the key issues that draw people to a University.
Brand Positioning Case Study Findings
The research showed that the University had a number of strengths:
The research also found that some universities had taken positions which had become their “high ground”. For example, Salford University majored on the high percentage of their students that get a job soon after graduating. Oxbridge Universities were considered the place to study for the “superior” cv. Manchester positioned itself as a fun place to study.
The University chose a position that emphasised its strengths. This positioning was executed through a totally aligned programme that used the web site, the prospectus, signage adverts, and not least the staff. All supported the themes that the University was a friendly place to study, offered a secure environment, and was a safe choice that would be enjoyable during the student years and ultimately result in a successful career.