From The Guardian’s Higher Education blog, comes this post called Branding in higher education – just how feasible is distinctiveness? by Eliza Anyangwe.
At last week’s CASE Europe conference on distinctiveness in higher education, co-hosted by the Distinct Project, it quickly became clear that universities are in a bit of a pickle: they have to be able to stand out in a marketplace where all the others competitors offer the same basic service – teaching and research. And they have to make the case that they’re doing their own thing when the entire system for measuring excellence (which, in turn, influences student choice) sets out to compare one institution to another.
Tuesday’s conference set out to share the outcomes from a two-year investigation into what distinctiveness looks like, both within and beyond the HE sector. Led by Oxford Brookes University and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council (Hefce), the research defined distinctiveness as “the vehicle which enables an organisation to achieve many of its strategic goals through being memorable, authentic, and clearly articulating what it has to offer to the people that are important to it”.
The crux of the matter is that the very survival of universities rests upon their ability to be clear about who they are and then to use that knowledge to attract students, partners and ultimately, funding. Internally, a distinctiveness strategy is also credited with improving staff motivation and loyalty.