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Elevating an institution’s reputation with a meaningfully distinct brand narrative
Brand management activities involve making decisions over time about: (a) what brand messages to deliver to stakeholders, (b) what brand experiences to deliver as stakeholders engage with their firm or institution and (c) how to improve the performance of the firm or institution. While brand management has been widely studied in commercial industries, brand management research within the higher education industry is quite limited. This paper introduces a new brand management framework that illuminates an institution’s meaningfully distinct value proposition and activation paths to help elevate the institution’s reputation and class profile. The authors have named this new methodology the Brand Integrity (BI) framework. This field study deployed the BI framework’s qualitative and quantitative research activities across multiple stakeholder groups to identify the salient University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business (MCOB) brand promises that would most resonate with several stakeholder groups, including prospective students, existing students, alumni, faculty, staff and advisory board members. Upon identification of the core brand promises for MCOB, the new brand narrative was powerfully activated and the implications on school popularity and enrolment have been significant. Since the activation of the new brand narrative, MCOB graduate programmes have experienced increases in the number of applications, enrolment selectivity, total enrolled students, female students, and underrepresented minority students. This paper highlights the relevant contributions for both scholars and practitioners.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Timothy R. Bohling currently serves as Marketing Professor and Chief Marketing and Graduate Enrollment Officer at University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. Prior to joining University of Notre Dame, Tim served as Marketing Professor of Practice and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. Professor Bohling is an accomplished global business leader, teacher and scholar, having held several Vice President and C-Suite positions leading marketing transformation and entrepreneurial business building at IBM, HCL Technologies, Stratasys and Georgia State University while concurrently publishing several research papers in top scholarly journals. He is the founder of a marketing consulting company dedicated to elevating the growth and greatness of his clients. Bohling’s research interests include Brand Management, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Lifetime Value, Innovation Adoption and Decision Modelling. Bohling holds an Executive Doctorate of Business from Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, and an MBA and BBA from Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.
Sol Sender career as a brand strategist and creative executive spans more than 25 years — as the founder of his own consultancy, Sender LLC, and in senior leadership roles for Designkitchen, VSA Partners and Morningstar. His philosophy about brand integrity and organisational performance informs all aspects of his work and has helped shape transformative brand initiatives for IBM, HP, CME Group and Forbes, among others. As principal of Sender LLC, he led the development of the brand identity for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign.