Friday, August 7, 2015

Marketing Universities

Universities are all selling the same products (research and education), so it is not surprising if their marketing is similar. Prestige institutions use their research reputation to market education ("We have a Nobel Prize winner!"), while those without a research record use vocational relevance ("We will get you a job!"). Australian universities seem to be going through a spate of re-branding at the present.

The University of Western Sydney (UWS), a vocationally orientated institution with a good reputation, is re-branding itself "Western Sydney University" (WSU or "W" for short). This seems a reasonable change to make, but there has been some criticism that a large part of the $20M marketing budget will be spent on this. See "University of Western Sydney to get new name and logo", by Melanie Kembrey, Sydney Morning Herald, August 7, 2015.

 A more questionable case of re-branding is that Central Queensland University (CQU), a modest university (in, as the name suggests, central Queensland), is reported to be changing to "Australian National Regional University" (ANRU"). CQU is a regional university in Australia, but the problem is that the new name would be very close to that of the "Australian National University" (ANU), one of the country's leading research universities (where I am an Adjunct Lecturer). See "University games: protect ANU from CQU's rebranding overreach" by Ross Fitzgerald, The Age, 6 August 2015.

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