In a recent interview, H. Rao Unnava, Dean of UC Davis Graduate School of Management shared some concepts with a group of Higher Ed officials focused on improving student recruitment and alumni and donor engagement. He has more than 30 years of research experience in building and maintaining Institution’s brand loyalty.
The following is the summary of the tips taken from the interview.
Build brand loyalty for Higher Ed Institutions
Brand loyalty is very crucial to getting desired results in Higher Education. A person who feels an emotional attachment to the Institution is much more likely to make a commitment to the Institution in terms of donations, referrals or take some positive action. The journey from student experiences to alumni communications creates access to many different types of touch points and therefore many opportunities to build brand loyalty. The more the institutions take advantage of these opportunities to build meaningful engagement, the more loyal and committed the constituents become.
Develop distinct brand experience
Developing a distinct brand experience begins when prospective students, donors, and others visit the campus. The firsthand experience and feeling of ownership when they are physically present enhances their emotions that can be essential to success. Enrolled students should feel inspired by the institution as they pursue their degree. In addition, when alumni and donors have touch points or visits with the institution, they should feel like they are part of the community. These experiences will build brand loyalty and be returned as positive actions on behalf of the institution.
Exceed high expectations
Higher education Institutions have a deeper level of relationship compared to consumer brands, so there may be a high level of emotional investment that must be met by these institutions. Institutions should prove quality experiences that are consistent with the constituents’ value system and expectations.
Involve constituents in branding decisions
Involving constituents in branding decision might increase their feeling of ownership towards the Institution because they know that the Institution considered them. However, it is important to listen. If the institution comes out with a new identity that is against the values of the most constitutes, then there is going to an issue.
In short, the keys to Institution’s brand loyalty are in our hands. Make a difference to the Institution by setting high expectations, informing and involving constituents, and creating a strong brand identity.
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- Higher service levels given the ability for both students and the institution to engage through mobile devices
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