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Are Image and Reputation of University Important?

In the business world, branding or brands will help consumers choose products, even though the product is not much different from other products but the product comes from a company with a high brand. Likewise, with the campus world, students will prefer to choose a university with a high brand image, compared to a university with a lower brand image, even though the programs offered are the same.

Are Image and Reputation of University Important?
Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Branding from the London Business School, for example, can attract 5 times more fees than other institutions with lower ratings even though they have a similar curriculum. The age of universities in Europe can be statistically linked to research excellence meaning that the attractiveness of reputable staff is influenced by branding which is indicated by the age of the institution and the style of the building.

The significant difference between universities and companies) lies in the activities in which the company directs its activities to the satisfaction of shareholders and obtaining profits, while universities do not have clear activities. This ambiguity is caused by the fact that universities are very dependent on state funding so various aspects of their activities must be in line with government policy.

Universities, like companies, have various faculties or departments that can be used to attract market share, so this market share is a reputation competitor between universities. The image and reputation of the university are not determined by the location and age of the institution, although it is admittedly influenced by both, for example, the London School of Economics (LSE) is not located in a strategic location in London and the building is not attractive, but when it is associated with long term performances, it turns out LSE has an impressive reputation and image and is based on academic merit and intellectual contributions in the form of social and political ideas.

The question is what strategies should universities run to build their image and reputation?

First, public relations such as public relations plays a very important role in university promotion if the university's reputation is a key asset. Strategies and management skills are needed in carrying out promotions that can use TV, radio, newspapers, websites, and social media.

Second, another strategy that can be used is through open house activities by inviting customers along with invitations to the mass media as well as other strategies through opinion formation designed to reinforce and expand the academic image.

Third, universities can also take advantage of art centers, theaters, science parks, conference centers, as a horizontal branding effort to strongly link institutions with non-academic aspects in the context of promotion.

Fourth, another strategy relates to the university's external appearance by increasing the visual image of the university, so that the university does not look shabby.

Fifth, the existence of an "attractive well-maintained campus" can also be used as an important selling point for external customers, so that this can give confidence that the university is well managed so that it can become the pride of customers.

Sixth, the campus must also have helpful, positive, and friendly staff and have high morale and principles of marketing successfully so that it can determine how customers perceive the organization (=read university).

Seventh, universities do not have direct sales like commercial organizations, but in a similar way universities can serve new customers by showing which faculty buildings, canteens, laboratories, how parking areas are managed, how to deal with lost customer items, and so on.

Remember, a University with a strong external reputation and image will bring significant internal benefits. Efforts to spend a lot of money to establish a reputation or brand image without supporting substance may not be effective externally in the long term and will lead to skepticism and lack of self-confidence internally, but a university that successfully invests in building a public reputation may strengthen its position. internally and externally. 

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