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Branding of UK higher education institutions: an integrated perspective on the content and style of welcome adresses

Abstract

The transformation to a more market-oriented steering approach in European higher education challenges universities and other higher education institutions to consider developing branding or image management activities. The existing literature focuses either on the content or the style, but we argue that an integrated perspective is needed to fully grasp the processes underlying branding. In a comparative case study of ten UK higher education institutions with varying reputations – five highly reputed versus five low(er) reputed institutions – we demonstrate how and why branding is deployed in welcome addresses of institutional leaders. Our findings indicate that isomorphic tendencies are visible, although brand differentiation could also be identified between highly and lowly reputed institutions. Our findings provide support for the competitive group perspective on branding activities

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