Welcome back to my discussion about why branding matters in higher education!
In my first post, I made reference to the bubble bursting in For-profit Higher Education. Chris Ross of the Parthenon Group offers an excellent perspective in his article, Where Have All the Students Gone?.
The main reasons that Mr. Ross cites are more competition from traditional colleges and universities and saturation of messages from Colleges and Universities in the marketplace. The low hanging fruit has been found and therefore there is a smaller addressable audience. And, finally, the overall economy is having an affect on higher ed. The thinking with many prospective students, whether traditional or non-traditional, is that if the economy is not going to get better, is college even worth it? Is it worth spending in upwards of $50,ooo for a degree when you cannot find a job after you earn it? The point I am making is that if you only rely on direct response, lead generation advertising and you’re not sure if anybody knows who you are outside a Google search for “online education” and the bubble of growth has burst, as Mr. Ross points out, how can you grow?
My answer…by creating and establishing your brand for the long-term. Strong brands lead to greater cash flow because you have deeper market penetration. Strong brands improve market penetration because brands reduce the perceived risk for the customer. When you have an established, recognizable brand, studies show you have faster product trial, higher referral rates and greater retention. Brands that are well-executed, consistent, memorable and live up to consumer expectations, command a premium price, a premium stock price and can boost earnings. And who doesn’t want to be worth more? Brand value is very important to companies…companies that include higher education institutions.
In my next post, I’d like to discuss the value of brands. Fast Fact: According to the McKinsey Quarterly Report about ½ of the market value of any Fortune 250 company is tied to intangible assets. Assets like their brands.
Until next time…