I have written an occasional series of blogs about the way in which universities market themselves.
I continue to be amazed, intrigued and sometimes confused by this. For example have a look at the latest offering from DeMontfort University.
What does this mean?
We’re living in turbulent and testing times. The world is standing on a razor’s edge. We’re our own worst enemy if we walk the path that’s worn think. Dare to find an alternative that makes your heart beat that little bit harder. Then together we’ll make great strides for the good of all. This is not about surrendering to convention. This is learning to succeed.
It sounds vaguely political, but to what end? And how is attending DMU going to contribute to this? Is DMU being offered as an alternative to other universities or to alternatives to university.
What does it all mean!!!!!!!
I think that this, like a lot of the other university marketing that I see suffers from the fundamental problem that most universities are not that different from one another. Better or worse resourcing, more or less public school educated students and easier or harder to get into. However, obviously no university is going to lead with the following slogan.
We are basically like all of the other universities, but we are reasonably easy to get into given our ranking. Come here and you might get to meet a few public school kids, but they won’t dominate too much. Oh and we have a nice campus with loads of new buildings. p.s. we are near the big city/sea/mountains/other university that you’ve heard of.
So we get various kinds of claims main. Some true, some less true, some clear and others confusing. How are potential applicants to decide between all of these competing claims?
Thanks to @asya_bodeva for pointing out the TV ad version of this. Which adds a slightly Blade Runnerish quality to the text. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBi8Q_dg00U
I saw the advert the other evening and was surprised to find it was DeMontfort. I wonder how quick they were to construct it or whether it was planned before the world seemed to implode a little more?
So are you suggesting that it is ambulence advertising?
The obvious question is what would constitute actual differentiation? Sounds like a blog post someone should write…
[…] recently to read Tristram Hooley’s piece looking at how universities advertise themselves This is learning to succeed. Prompted by a recent advert for DeMontfort University Tristram points out that a lot of the […]
I think it’s ironic that most universities would call themselves “innovative” when they’re anything but, on an organisational level. Universities are too risk-averse in their approaches and they are generally much slower than the private sector to embrace new technologies and innovate. Which is also reflected in their advertising. The only way for the HE environment to develop and for individual institutions to differentiate themselves is by starting to operate in a truly competitive market. This will force most universities to specialise and only focus on the areas they’re really good at. The best universities in the world, and those that really impact on the outside world, are specialist universities.