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Improve Your Corporate Brand Image.

Case Study of UK
Business Schools.
This article examines questions of management cognitions in relation to corporate brand
management within business schools and also researches the issue of strength of identification with
a business school brand on both postgraduate and undergraduate students, which, from our
observation, have received little attention in the marketing literature. Most studies in the nascent
area of corporate brand management have examined the domain from either the perspective of
managers or customers. This article examines both perspectives and examines the broad territory in
terms of the tripartite view of student and management attitudes via affective (feelings), cognitive
(thoughts) and conative (actions) dimensions (Thurstone, 1931; Keller and Richey, 2006). In
theoretical terms, our research aims are twofold. First, to make a distinctive theoretical contribution
to our understanding of the corporate branding management process in leading business schools.
Second, to explicate our theoretical understanding of student corporate brand identification. This
article also gives policy advice to general managers per se and, of course, to those having
responsibility for business school brands. In addition, a conceptual model of the corporate
brand/student identification interface has been introduced. The research presented here is
distinctive in that it:
(a) Confirms and extends the current literature relating to the multidisciplinary aspects of corporate
brand management.
(b) Clarifies the understanding of students status vis-a`-vis the corporate brand (the study shows
that students transcend the internal/external boundaries and are lifelong organisational
members/members of the corporate brand community).
(c) Reports a seminal study relating to corporate brand management and student identification
within business schools (in both the UK and Asia).
(d) Reveals the importance of corporate brand building for business schools.
(e) Draws on normative as well as utilitarian perspectives to corporate branding in Higher Education
(that is, utilitarian in terms of student identification towards the corporate brand and normative in
terms of management cognitions of corporate brand maintenance).
(f) Marshalls two studies: one undertaken within eight UK business schools (focussing on
management cognition among Deans and Senior Managers) and another undertaken among two
distinctive groups of students (one in the UK and another in Asia, focusing on student identification).
(g) Illustrates the importance of exogenous factors vis-a`-vis student identification with a corporate
brand (which may also differ between cultures).
(h) Introduces a conceptual model of the corporate brand/student identification
interface.
The article continues with an examination of the literature on corporate brand management and
identification; an outline of the research methodology and a presentation of the findings. We discuss
our conceptual model of corporate brand management/student identification; outline the strengths

and limitations of our research and detail potential avenues for further scholarly research in this
territory.
Within marketing and management there is a considerable body of literature devoted to higher
education. An eclectic range of studies characterises the area and includes the effectiveness of
advertising and promotional material; and the competitive advantages and success factors of the
marketing of universities. Of more relevance to this study is the work of Worthington and Horne
regarding the efficacy of alumni affinity cards and the celebrated study undertaken by the
organisational behaviourists Mael and Ashforth relating to alumni identification. Marketing scholars
have also undertaken research specifically in relation to business schools and this includes the work
of Nichollis et al. and Carnall in relation to the marketing of MBA programmes. Other lines of
inquiry include the importance of student perception vis-a`-vis leading business schools ; the
management of the business schools reputation and the importance of the World Wide Webin
communicating the brand values of business schools. Scrutiny of the literature has, however,
revealed what is regarded here as a narrow conceptualisation vis-a`-vis the status of students who
are, more often than not, viewed as customers. However, Balmer and Liao view students as
university members since characterising them as customers fails to take account of the lifelong
association that students may have with an institution, and the legal status they have in terms of the
Universitys governance. The authors concur with Ferris who is censorious of the client model and
concludes that it falls considerably short in describing the real relationship that characterises the
institutional/student relationship.
Author's Bio:
Mr. Mairsh J. Jones is a professional essay writer, working as a director of Marketing in Text Office
Ltd.