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How Important is Your University Brand to Your Alumni

A University’s brand has never been more important. Just about every media outlet offers up some form of an annual university rankings list – and not just one. Prospective students can find lists ranking universities on measures such as best value, most selective, best employability and best nightlife (The Telegraph, Independent and Which magazine all publishing these pieces within the last year) – the options are seemingly endless.

In this competitive market, how does your university want to be known? For its student experience, research ranking, employability, or even a unique combination of impressive scores that makes it stand-out overall as the best all-rounder choice for students?

Although it can be tempting to focus on achieving a notable ranking across a number of these lists that will ultimately get new students through the door, it’s also important to keep in mind what students will value the most when they leave.

Will they still value the nightlife or student experience when they leave? – Perhaps not. One thing they are sure to value is your brand – and where it can get them on the next step of their journey. Whether that’s through employment or a postgraduate course, alumni will value the edge that your university and its brand gave them after they graduated.

Where a student chooses to go to university is as much about the degree itself as it’s about establishing a cornerstone of their personal branding for when they enter the workplace or further education.

Conversations with new acquaintances both in business and in social settings—particularly for those still in the first decade of their careers—start with two basic questions: where you grew up and where you went to university.

“When a new acquaintance asks where you went to college, he or she is attempting to gather some initial data about you. Your college brand says quite a bit about the kind of person you might be.” John Addrizzo, a former brand marketing director for GlaxoSmithKline

Each year that goes by is a branding-exercise opportunity for a university and its marketing team. It’s important that alumni feel proud of their chosen university’s brand and confident that it holds them in good stead for future opportunities when they leave the institution – as this is when they are much more likely to return either to further their learning or as a proud supporter and sponsor of the university.


At AlphaGraphics, we specialise in helping higher education institutions deliver data-driven, automated marketing campaigns to improve both student recruitment and engagement of both current students and alumni. To find out more, visit:


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