From research excellence to brand relevance: A model for higher education reputation building

Authors

  • Nina Overton-de Klerk Department of Strategic Communication, School of Communication, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Marilet Sienaert Research Office, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2016/20150365

Keywords:

social impact, stakeholders, strategic communication, strategic research

Abstract

In this article we propose a novel approach to reputation development at higher education institutions. Global reputation development at higher education institutions is largely driven by research excellence, is predominantly measured by research output, and is predominantly reflected in hierarchical university rankings. The ranking becomes equated with brand equity. We argue that the current approach to reputation development in higher education institutions is modernist and linear. This is strangely out-of-kilter with the complexities of a transforming society in flux, the demands of a diversity of stakeholders, and the drive towards transdisciplinarity, laterality, reflexivity and relevance in science. Good research clearly remains an important ingredient of a university’s brand value. However, a case can be made for brand relevance, co-created in collaboration with stakeholders, as an alternative and non-linear way of differentiation. This approach is appropriate in light of challenges in strategic science globally as well as trends and shifts in the emerging paradigm of strategic communication. In applying strategic communication principles to current trends and issues in strategic science and the communication thereof, an alternative model for strategic reputation building at higher education institutions is developed.

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Published

2016-05-30

How to Cite

Overton-de Klerk, N., & Sienaert, M. (2016). From research excellence to brand relevance: A model for higher education reputation building. South African Journal of Science, 112(5/6), 8. https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2016/20150365