To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Internal branding: a university's most valuable intangible asset

Rex Whisman (Branded Consultants Group LLC, Denver, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 21 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is to examine the essential role that internal branding plays in successful university settings.


Case studies from businesses and universities, as well as reviews of the pertinent literature and research, provide the data for the paper's analysis of university branding successes and failures.


The paper concludes that, in the complex university realm, internal branding helps an institution overcome internal resistance to branding efforts. It helps the institution take an identity‐development strategy beyond traditional approaches, such as new logos, snappy taglines and expensive advertising campaigns, to an embedded cultural approach that guides everything from communications, fund‐raising, marketing and personnel policies to enrollment management and program development.

Practical implications

The evidence indicates that the biggest mistake universities make when undertaking branding initiatives is failure to embrace an inside‐out approach to brand development. Those universities that succeed in their branding efforts are willing to borrow strategies from the corporate world to get buy‐in by engaging all interested constituents – faculties, staff, students, alumni and others – in the process.


This paper examines an emerging phenomenon within higher education marketing, one that, as of yet, has not been explored fully in the marketing literature.



Whisman, R. (2009), "Internal branding: a university's most valuable intangible asset", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 367-370.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles