Branding private higher education institutions in South Africa through the evaluation of current branding models
The current Private Higher Education Institution (PHEI) landscape in South Africa is developing at a rapid rate, with over ninety private tertiary institutions, registered with the Council for Higher Education (CHE). However, stakeholder perceptions of these PHEIs are generally negative, largely as a result of the negative perceptions of the qualification, obtained from the private institutions by both parents and students, and questions around the sustainability of the institutions in the long run. Media reports, lack of Department of Education (DHET) support and funding, as well as minimum, if any, marketing and advertising from the PHEI are factors, cited for these firmly entrenched perceptions from the general public. The article was driven by both current and emerging branding models as a benchmark for value-added branding of PHEIs in South Africa. International markets, in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, India and Brazil are included; not as a comparative study, but more as a review of literature on how tertiary education is branded in the private sector in these countries. In addition, developing countries and emerging markets needed to be taken into consideration in the light of their experience in sustaining private education entities. The subsequent investigation of these models proved invaluable in respect of providing similarities and, in some instances, huge differences, which contributed to the establishment of a generic value-added branding model critical for sustaining PHEIs in South Africa. The knowledge of which dimensions the branding of a PHEI should focus on to nullify the negative perceptions associated with a PHEI is paramount.
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