Brand personality in higher education: anthropomorphized university marketing communications

Richard Rutter (Lead Author), Fiona Lettice, John Nadeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


While the university prospectus is recognized as an important marketing communication tool for higher education recruitment strategies, it has become overlooked as many researchers have focused on other communication channels, such as social media and websites. Although focus has been placed upon Higher Education Institution (HEI) brand differentiation, little is known about the similarities and differences between institutional marketing communications utilized to build their brands. This research seeks to explore and analyze the prospectuses of the top 10 HEIs in the UK and to draw comparison between their relative positions using a brand personality lens. While the brand personality trait of sincerity was common for all of the HEIs, there was clear differentiation on the basis of other traits, demonstrating that brand personality deepens our understanding of HEI positioning. Two main brand personality groupings were evident among the top 10 institutions: excitement and competence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marketing for Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date5 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • UK higher education
  • university brand management
  • university branding
  • university marketing communications
  • brand personality

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