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A learning about branding
in universities of the Southwest
Nguyen Thi Mai Kha
Dissertation for the degree of Msc in Media and Communications Management,
University of Stirling.
University of Stirling 2013
Student number: 2033023
Date submitted : 30 April 2013
Dissertation Student number: 2033023
Table of content
Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………………. 7
Abstract……………………………………………………………………………... 9
1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………….. 11
1.1 Research Background………………………………………………………….. 11
1.2 Problem statement......................................................................................... 13
1.3 Significance of the study………………………………………………………... 17
2. Literature review…………………………………………………………………... 19
2.1 Definitions………………………………………………………………………. 19
2.1.1 What is a brand ?................................................................................... 19
2.1.2 What is branding?.................................................................................... 21
2.1.3 Corporate identity……………………………………………………….. 23
2.1.4 Corporate image………………………………………………………… 25
2.1.5 Brand positioning………………………………………………………... 25
2.2 Why brand?. 27
2.3 Building and managing a brand………………………………………………… 29
2.31. Branding in Corporation communication……………………………….. 29
2.3.2 Managing the brand………………………………………………….... 33
2.4 University branding…………………………………………………………… 35
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Dissertation Student number: 2033023
2.4.1 In the world…………………………………………………………….. 35
2.4.2 In Viet Nam…………………………………………………………... 37
3. Methodological approaches……………………………………………………….. 41
3.1 Interviewing…………………………………………………………………. 43
3.2 Sample......................................................................................................... 45
4. Preresentation of the findings…………………………………………………… 47
5. Discussion…………………………………………………………………………. 83
6. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………….. 93
Appendices
Appendix 1: Bibliography……………………………………………………………. 101
Appendix 2: The summary of the universtities, colleges in Viet Nam (as of May 31,
2012)………………………………………………………………………………….. 109
Appendix 3: Brief information about six interviewees and six the universities in the
Southwest…………………………………………………………………………….. 111
Appendix 4: List of the research questions…………………………………………. 113
Appendix 5: The list of many universities, colleges, institutes in Viet Nam
in Webometrics Ranking…………………………………………………………… 115
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Acknowledgements
This research could not been finished if I had not received the help of many people. So, I
am very grateful to all people who helped me in the process of carrying out this study.
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all the respondents in six universities (
Can Tho university, Tay Do university, An Giang university, Dong Thap unversity, Tien
Giang university and Tra Vinh university) who were very enthusiastic to answer my
research questions. Second, I would also like to thank Dr Margot Buchanan, Stirling
University, and Dr Trieu Thanh Le, University of Social Sciences & Humanities - VNU-
HCM, for their help in reviewing and correcting the dissertation proposal and the draft of
my dissertation. I would also wish to thank Professor Matthew Hibberd, Dr Julia
Jahansoozi, Ms Rhona Holden, and Ms Kalene Craig, Stirling university, for their help in
receiving the emails and answering all of my questions during learning and research. I am
also grateful to Mr Nguyen Hieu, Production manager of Coffeemug, Viet Nam, and Ms
Tran Thi phuong Thao, University of Social Sciences & Humanities - VNU-HC, for their
support in giving useful documents and information related to doing dissertation.
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Dissertation Student number: 2033023
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to consider the current situation on university branding of
universities in the MeKong Delta or the Southwest including their interest in branding, their
benefits, disadvantages and remedies in the process of branding, methods and strategies to
build and management the brand. Qualitative and quantitative methods were applied and
there were six universities selected for this research including Can Tho university, Tra Vinh
university, Tien Giang university, Tay Do University, Dong Thap university and An Giang
university. Each university had an interviewee with an in-depth interview and answering
nine similar research questions. It was discovered that most of universities in Mekong
Delta had a considerable concern about brand building. The universities primarily carried
out basic and important activities in university branding such as improving training quality,
material facilities, teaching and learning equipment, human resources, in which the activity
which was done most was improving training programmes. However, the things that they
were caring most at the present were the brand identity like upgrading websites, increasing
designs of flyers/posters, popularizing the image of the university on mass media. This
might be because they knew how to overcome dificulties in the periods of branding through
taking the advantages, bettering limited aspects, continuing to develope in good sides and
investing in things which had not yet been taken interest in. Noticeably, they seemed to
have more similarities than differences in terms of advantages and disadvantages as well as
the strategy of branding. Although there were not any models of university branding which
were found in this research and strategies or methods of branding were also so general. All
in all, this study may bring a wide range of useful information about university branding in
the Southwest for reference or may support to conduct other research.
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1. Introduction
1.1 Research Background
In many recent years, especially after Vietnam started the Doi Moi (Renovation) in 1986,
joined in World Trade Organization in 2007 and adopted an “open-door policy” (Tri Thanh
Vo and Anh Duong Nguyen, 2012) more and more universities and colleges are grown up
in order to make convenient conditions for Vietnamese people in learning. Universities
previously concentrated mainly in the big cities, today provinces have had universities and
colleges except Dak Nong province due to be newly established (Nguyen, 2011). In the
period from 1998 to 2008, there were more 198 universities and colleges established or
upgraded in which there were 178 universities and colleges in 2000. According to
Undergraduate and Postgraduate office of Vietnam, as of August 2008, Vietnam had 368
colleges and universities ( Dung Hieu, 2008). There were particularly 416 schools ( 197
universities and 219 colleges) in 2011, a more than twofold increase compared to the year
2000, just 178 schools (Hong Hanh, 2012). Next, as of 31 May 2012, there were a total of
204 universities (including 149 public schools, 55 non-public schools) and 215 colleges
(including 187 public schools, 28 non-public schools) (Tran, 2012). (see appendix 2)
In fact, the numbers of universities and colleges of Vietnam has significantly risen within
ten years onwards. Thanks to this increase, learners can have more options. However, the
proliferation of such shools also brings big challenges and pressures for educational people
such as rector board, lecturers, professors, so on. That is, every university or college needs
to know how to obtain more “customers” or learners than other universities and colleges.
Hence, to reach a large number of learners, colleges and universities in Vietnam greatly
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need to build a brand and to have strategies towards equal rivalry, not only around the
country, but also all over the world. Nevertheless, this is not easy at all and be also a great
challenge because more and more students in the country prefer to study abroad because of
reputation and quality of foreign universities. For example, promotional activities to
attract students in wealthier families of Leiden University, Harvard University, the
University of Sydney, ect seem to be strange to Vietnamese public universities, in which is
the reason that so many outstanding students chose the path to study at famous universities
in which makes the universities in Vietnam pay attention to the branding ( Minh Hieu,
2012). Speaking at the international conference on branding in higher education, Deputy
Prime Minister, Minister of Educational and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan said the
branding for the universities in Vietnam was very important. Also this conference, the
professors, doctors of universities in Australia, the U.S., Switzerland and other countries in
the organization of Ministry of Education of Southeast Asian countries shared experiences
branding in universities, in which clearly confirmed that the brand, quality, openness were
the solid foundation of tertiary education ( Thanh Phuong, 2012).
Because of the above great challenges, this research is an attempt to find out university
branding in MeKong Delta or called the Southwest (an area in Viet Nam) including their
interest about branding in university, what strategies they have used to build and manage a
brand, what advantages and disadvantages they have from branding and how they remedy
difficulties.
1.2 Problem statement
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As mentioned earlier, the universities are facing with many difficulties although they
gradually confirms its position through results after several years of operation such as
increase of students, co-operation with many domestic and foreign organizations,
certificates of emit, and so on. However, the schools should not satisfy what have achieved
because at present they still scope with many risks and challenges such as more and more
colleges and universities established, international integration as mentioned above.
Moreover, the universities in MeKong Delta are particularly located in a small provinces,
far from big city – a crowded place like Ho Chi Minh ctiy. So, it is not as advantageous as
universities in big cities and long-standing universities. Because of these causes,
universities in this zone, and universities which have recently built, even long standing
universities extremely need to have information and knowledge about branding as well as
having effective strategies to resolve those obstacles and challenges. Therefore, the main
aim of this study is to learn about the current branding issues in the universities around the
Southwest and to collect or discover a large amount of ideas, ways or strategies for
branding and management the brand in the universities.
The research questions :
The interest in branding of the universities in Mekong Delta
Research question 1: Do you know about the term “university branding”?
Research question 2: How do you think about university branding?
Research question 3: Do your university care about university branding?
Research question 4: Are your university building the brand?
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