CONSTRUCTING UNIVERSITY BRANDS 2 Abstract Universities have increasingly employed branding strategies in recent years to address the commercial and strategic pressures placed on them over the last decade–pressures which are the result of a changing academic environment which requires universities to raise funds and recruit top quality students and researchers. As it could be argued that university publications potentially instantiate a great deal of a university’s brand equity, this study examines the role of university research magazines in constructing university brands. Theories of branding and integrated marketing communications (IMC) were explored and related to a case study of the University of Ottawa and its research magazine, Research Perspectives. Specifically, a survey of Research Perspectivesreaders was conducted with a statistical and qualitative analysis of the data. The results indicate that university research magazines support the four brand equity measures of awareness, perceived quality, loyalty and association. Such benefits are greater and more visible if the university has an integrated approach to its communication. The survey was conducted with limited financial and human resources, but nevertheless yielded significant information that can guide university administrators and university research magazine editors in deciding on the future of the university research magazine.
CONSTRUCTING UNIVERSITY BRANDS 3 Acknowledgement I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the guidance and support I received from my supervisor Dr. Jenepher Lennox Terrion. She was instrumental in advising me on the research process as well as keeping me focused while writing this thesis. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with her. I could not have completed this research without my colleagues at uOttawa and other universities, both Canadian and U.S., particular the members of the University Research Magazine Association (URMA). Their passion and dedication to university research magazines is unparalleled, as is their knowledge of the medium and the university environment as a whole. Moreover, their sense of humour and joie de vivrehave enriched my life in so many ways. Research Perspectivesprovided an excellent case study for this research, thanks to the vision and relentless quest for excellence of Dr. Howard Alper, the University of Ottawa’s former Vice-President, Research. It was under his tutelage that the magazine and I, as its editor, were allowed to transform and grow. He also supported my research aspirations, for which I am very grateful.