High hopes turning sour - is your brand a truth well told?

By Avarina Wilson-Dyer-Gough

Today is A-level results day. Around the UK many students will be hugging friends and beaming with happiness or frantically going through the process of Clearing. Nonetheless, after changes in legislation, this year will see record numbers of students being accepted than ever before. And with each new student paying an average of £26,310 in tuition fees over the next 3 years, students want to make sure that they get the education they expect for the money they are spending.

Is there value for money?

The issue of value for money was highlighted in a tweet from NUS this morning, ‘Over half of students graduating under the post-2012 fees think their degree was not worth the cost #cutthecosts’. Click here for the NUS survey of the new graduates of 2015:


Due to the increase in tuition fees, students are increasingly vocal about the level of education they expect for what they are paying. However many students aren’t experiencing the return on investment they expect. They don’t feel that they’re getting the knowledge, experiences or employment opportunities they would hope for.

Don’t promise the earth and deliver nothing

In the scrabble for students, many university brands do just this, setting up false expectations. Effective brands are a ‘truth well told’. While overclaims might push up numbers in the short term, they will profoundly affect NSS scores and create an unbridgeable gap between what's claimed and what’s true.

We would argue that universities and their faculties need to start focusing on their underlying value proposition; what do they really do, what makes them unique and how can this value be transferred to the right students and wider society? By placing their core brand at the heart of their recruitment strategy and concentrating on where they excel, universities can naturally attract students, deliver consistent beneficial experiences and exceed their students’ expectations.