PR Week: Why branding can’t save higher education

 John Brodeur, May 2016

John Brodeur B&W

Universities and colleges that rely solely on traditional branding and marketing as some magic pill will be disappointed.

“Disruptive.” The term has become sorely overused. It’s too often applied to people, businesses, or trends that disrupt very little and fail the test of time.

To witness a category undergoing true disruption, turn to the seismic upheaval of higher education in the United States. The level of disruption approaches that which turned the retail and media industries on their ear in the last decade. Now similar forces are changing the face of the world’s leading universities and colleges.

Once considered a hallmark of value, opportunity, and human possibility, “college” is no longer the automatic option for students of all ages and phases. What does it guarantee, they wonder, besides a lot of work, some learning and perhaps some fun but also a mountain of debt? Has higher education lost its way and its relevance in the world?  Just why are the fastest-growing segments of higher education the lower cost and job-centric community college systems and for-profit models?

Read the rest of John Brodeur’s opinion piece in PR Week.