The concept of branding is fairly straight forward, but the process is much less so in the world of higher education.
Entrepreneur defines brand as “a promise to your customer. It tells them what you can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
Inside Higher Ed recently published an article discussing why so many universities have similar brands. There’s been a lot of chatter on the internet about it, but basically what it comes down to is that students need to trust an institution if they are going to pursue an education there. The brand matters when students apply, while they are in school and even as alumni.