EFFECT OF BRANDING STRATEGIES ON POST GRADUATE STUDENTS’ CHOICE OF UNIVERSITIES IN NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA
LANGAT, LYDIA CHEPKOECH
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Branding in universities are alternatives to bring differentiation in order to attract the attention of stakeholders. The problem addressed by this study was to examine how branding strategies such as internal branding strategies, external branding strategies and service mix branding strategies influenced postgraduate students’ choice of Universities in Nakuru County, Kenya. The study employed explanatory research design, the population of the study comprised of 3,742 universities postgraduate students, of which 212 were randomly sampled. The universities were inclusive of the campuses which were both public and private. A pilot study was used to pretest the questionnaire from the respondents. Cronbach’s alpha was used to test the reliability of data collection instrument. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as; frequencies, percentages, and Chi-square while inferential statistics methods included Pearson correlation and multiple regressions analysis were used to test the relationship between variables. The study findings indicate that there exists a statistically significant positive relationship between internal branding strategies employed by universities and postgraduate student choice of universities (β = 0.401, p<0.05). There exist statistically insignificant, positive relationship between external branding strategies employed by universities and postgraduate student choice of universities (β = 067, p>0.05).The results further indicated that there exists a statistically significant positive relationship between service mix branding strategies employed by universities and postgraduate student choice of universities (β = 0.347, p<0.05). It is recommended that the university through internal branding leadership should ensure an organization culture created which will enhance prospective students’ choice of postgraduate programs and also enhance employees’ positive communication about the university. Universities management should have partnership programme and collaborations with the international institutions to enhance students and staff benefits. They should also support or carry out CSR activities. Postgraduate programs should also be priced fairly in a bid to attract more students, while relevant content and material information should be available for easy access in aiding students for registration of postgraduate academic programs. Universities should enhance the use of social media as a promotional channel for reaching prospective students. Universities should ensure stocked updated reading material through subscription to electronic academic journals.