A New University In The Northeast

Creating a Destination Brand for Education

We helped a business house launch a university for students from the Northeast

Client Profile: Our client was a diversified, family-owned and professionally managed business house located in Guwahati. With revenues in excess of Rs. 500 Cr., the group had interests in Galvanized Sheets, Low-Ash Metallurgical Coke, TMT Construction Re-Bars, Steel Pipes & Structurals, Value Added Bitumen, Roofing Solutions and Real Estate.

The business challenge

The group had decided to diversify into an area that was completely new to them: the education sector, for which the founders had an abiding passion and sufficient funds to invest.

Since this was not their core competence, the group sought the assistance of Vertebrand in the belief that we could help them in the mind-to-market launch of the institute as well as build reputation and  equity for the institution over time, as a ‘destination brand’ of higher learning.

We were briefed to map the market for higher education in the Northeast, identify the most attractive opportunities for the new brand, recommend the right brand and business strategies, structure the business entity appropriately and recommend the right positioning in the market.

To build the equity for the institution-brand over time, and position it as a ‘destination brand’ for higher learning.

What We Did

Considering the challenges and set objectives Vertebrand divided the assignment into 3 phases; Phase I was primarily Secondary research, an internal scan and  customer research. We examined the company’s Internal capabilities, did a comprehensive mapping of competition both in the Northeast and outside. We also conducted extensive in-depth interviews with all prospective customers, which included students as well as possible professors and staff. Finally, we conducted extensive interviews with the Vice-Chancellors and faculty of other universities and colleges in the Northeast and other parts of the country

What We Found Out

There is a dearth of universities – particularly vocationally-focused institutions in the Northeast. Most students who want to do these courses end up leaving the area and studying in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and other cities.

Our Solution

The final presentation gave the client a comprehensive market map using our proprietary tool VScan™; the strategic brand identity in the form of the Vertebrand Arrow™; a fleshed-out business strategy with financial projections for 3 years; a Marketing Communication plan, including a specific module on launching the brand and finally, a brand kit, including logo, brand guidelines and Marketing collateral.

We recommended that the university should specialize in liberal arts as well as vocationally-oriented courses. As an organisation it should understand students’ individual needs extremely well with career counselling, competence mapping and personality evaluation.

We recommended they recruit a visionary faculty who can inspire students. Visiting international faculty is desirable.

A Centre for Excellence that the rest of the university can look up to, and which sets it apart from run-of-the-mill colleges.

This would be supported by architecture that would be distinctive and aesthetic, with signature buildings and appealing interiors

The staff should be knowledgeable, confident and articulate. Should live the essence of the brand. Communication should be articulate, clear and pleasing in expression

The Results :

the client had some issues with land allocation and permissions from the Government. However, they have begun the construction of the campus. The first phase of the university was to be launched in 2020, but has been postponed due to the lockdown and consequent issues.

An International Health Specialist

A Go-No-Go Decision

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