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Upwrite February 17, 2024 0 Comments

Identifying What Puts your University in the Right Light

Close up stock photograph of a black man conducting a seminar on Python computer coding in an open plan work arena.

Think of your university’s Unique Selling Propositions AKA USPs. If they don’t come to you straight away, if the majority of the university community has no clue what they are, if the marketing team is confused about what some of it means and one cannot see them when they visit the university, you’re probably doing it wrong.

A solid set of  USPs – Unique Selling Propositions should be simple yet powerful value propositions that are reflected in your campus, student population, faculty and everything that your institution is. 

  • If you cannot express the value proposition in simple terms and if it takes a while for someone to make some sense of it, you might want to relook at it. 
  • Many universities tend to talk about intangible assets such as student-faculty relationships, institutional values or even faculty experience in their promotional campaigns  which may not make sense or look important to the prospective student or parent, especially when it comes to prospective undergraduates. 
  • Fabricating and overstating, blowing things up to look bigger than they are, are a common mistake that many institutes commit when communicating their USPs. If you fail to deliver on what you have promised or worse, underdeliver , your dropout rates will increase faster than you think.

What to do instead? 

Waist-up view of casually dressed woman standing in electrical engineering lab and smiling at camera. Property release attached.

Talk about things that matter. Understand your prospective student.  

  • Use Graduate Data. Talk about your alumni. Prospective students and parents look for things that can instil confidence in them and highlighting successful graduate stories can boost their confidence.
  • Financial support. Affordability, scholarships, price transparency, and supportive financial schemes are winners, especially in this economy. 
  • See if you can emphasise the value of the degree. Not just your rankings but your recognition, acceptance,  academically, socially and professionally. Recognition in the community can be a great asset when you are trying to impress thought leaders who have a say in public perception of an institution.
  • ROI is key. Make a student’s  investment in the programme as well as the institution worth it. Get your USP to show it.

Rearview shot of a group of university students standing together on graduation day

By aligning marketing efforts with these key factors and avoiding exaggeration or misrepresentation, universities can build trust, confidence, and loyalty among their student base. Ultimately, delivering on promised USPs is crucial to minimising dropout rates and ensuring the long-term success of the institution.