International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Changing the College Enrollment Narrative: Refocusing Brand Imitability Strategies for Success
Bright Da-Costa ABOAGYE

The U.S. college enrollment data continue to show a download trend after the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher educational institutions lost 1.1% of undergraduates in Fall 2022, leading to a 2-year decline of 4.2% since 2020. Moody’s reported that the decline is projected to worsen in the 2 decades ahead, resulting in a 25% closure rate of mid-sized and less competitive colleges. Recent strategic management researchers have indicated that physical (tangible) institutional resources, including people, processes, and structures, are imitable and effortlessly reproduced by other institutions; hence, they are unable to achieve market goals. Using the resource-based view theoretical lens, this qualitative case study explored how brand managers of a comprehensive regional university utilize institutional brand as an inimitable (intangible) resource to achieve sustainable growth in undergraduate enrollment. The findings revealed institutional core values as critical to the architecture of brand processes and campaigns for enrollment growth.

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