Validating an internal brand proposition for SMU’s Post-Graduate Programme

A multiphase regional study helped SMU understand resonance and perceptions towards an internal branding effort for the postgraduate track.

Education students laptop SMU

The challenge

While Singapore Management University (SMU) has been clear/strong in their positioning/marketing of their undergraduate program, the nature and content of the Post-Graduate Program (both Masters and Doctorate) is fundamentally different, which meant that there was a need to investigate whether there are any existing brand attributes that can be similarly extended to the Post-Graduate Program, and find resonance with past and current students, as well as potential applicants.

What we did

The broad scope of the study, across respondent types and geographies, meant that the research approach needs to be tailored accordingly as well.

For the Post-Graduate Program track, in Singapore, 2 focus groups were conducted with alumni and current students, while 6 employers of Post-Graduate Program graduates were interviewed on the telephone to gather their thoughts on working with the SMU Post-Graduate Program candidates. Online surveys were also circulated amongst the SMU Post-Graduate faculty to get their perceptions of the various brand attributes. Outside of Singapore, online surveys were done with current students and alumni, as well as prospective students. For the Post-Graduate Program track, phone interviews were carried out with employers and peers of the graduates from the program, while an online survey was conducted with alumni as well.

The impact of the research

Findings from the study provided guidance to the university, by calling out which of the internal branding attributes resonated most with the various stakeholders. This, in turn, made next steps clearer, and they were able to proceed with their plans to reinforce Post-Graduate branding in the future.

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