Regional branding by colleges, universities and their community partners: Expectations and sustainability of a marketing consortium

Patrick M Joyce, University of Pennsylvania


This study is about a consortium of colleges and universities and their community partners in Baltimore, Maryland, that banded together to promote the benefits of living and studying in their region. Their initial motivation was one of concern about the negative image of Baltimore, and a desire to improve the brand of the region with the goal to increase their collective ability to recruit the best and the brightest undergraduate and graduate students. Over time the purpose and objectives of the consortium evolved beyond a primary student marketing and recruiting focus to one of economic development for the region. Through the social constructivism tools of a qualitative case study of the Baltimore Collegetown Network, the research considered what their motivations and expectations were at the start; what benefits the members hoped to gain from participation and at what cost; how they approached evaluating the results collectively and individually; what factors will sustain their efforts in the future, and what obstacles they will need to overcome or will contribute to ending the project. The study found that the higher education community in a region, acting collaboratively as one industry, can have a positive impact on the region. It learned that a single institution, acting alone, has neither the standing nor the leverage to change the region's brand by itself. Similarly, the region's colleges and universities, acting in consort as an industry yet independently of the private and public sectors, will not be able to take such an ambitious project to scale and realize the desired impact. The research suggests that for a regional branding project's success and sustainability over time, the intentional collaboration of the business, foundation, governmental and higher education sectors is required. To achieve an effective level of partnership among these sectors, the organization's objectives should be clearly articulated as being both to increase student recruitment and to strengthen economic development in the region.

Subject Area

Higher education|Marketing|Urban planning|Area planning & development

Recommended Citation

Joyce, Patrick M, "Regional branding by colleges, universities and their community partners: Expectations and sustainability of a marketing consortium" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3168029.