Options for Measuring Brand Equity

Becky Morehouse

Becky Morehouse

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One of the biggest challenges facing today’s college marketers is the need to continually measure how their brand strategies are impacting their overall brand equity.


This measurement is important for two reasons. First, it allows you to finetune your brand strategy. Second, measurement helps legitimize your brand marketing efforts to institutional leadership and stakeholders.

At its most basic, brand equity is the value ascribed to your brand. This value is both monetary and non-monetary.

Using a brand value and price elasticity study, for example, we can determine the dollar value of your brand. We can also make a determinant of the monetary value of your brand by repeating baseline research that may have been conducted to establish the initial (or refreshed) brand strategy.

There are, additionally, other ways to measure brand equity. While these measurements may be less precise because they don’t rely on quantitative measurement, they can still offer powerful insights into what’s working…and perhaps what’s not. These measurements are especially valuable when taken en toto rather than individually.

To help you more completely understand these measures, I have “broken” them into three categories.

Student Recruiting/Retention

  • Are you closing your class earlier?
  • Did the cost of recruiting a student go down?
  • Has net tuition increased?
  • Has your discount rate gone down?
  • Have you enhanced your ability to shape your class on factors such as academic quality, academic program interest, ethnicity, geographic diversity, or other variables?
  • Has the quality of your competitor set (overlap schools) increased?
  • Is your yield against these competitors going up?
  • Has your retention rate gone up?
  • Do current students recommend you?


  • Did the cost of raising a dollar go down?
  • Has alumni giving gone up?
  • Has the average alumni gift increased?
  • Are more donors seeking you out?
  • Are more foundations seeking you out?
  • Do alumni recommend you?
  • Would your alumni choose you again?


  • Has the quality of faculty and staff job applicants increased?
  • Are you retaining your best faculty and staff?
  • Are faculty and staff supporting your annual funds and capital campaigns?
  • Is your overall social media sentiment positive or negative?

As you can see, there are numerous opportunities to measure brand equity. While some of these measures are quantitative and will require some investment, a substantial number of these measures can be utilized using data you regularly collect and already have on hand.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation today.

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