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Customer-based branding is a critical branding approach for almost any organisation. This is also true for state universities, particularly those in Zimbabwe. State-owned universities in Zimbabwe do not receive adequate funding from the Government of Zimbabwe, which is financially challenged owing to a national economy that has been performing poorly for close to fifteen (15) years. Against this background, state owned universities find themselves increasingly obliged to compete for students in order to raise revenue to finance their daily operations as well as capital expenditure. The aim of this study was twofold: to investigate the impact of customer-based branding as a survival strategy to be used by state-owned universities in Zimbabwe in the face of foreign competition and to develop a model to brand universities. The study was a quantitative research conducted among one thousand students selected from four (4) state-owned universities using probability sampling as a sampling method and random sampling as a sampling technique to select the respondents.

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