'Dull' Birmingham recruits troops for market battle

October 1, 2004

Birmingham University, dubbed "dull and conservative" in a consultants' report, is gearing up to revamp its image with a rash of appointments.

In last week's Times Higher , the university advertised for a director of recruitment, a director of admissions, a marketing officer, a senior international officer and a student recruitment officer.

Birmingham is one of a number of institutions re-examining their brand images to secure their positions in the emerging market.

The Birmingham revamp follows the leak of an internal marketing report that admits the institution has an image problem. Two weeks ago, The Times Higher reported that Birmingham had hired brand consultants Wolff Olins to transform its image.

Sue Primmer, Birmingham's communications director, said: "It's not just about creating a new brand, it's about shaping up to a more competitive environment. Anybody who's not beefing up their marketing needs to take a serious look at their strategy."

Middlesex University rebranded itself a year ago after realising the image created when it was inaugurated in 1992 bore no relation to the university in 2003.

Maria Owens, Middlesex's communications director, said: "Universities have come late to this idea of marketing. We didn't think we needed to do it for many years, but HE has changed."

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