Luxury retreat

September 22, 2011

You write that higher education institutions should be able to develop unique brands because the retail industry has at least 150 distinctive marques ("Swap camels for custom vehicles", 8 September). However, buying a "low-involvement" consumer item such as a Mars bar is not quite the same as a "high-involvement" purchase such as a university education.

Low-involvement purchases are cheap, habitual, familiar to the consumer and low risk. High-involvement purchases are expensive, infrequent and demand extensive research because consumers have far less pre-purchase product knowledge.

A closer "retail" equivalent to a university education costing tens of thousands of pounds would be buying a luxury car; I am not sure that there are 150 distinctive brands in that area.

Hillary Shaw, Senior lecturer and food research consultant, Department of business management and marketing, Harper Adams University College

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