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You are requires  to analyze the "marketing and competitive environment" of a University brand in Australia. There are some key instructions for this piece of assessment task.

University Brand Overview

In order to remain relevant in the ever dynamic corporate market, it is important for institutions and organizations to install the most effective strategies. These strategies are always aimed at having a good grip on the client base in addition to ensuring that there is enough information about the products and services availed to the public (Baker, 2007). The ability of an organization to retain a firm grip on its clients largely depends on the extent to which this body deals with the challenges associated with its competitive environment. A competitive environment also referred to as the marketing structure of an organization, can simply be defined as the dynamic surrounding in which a business operates. This system can be influenced by a number of facts which may range from global attributes to more local aspects. For instance, a global change in the economic situation may affect the pricing of products and services hence causing an inevitable adjustment within the given organization in a bid to fit these changes. A careful analysis of the competitive and marketing environment therefore enables an organization to identify the points that need the necessary adjustment before establishing the effective strategies (Bauer, 2007). Furthermore, The marketing and competitive environment of an brand can be influenced by a number of factors which may include, the nature of packaging, pricing, types of products or services as well as the changes in consumer preferences just to mention but few. In this paper, we analyze the marketing and competitive environment of the University of Sydney as a leading brand in Australia.

The University of Sydney is one of the oldest and most famous university brands in Australia. It was founded in 1850 and has since risen up the ranks to become one of the most sought after learning institutions not only in Australia but also in the rest of the world. The university offers bachelors, masters and doctorate programs and has an average annual number of undergraduates at about 32, 000. The university which currently has over 16 faculties and schools has its outlets spread over all the major cities in Australia. This aggregation strategy has played a crucial role in enabling the brand to launch deeper into the market as opposed to depending on Sydney and its environs as the main catchment points (Boissevain, 2004). The brand has a rich history and is affiliated to several known scholars and laureates, high court judges, justices and prime ministers just to mention but few. In addition, it was recently named among the top ten most beautiful and efficient universities in the world and is also a member of the academic consortium made up of eight universities. The great attributes have remained pivotal in promoting the universities brand an aspect which could be emphasized by the high number of admissions recorded by the institution on an annual basis.

In order to have a good understanding of one’s market, there is the inevitable need for an organization to establish and hence address the various competitive factors which may interfere with the brand’s popularity (Chesbrough, 2003). The review of the competitive environment is best established when the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which could be associated the encroachment of competitors in the market. By noting the areas of weaknesses of the emerging competitors, an organization can then make the necessary counter measures and hence maintain a god grip on its clients. In order to effectively analyze the University of Sydney’s competitive landscape, we apply the Five Competitive Forces Model which was developed by Michael Porter. It would therefore be recommend that before making any drastic advancement into the market, the university ought to continuously use these forces as an appropriate basis for studying and understanding the competitive environment (Cox, 2007).

Analysis of Competitive and Marketing Environment

The Australian education system has since been characterized by the mushrooming of numerous learning institutions including emerging colleges, universities and other technical institutions. The potential entrants act as a force which keeps the university brand on toes to establish the right measures that would ensure its sustainability in the market. The new entrants increase the market’s capacity while reducing its profitability (Cram, 2008). This therefore implies that when several universities are established within reach of each other, the competition for students registering for new admissions increases. This in turn reduces the admission levels depending on the marketing strategies used by a brand to promote its products and services. The University of Sydney has a stable marketing and promotional plan which involves networking with other educational institutions (Freeman, 2010). Through these networks and organizational links, the university has entered in agreements where they are able to source for clients and register them for faculties at subsidized costs depending on the terms of agreement with their business partners. Such bodies may include the various children foundations in Australia which direct link students with university on completion of their highs school studies. This strategy has enabled the university to ward of competition from other learning institutions.

The second force which largely influences the competitive and marketing environment for an organization is the presence of substitute products. A substitute product can be described as a similar product offered by a different organization (Kotler, 2009). In the case of Sydney University, the presence of several other universities in Australia for instance the University of Melbourne, Brisbane University, Monash University, University of Queensland and the Australian National University just to mention but few, indicate the presence of numerous alternatives for the target market. This is because most if not all these institutions offer the same degree programs as is the case in Sydney University. The completive environment becomes more complex in this case when the competitors offer the same courses at relatively affordable costs. These increase the attractiveness of the brand and might easily convince the target customers into going for the substitute products. Consequently, the university administration has continuously worked on ways of in improving their brand attractiveness especially in the dynamic market (Galbraith, 2009). This has been achieved by the introduction of adjusted costs for courses in addition to establishing several outlets in most parts of the country. Furthermore, the institution has introduced several affiliate bodies hence taking their products to the market as opposed to waiting for the clients to come for their products.

The university has entered into agreements with various bodies which directly link the institution with new candidates.  These agreements have been made at both the local and international levels. For instance, the university offers scholarship programs to various international students based on the agreements between the institution and the supplying bodies. Since this is a mutual relationship, the main objective is to see both bodies gain from the agreement hence the suppliers equally determine the terms of these agreements (Guseman, 2008). When the terms seem unfavorable, the suppliers might choose alternative partners a step which may end up affecting the rate of admission as well as the related benefits.

Threat of new potential entrants

The customers in this case are the students targeted for admission at the university. It is a fact worth noting that the prospective candidates play a crucial role in enhancing the final admission levels at the university. Despite the presence of the relevant marketing strategies as established by the university’s management, the choice on which university to go eventually lies with the students who are in this case the clients (Homburg, 2009). The presence of various alternatives as presented by the various learning institutions in Australia therefore offers the students a good platform for making informed choices. It would therefore be important for a brand to be as attractive as possible in order for the clients to pick on it amidst the many options. In order to deal with this force, the university carries out a wide range of marketing strategies both local and on global fonts. Information about the courses and the prices has always been made available to the public through the institution’s website apart from other channels. This approach has played a crucial role in enhancing the brand awareness.

The final force determining the competitive environment of an institution is the extent of rivalry between it and the competitors. It is clear that the various universities across Australia are the basic contributors of the competitive environment (Kotler, 2004). The intensity of this rivalry may at times serve to reduce the quality and profitability of the market. For instance, other universities in a bid to attract more admissions may choose to deliberately lower its prices. The University of Sydney may equally counter this approach by lowering its costs on course admission a step which might lead to low profitability.

Conclusion

The report entailed an analysis of the institution’s completive market based on the Five Competitive Forces Model. From the analysis, we can deduce that the success of the University of Sydney could be attributed to the rather stable strategies used by the university management to deal with its competitive environment. The University continues to face competition from other learning institutions and universities cropping up across most parts of Australia. Consequently, the institution has had to adjust most of its packages in a bid to fit the changing client needs.

References

Baker, M. (2007) Marketing strategy and management. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bauer, R. (2007) Consumer behavior as risk taking: Risk taking and information handling. Boston, MA: Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.

Boissevain, J. (2004) Friends of friends: Networks, manipulators and coalitions. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Chesbrough, H. (2003) Open innovation: the new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Cox, D. (2007) Risk taking and information handling in consumer behaviour – an intensive study of two cases’ in Cox, D. (ed.) Risk taking and information handling. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cram, T. (2008) ‘Pricing’, in Baker, M.J. and S.J. Hart (eds) The marketing book. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Freeman, R. (2010) Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Galbraith, K. (2009) The affluent society. London: Penguin.

Guseman, D. (2008) ‘Risk perception and risk reduction in consumer services’, in Donelly, J.H. and W.R. George (eds) in Marketing of Services, Proceedings of the American Marketing Association. Chicago, IL: American Marketing Association.

Homburg, C. (2009) Marketing management: a contemporary perspective. London: McGraw-Hill.

Kotler, P. (2004) Marketing management – an Asian perspective. Singapore: Prentice Hall.

Kotler, P. (2009) Marketing management. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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[Accessed 21 February 2024].

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