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THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL MANAGEMENT TEAM (SMT) IN THE BRANDING OF A SCHOOL
by
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
MAGISTER EDUCATIONIS
CO-SUPERVISOR: PROF. K.C. MOLOI
DEDICATION
I dedicate this research work to God the Almighty and my ancestry.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I hereby thank and acknowledge the following people for their inspirational and
motivational role in the completion of this mini-dissertation:
• Professor Tom Bisschoff
Sebatane.
• Brenda and Tlotlego.
• Gordon, Molatela and Obakeng.
• Lindiwe Sarah Masuku for her extraordinary patience in typing this
research document.
• All the SMT members who participated in the focus group interviews.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
SYNOPSIS
The introduction of School Based Management (SBM) in South African Schools
ushered in School Management Teams (SMTs) whose responsibilities include,
among others; planning, organizing, leading and control. These fundamental
day-to-day duties also relate to school branding which is a new concept in South
African Schools.
School branding is a new concept that warrants empirical research so that school
management teams can thoroughly understand and implement it professionally.
Branding a school cannot be left to the ad hoc devices of the layman. School
Management Teams need to be factually conversant and knowledgeable about
cultivating a knowledge substrate of school branding for application by school
management teams.
Understanding and implementing the concept school branding stands to benefit
schools in this era where learner mobility is determined by school choice. School
choice in turn is a crucial aspect of the supply and demand of learners. These
two market forces have a direct impact on the survival and existence of a school.
Schools in this day and age are compelled to market and transform themselves
into winning, compelling and powerful brands. In the past schools enjoyed the
geographic and racial monopoly over parents and learner choice of a school.
With the advent of the democratic dispensation the survival of a school needs a
scientific and commercial praxis of concepts like branding. Branding itself holds
a host of benefits for all the stakeholders in a school.
i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS i
SYNOPSIS ii
CHAPTER 1: ORIENTATION, PROBLEM, AIMS, METHODOLOGY, CONCEPTS AND PLAN OF STUDY
1
1.4 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH 5
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN 5
1.7 ETHICAL ASPECTS 8
1.8.2 Branding 9
1.10 CONCLUSION 10
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ON BRANDING 12 2.1 INTRODUCTION 12
2.2 THE NATURE AND DESCRIPTION OF BRANDING 14
2.3 THE ORIGINS OF BRANDING 15
2.3.1 The historical origin 16
ii
2.4 THE LAWS OF BRANDING 21
2.4.1 The 22 immutable laws of branding 21
2.4.2 Zissel’s seven laws of branding 30
2.4.3 Frankel’s laws of big time branding 31
2.4.4 The three laws of online personal branding 32
2.4.5 Wellesly Hills Group five maxims of branding 33
2.5 BRAND EQUITY 33
2.5.2 Brand loyalty 36
2.5.3 Brand associations 37
2.6.1 Brand audit 40
2.6.3.1 The brand as a product/service 41
2.6.3.2 The brand as a person 42
2.6.3.3 The brand as organization 42
2.6.3.4 The brand as a symbol 46
2.7 VALUE PROPOSITION AND CREDIBILITY 49
2.8 BRAND IMPLEMENTATION SYSTEM 50
2.8.1 Brand positioning 50
2.8.1.1 Positioning fundamentals 51
2.8.1.3 The value context positioning 52
2.8.2 Brand communication 53
2.9 BRANDING STRATEGY 55
2.11 BRAND IMPERATIVES 57
2.12 BRANDING BENEFITS 58
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURES 60 3.1 INTRODUCTION 60
3.2 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN 60
3.2.1 Philosophical foundations 63
3.3 STUDY DESIGN 65
3.3.1 Literature review 65
3.3.3 Sample and sampling 68
3.3.4 Validity, reliability and ethical considerations 71
3.3.4.1 Validity 71
3.3.4.2 Reliability 73
3.4.1.2 Types of interviews 76
3.4.1.3.1Semi-structured group interviews 77
3.4.1.5 The interview schedule 79
3.4.2 Observations 80
iv
3.7 CONCLUSION 84
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 85 4.1 INTRODUCTION 85
4.2 ANALYSIS OF DATA 85
4.2.1 Interviews 85
4.2.1.2 The reasons for school branding 88
4.2.1.3 How schools can be branded 91
4.2.1.4 The benefits of school branding 98
4.2.1.5 Perceptions of township, rural and former whites only
schools as equal brands
CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 108 5.1 INTRODUCTION 108
5.2 SUMMARY 108
5.3 FINDINGS 109
5.3.2 Important empirical findings 111
5.4 RECOMMENDATIONS 113
5.6 CONCLUSION 118
Appendix B: Research letter of approval from the GDE
Appendix C: Statement of consent
Appendix D: Interview A
Appendix E: Interview B
Appendix F: Interview C
Appendix G: Interview D
Appendix H: Interview E
Appendix I: Interview F
CHAPTER ONE
ORIENTATION, PROBLEM, AIMS, METHODOLOGY, CONCEPTS AND PLAN OF STUDY 1.1 INTRODUCTION One of the many changes that have taken place in education since 1994 in South
Africa, was the introduction of school-based management (SBM). This concept
is a product of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 which places the
professional management of a school in the School Management Team (SMT).
(Bisschoff, Du Plessis and Smith; 2004: V). The School Management Team is
responsible for the generic fundamentals of management which are: planning,
organization, leading and control (Van der Westhuizen, 1991:135). Within these
fundamental tasks, there are subtasks that the School Management Team has to
execute such as the marketing and branding of the school.
Schools in South Africa operate in a milieu defined by transformation,
competition and market forces of supply and demand. These defining factors in
the education and school milieu determine the mobility of educators and learners,
the choice of schools by parents and the funding of schools by the state. This
brings into focus the concept of branding which is becoming increasingly relevant
in the market driven model that continues to drive education policy (Holmes
2006:1). This line of logic is bolstered cogently by Litshani (1998:1) when she
posits that it comes as no surprise that up to now scant attention has been paid
to the idea of marketing schools and that for many years public schools existed
as a monopoly over a certain group of learners.
The monopoly that schools had over certain communities ran along racial and
financial lines. The status quo changed with the transformation to a democratic
form of government in 1994. Prior to 1994 schools in South Africa were
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segregated. Every racial group had their own educational system, administration
and schools (Behr, 1984:163). The promulgation of the South African Schools
Act heralded a new era in the management and control of schools (Van Wyk &
Mothata, 1998:1).
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH PROBLEM Schools in South Africa still reflect political, ethnic, language, cultural and
religious inclinations and divisions. The geographic separation of various racial
groups also aided and strengthened the division. Thus schools were given
names that bear testimony to the negative social and historical baggage of the
past. This trend is evident in the present school names. In the former white
areas, one still finds schools named after colonial and racial oppression icons
such as “King Edward”, “HF Verwoerd” and “Riebeeckrand”. In the townships
and rural areas, school names are reflective of liberation struggle heroes, former
homeland presidents and black intelligentsia, school names such as: “A.B.
Xuma”, “Paul Mosaka” and “Dr. W.F. Nkomo” come to mind. School names such
as these, I would argue, owe their existence to the polarized nature of the socio-
historical course and context of education in South Africa.
Most politically polarized racial groups contributed to a large scale to the negative
brands that schools have become. School names are symbolic of the ethics,
culture and climate of schools. Davies and Ellison (1991:119) postulate that the
name which a school bears, conveys the image of that school. The image that a
school has, is very crucial in the perception of the school by the populace. The
community that a school serves can have a positive or negative image of a
school. This argument is supported by Holmes (2006:1) when he posits that
schools are focusing on the concept of branding because of the market forces
and they are striving for a clearer identity, differentiation and positioning in the
minds of potential students and parents (2006:1). This assertion is amplified by
Bisschoff, Du Plessis and Smith (2004:14) when they contend that: “schools
3
believe that their reputations have been discredited by negative events that
happened in their past and that a new name would help transform a tarnished
image. The transformation of a tarnished image, I would argue, implies the
branding of a school. Jackson (2003:51) concurs with this argument by stating
that the strongest brands today started out with just their good names… The
right name, he states, has always been fundamental to the success of a brand.
Branding is a complex marketing concept which gives value to a school. Thus it
requires professional expertise. It cannot be left to the devices of the lay man.
In a school context, the School Management Team (SMT) is responsible for the
administration and professional management of the school. This scope of duties
includes, inter alia, marketing and branding. The SMT is thus in a better position
to navigate the task and challenge that the branding of a school requires. This
implies that the SMT should strive to be knowledgeable and conversant with
school marketing because this concept is aimed at sustaining the school’s
survival, image and publicity (Bisschoff et al, 2004:7).
Branding is part and parcel of marketing which is a relatively new management
concept in South African schools. The extent to which this concept is known,
understood and practised is aptly stated by Anderson (2005:139-141) when she
states: “school marketing in South Africa is characterized among others by:
• A reactive, ad hoc, approach to marketing with the dominance of short
term promotion activities.
• The adoption of undifferentiated marketing strategies with most schools
seeking to be all things to all potential pupils.
• A failure to recognize the dynamic nature of markets threats even to
schools in currently strong positions”
School management teams need an independent and functional knowledge of
branding. This body of knowledge will assist them in their endeavours to
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establish their schools as brands. Ries and Ries contend that brands are about
credentials, the name and quality (2006:5). These attributes of a brand are in
alignment with what Singo states, that organizations should embrace a few basic
beliefs or values such as:
• A belief in being the best.
• A belief in superior quality and service (2003:23). Moser also shares the
logic of a brand as a set of core values that a company espouses at all
times. He lists values such as commitment, reliability, education etc.
(2003:18).
A close scrutiny and analysis of the degree of branding application in schools is
very limited. It extends only as far as school names, logos, colours, mottos and
crests. This shows that schools are by and large not established brands
because they lack the differential advantage over each other.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM The existence and manifestation of incidents such as: racism, ethnicity, violence,
poor work ethic and working relations, under performance, weak leadership and
management, vandalism, ill discipline, low morale etc does not augur well for
schools in South Africa to be presented and regarded as strong and compelling
brands. It is against this backdrop and plethora of similar problems that school
branding warrants an investigation. The concept of school branding is a
relatively new concept thus the understanding and implementation thereof by
school management teams is the subject of this inquiry. The following questions
will assist the researcher in putting the problem into perspective:
• What is branding?
• How can a school be branded?
• What role can the SMT play in the branding of a school?
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The statement and the questions above lead to the aim of this research.
1.4 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH The main aim of this inquiry is to investigate how the School Management Team
can play a role in the branding of a school. To achieve the main aim of this
research, the following specific objectives can be formulated:
• To define branding
• To explore how a school can be branded
• To describe the role of the SMT in the branding of a school
The purpose of this study is to culminate in providing a discourse that will explore
the notion that a school can be branded and to generate guidelines for school
management teams in the branding of schools.
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN A qualitative research design is deemed as the most suitable for this study. It will
take the form of basic or generic research as its theoretical frame work. Basic or
generic research is characterized by “description, interpretation and
understanding. It identifies the current patterns in the form of themes and
categories and may delineate a process” (Merriam, 1998:12). Rudestam and
Newton (2001:45) augment the researcher’s choice of research framework when
they assert that qualitative data consists of detailed descriptions of events,
situations, and behaviours, as well direct quotations from people about their
experiences and beliefs. This type of research will allow the researcher to gain
insight into the views and perceptions of SMT members on their role in the
branding of a school.
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1.5.1 Sampling Sampling is the selection of a unit of analysis. It is the selection of a research
site, time, people and events (Merriam, 1998:60). By sampling, the researcher
needs to select interviewees that can shed optimal light on the issue that she is
investigating (Henning, 2004:71). Wilkinson and Burmingham (2003:52) concur
with Henning et. al (2004) by averring that a researcher’s sample of interviwees
must be representative - if generalizations from the data provided are to be made
– and sensible. The method of choice for qualitative research sampling is non-
probability purposeful sampling. This method is described thus: “purposeful
sampling is based on the assumption that the investigator wants to discover,
understand and gain insight and therefore must select a sample from which the
most can be learnt (Merriam, 1998:61). For purposes of this research, three to
six School Management Teams will be selected to participate in this inquiry. A
maximum of five members per SMT will be selected for interviewing.
1.5.2 Data Collection Data in qualitative research are collected through interviews, observations or
document analysis (Merriam, 1998:11). Strauss and Myburgh (Research
Methodology Study Guide,2003:41-42) state that in qualitative research, it is
important that triangulation of methods, techniques and even approaches are
utilized to get an in depth exploration and eventual description of the
phenomenon under investigation. Conrad and Serling (2006:380) assent with
Strauss and Myburgh (2003) when they postulate that triangulation is important
in data collection because it allows the researcher to obtain information from
several different sources, cross checking and verifying sources of information.
This inquiry will employ interviews to elicit information about branding from the
selected SMTs; the interviews will be open ended and less structural. Merriam
(1998:77) lists four types of questions that can be used during an interview, these
7
are: hypothetical, devil’s advocate, ideal position and interpretive questions
.These types of questions will be used to conduct the interviews.
1.5.3 Data Analysis Merriam (1998:156) distinguishes the following data analysis strategies:
“ethnographic analysis, narrative analysis, phenomenon analysis and constant
comparative method” in addition to these methods, she lists: “two lesser-used
techniques – content analysis and analytic induction” Data in this inquiry will be
analyzed using the constant comparative method. Glaser and Strauss (cited in
Merriam, 1998:159) describe this method as a constant comparison of tentative
categories to each other and to other instances. Mykut and Morehouse
(1994:127) contend that the constant comparative method is one way to conduct
an inductive analysis of qualitative data because what becomes important to
analyse emerges from the data itself. Data will be transcribed and coded into
categories and themes, Henning (2004:105) advices that once the transcription is
ready and codes have been awarded to different segment of units of meaning,
the related codes can be grouped or categorized.
1.6 DEMARCATION OF THE RESEARCH
• The research will be limited to the School Management Teams of the six
selected schools.
• A maximum of five members per SMT will participate in the research.
• The selected schools will be representative of primary and secondary
schools, gender and districts.
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1.7 ETHICAL ASPECTS The ethical code of the faculty when doing research, prescribes that a researcher
adheres to the following aspects:
• Participants in the research be informed right at the beginning that their
participation is voluntary and that they can withdraw from the inquiry freely
without any penalty – their autonomy will be respected.
• The respondents should know what the purpose of the research is and in
what way the information will be used – the aim of the research must be
clearly communicated.
• The basic rights of individuals as human beings must be respected. Thus
the SMT members in the focus groups will be told that the research will
have no detrimental consequences for them.
• To ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of the respondents their
actual names will not be used during the data collection and transcription.
Their confidentiality will be respected at all times.
• No participant will be coerced into providing data; respondents will not be
expected to act contrary to their principles.
• As a researcher, I should be professionally and personally qualified to
conduct research. This means I should know and understand the
research instrument and methodology respondents.
• The respondents will be ensured maximum benefit of the research by
being informed about all the outcomes of the research (Bisschoff,
2005:71-72; Strauss and Myburgh, 2004: 61-62)
1.8 CLARIFICATION OF CONCEPTS Two salient concepts will be clarified according to literature: School Management
Team (SMT) and branding.
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1.8.1 School Management Teams (SMT) A School Management Team is a group of educators employed at a school. This
group is composed of the principal, deputy principal (s), heads of department and
master teachers. Their responsibility is to manage the day to day activities of the
school on a consultative and professional basis. (Own definition)
1.8.2 Branding Branding is defined as: “The use of a name, term, symbol or design – or a
combination of these to identify a product. It includes the use of brand names,
trademarks and practically all other means of product identification” (McCarthy
and Perreault, 1993:271). Doyle (1991:295) on the other hand, contends that a
successful brand name is a name, symbol, design or some combination which
identifies the product of a particular organization as having a sustainable
differential advantage. This definition is also shared by Czinkota and Ronkainen
(2004:260) who state that branding is a name, term, symbol sign or design used
by a firm to differentiate it’s offering from those of it’s competitors. The most
contemporary definition of branding is given by Jackson (2003:86) who states
that a brand “is an idea, stemming from a belief, that through it’s consistent
identity, experience and the positive emotional investment (PEI) of shareholders,
creates sustainable benefit”.
1.9 DIVISION OF CHAPTERS The research will be presented in the following format:
CHAPTER ONE Chapter one of this research project will comprise of the following aspects: The
title, introduction, background of the research, statement of the research
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problem, aims of the research, clarification of concepts, division of chapters and
conclusion.
CHAPTER TWO In this chapter a literature study will be undertaken. The focus is on aspects of
the branding of a school.
CHAPTER THREE Chapter three will outline the empirical research design and data collection
methods.
CHAPTER FOUR This chapter will provide the analysis of data from the empirical study conducted
and will link it with the existing information from the literature study.
CHAPTER FIVE Chapter five will summarize the findings of the literature review in chapter two
and the empirical findings in chapter four. This chapter will also provide
guidelines for the SMTs in the…