Strategic Brand Consulting
The environment in which brands communicate with consumers is changing, and changing quickly. Corporations are increasingly hiring agencies to help them better understand how to delight their customers. Agencies, in turn, need to develop processes and strategies to stay relevant in this changing environment. This course will take the theory of brand and make it real by solving meaty brand challenges facing a variety of industries today. How do we move from the theoretical to the practical? We will examine such fundamentals as brand positioning, brand activation and research methods, and move on to innovation, strategy, storytelling and other specialized skills. Students will complete this course with a set of tools that can be used to tackle real-world brand issues applicable across a range of professions.
Brands and Visual Language
What is a brand’s visual language? How can household name brands elevate themselves from known to loved? When a brand tells a compelling and consistent story, the established emotional narrative resonates in the minds of consumers and creates a loyalty many challenger brands covet. When this happens, branding can elevate the consumer into the ultimate marketing tool: the brand ambassador.
Cause Branding & Marketing
Every brand has a story to tell about its mission, its character and its achievements: a story that defines, humanizes and differentiates. Expressed well, these stories engage, influence and prompt devoted and knowledgeable “brand ambassadors” to take important action. In this course, students will examine and investigate how to tell brand stories with a purpose, in an effort to advance the strategic goals of philanthropies and companies “doing good” through smart, contemporary and effective cause marketing, communications and strategic partnerships.
A visual system needs to be strong for a company to conquer new territory, and this understanding is the first step for the potential growth of a brand beyond its core offering. Once a brand is “loved” for delivering on its brand promise, it is rewarded with a loyal and dedicated customer base and is now ideally positioned to explore new market opportunities. Great brands such as Harley-Davidson, Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic are companies that have expanded well beyond their initial product or service offering, and enhanced their status in consumers’ lives. In this course, we will look at how to take a strong brand and expand it. Students will study the branding of their chosen company, and explain how it is unified in its vision, what its simple message is and how it amplifies its brand though a reinforced visual system. With this foundation, students will create a “pitch presentation” for how the brand can be expanded into an exciting new line of business.
Practices in Design and Market Research
Brands have historically relied heavily on marketing techniques to help establish and strengthen their presence. That is changing quickly, as instant global communication and various forms of social networking have replaced the need for consumers to rely on brands for confidence in a purchase. In this project-based course, students will learn how to create a research plan, find participants, and integrate research methods in the context of a specific branding project. Some of the topics explored will be qualitative, quantitative, online and ethnographic interview techniques, video and photo documentary, immersion, participant-aided data gathering, prototype assisted observation, methods for organizing data, finding patterns and distilling insights that lead to actionable and inspiring design directives. We will also explore the differences between market research and design research, and understand the goals and appropriateness of each.
Analysis, Insight and Forecasting
Cultural change is neither unpredictable nor random. The seeds of the next are buried in the now, in the psyche of the individual and in the collective mind called “culture.” In this course, students will learn to read deeply and carefully the cultural signs that surround them in order to recognize underlying patterns and learn to translate these patterns into actionable human and cultural insights, valuable throughout the lifecycle of any product or brand. We will also explore how to leverage trend analysis to forecast paradigmatic shifts in human behavior and culture as well as in the marketplace. Students will complete the course with the means to identify and leverage the patterns underlying the most powerful and beloved cultural artifacts and brands
Brand Planning: Inside the Ad Agency
Brand Strategy is one of those rare jobs that lives at the intersection of fun and challenging. Still an evolving discipline here in the US, it's also one we can and must define for ourselves. Where do agency brand planners fit into the strategic process? What's a strategy statement? How can we support a strong planning culture inside the agency and among our clients?
We will not only uncover core brand truths and guide design strategy, but illustrate consumer truths and insights that motivate people to interact with brands.
This course will cover:
- The role of a brand planner within the agency
- Bringing a consumer target to life for a creative and client audience
- Crafting the agency creative brief
- Selling your strategy internally and to the client
How much is fun worth? How did Twitter set its IPO price at $26 a share? Can one predict sustainability? We shall build a crystal ball to see into the future and attempt to quantify the unquantifiable, exploring different approaches to brand valuation modeling.
Dynamic discussions will arise from readings and exercises, putting a lens on the emotional quotient, intangible assets, and the many forces that shape brand value from old corporations to startups. We’ll touch on future, globalization, change, technology, personal branding, critical thinking, culture and lifestyle--the economic principles that drive the world.
A Brand Called You
The good news: We are now living in what Businessweek has called a “creative economy.” The bad news: More than ever before, design will be called upon to deliver a return on investment and measured performance in the marketplace. How can you truly quantify your talent and develop strategic and competitive intelligence? How can you quantify meaningful differentiation in a world already filled with branding firms, creative strategists and brand gurus?
This course will address: How to create a meaningful philosophy that can guide your career; how to present yourself in meetings and interviews; how to network and standout from your competition; how to create discipline in your approach to work, and how to sell yourself with more confidence.