Every day, from the moment we wake up to the sound of our iPhone alarm and drink our first sip of Starbucks, to the second we put down our Crest toothpaste and crawl into bed, we interact with brands. Great brands have been passionately, holistically, reverently and thoughtfully created and nurtured by managers within corporations with the support of consumers, researchers, trends experts, designers, engineers, anthropologists and strategists, to name a few. But how is design designed? How does a branded image transform from a business need to a tangible identity?
This course will unravel the pieces of the brand design process, and transport you from market-driven need to fully realized brand. We will begin with the mechanics of a corporation and a need as a business defines it, through the scenarios that occur as design managers and brand design firms respond, convince and create a brand identity. We will use actual business examples and work individually and in teams to create methodologies, develop guidelines, present and critique design and hone the art and science of creating a point of view worthy of a creative partnership.
One cannot argue that the environment in which brands communicate with consumers is changing, and changing quickly – what seems like every few minutes! Corporations, which can be clunky and unorganized, are
turning more and more to outside agencies to help them better understand how to delight their customers. Agencies, on the other hand, need to develop the right processes and strategies to stay relevant in this changing world.
This course is meant to take the theory of brand and make it real, by applying guiding principles to solve meaty brand challenges facing a variety of industries today. How do we move from theoretical to practical? The course covers fundamentals such as brand positioning, brand activation, and research methods, and moves into innovation strategy, storytelling, and other specialized skills. The students will leave the 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
Once the under-funded stepchild of mainstream brand marketing, the cause and pro-social marketing categories have skyrocketed in importance and popularity. Being associated with a good cause has never been more essential to building brand loyalty, preference and the path to purchase.
Consider this small sampling of facts:
• 79% of Americans say they would be likely to switch from one brand to another, when price and quality are about equal, if the other brand is associated with a good cause
• 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests
• Corporate cause sponsorship was at $1.68 billion in 2011, predicted to grow to $1.73 billion in 2012.
But what exactly is cause marketing and what separates successful campaigns and brand strategies from those with “room for improvement?” How does working with a non-profit differ from working with a corporation? What do non-profits and corporations really want from these partnerships for their own brands? What’s the difference between charity and strategic philanthropy?
This course will examine the history and insights of cause related branding and marketing.
We will review the anatomy of successful cause related campaigns, deconstruct and analyze the corporate / non-profit partnerships and their strategic underpinnings, and hone in on evaluation and the metrics of success.
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
In this course you will build a crystal ball to see into the future. Coca-Cola inc doesn't sell a product, they license their brand. Disney sells fun—how do you estimate the value of fun? How did Facebook arrive at the IPO price of $38 per share, or Google's $1.65 Billion purchase price for Youtube? Brands are considered financial assets, and a large proportion of Coke, Disney and Apple's revenue is contributed from the invisible balance sheet.
We'll attempt to quantify the unquantifiable, explore different approaches to brand valuation modeling and focus on Interbrand’s Income Approach. We will discuss value in business, in life, and in the intangible as well as the impact of time, risk and future. We'll touch on the economic principles that drive the world.
Discussions will be based on class readings, which will provide a platform for us to examine forces and dynamics that shape brands from traditional corporations to entrepreneurial startups. This class will touch on globalization, change, technology, personal branding, critical thinking, culture and lifestyle.
Glamour: Theory and Practice
Glamour focuses inchoate desires and embodies them in the image or idea of a person, a setting, an artifact, or occasionally a concept. As a psychological phenomenon and rhetorical tool, glamour is like humor. It is an imaginative experience in which communication and association create a recognizably consistent emotional response. With glamour the response is an enjoyable pang of projection, admiration, and longing. By binding image and desire, glamour gives us pleasure, even as it heightens our yearning. It makes us feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more.
This five-day seminar analyzes how glamour works as nonverbal persuasion. By considering the psychology of glamour and the elements all forms of glamour contain, we will develop an understanding of how it can be constructed or debunked as part of a branding effort. We will also look at a non-luxury brand, Moleskine, that draws on glamour in defining its identity.
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.