Mini-MBA: Brand Development & Marketing Communications Curriculum

Building Your Brand

You believe in brand development and marketing communications and want to see it succeed in your organization. How can you apply the lessons and insights from this program to your own business scenario in order to bring your company's brand to life?

During this session, we'll discuss the fundamentals for building an effective brand and how to solve for gaps in your brand’s ability to create effective communication programs at your organization. Additionally, we’ll identify the steps needed to unify the appropriate marketing communications tools to send the consumer a consistent, persuasive message that helps meet the communications goal of driving brand salience.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to turn a product or service into a brand
  • Understanding your brand's core value/identity
  • The 10 challenges that inhibit integrated marketing communications (IMC) results
  • A 7-step "FOCUSED" model for delivering successful integrated marketing communications

The IMC Imperative

In this digital age, various media types have burst onto the scene to provide more cost-effective and targeted methods to engage with audiences. Efficient and effective delivery of consistent and powerful brand messages requires inter-organization and cross-platform alignment. This session will establish why integrated communications should not be considered an option, but an imperative.

Through thought-provoking discussion and case study examples, participants will gain an understanding of why IMC is still relevant and critical to future success.

Key Takeaways:

  • How the changing media landscape is impacting marketing
  • Strategic platforms and aligning the marketing mix
  • Why no channel or department lives in a silo
  • Business planning and organizational structure implications
  • The importance and the necessity for having an integrated marketing communications plan
  • Tying marketing strategy to business objectives vis-à-vis the marketing brief

Market Research & Insights

As business professionals seek to gather consumer insight and market intelligence within an aggressive digital environment, the critical challenge becomes how to balance traditional metrics with contemporary analytics and external forces.

Quantitative research [QT] asks the questions and qualitative research [QL] questions the answers. Good business decisions need both types of metrics and an increased focus on motivations of the consumer to determine not only the value of products, ideas, and services, but also which factors pull consumers toward – or push them away from – media, social media, products, ideas, and services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Types of QT and QL research methods, and when to apply them
  • Solid research starts with a great brief
  • Everything that counts cannot be measured
  • The specifics of planning for QL research and the power of effective questions
  • Design thinking is an expanded model to drive innovation, meaningful propositions
  • How research informs strategic decision-making, as evidenced through case studies

Brand Message Distribution

How can you ensure you’re developing the optimal strategy for distributing your brand’s message? This module will provide you with the information necessary to develop relevant, actionable media strategies (or assess those created by others on your behalf), so that you can feel confident that your media executions are based on a solid foundation.

In this session, we will cover key terms used in establishing message distribution strategies, the six key elements all strategies should include, options for budget setting, how to take your strategies to the next level by leveraging target audience insights, and questions you should ask. Discussion will encompass various media types, direct and branding efforts, and B2B and B2C campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

  • How a media strategy differs from and complements creative and business strategies
  • What’s needed to develop strong strategies
  • Questions to ask when creating and evaluating media strategies
  • How media strategies affect executions
  • Ways to stay current on the changing media environment

Media Activation

Today’s consumers expect a seamless and authentic experience whether they begin their shopping journey on a search engine or their favorite social media site. Although this task can seem daunting –especially in an ever-fragmenting media landscape, cutting corners in an effort to speed up media activation does not decrease risk. As a matter of fact, it adds to it.

This module will address the media buying terms and strategies involved when investing in media.  You will be in a better position to influence your company’s decisions around committing to media spending when the timing is optimal to maximize quality and efficiencies of the media available.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why today’s changing media consumption among consumers requires marketers to remain current on pricing and buying methods
  • Understanding the metrics behind the media
  • Digital media buying considerations and KPIs, plus media attribution
  • The importance of tracking and optimizing purchased media throughout the life of the buy

Marketing in a Digital Age

The fast-paced world of marketing changes on a continuous basis, and with such a high rate of innovation, it can be challenging to keep up with all of the latest tools, tactics, and technologies, as well as to separate the necessary from the "noise."

From storytelling to neuromarketing, artificial intelligence (AI), customer journey mapping and beyond, we'll dissect the most important marketing trends and how to strategically apply them to your integrated marketing plans.

Key Takeaways:  

  • The differentiating factor of being consumer-centric
  • Why storytelling is the rule, not the exception
  • New approaches to getting to know your consumer

Influential & Immersive Forces

This module provides an overview of key digital methodologies and related tactics which foster relevant engagement on a person-to-person level. The effectiveness of some of these approaches may not have been easy to quantify in the past, but they have evolved into sophisticated tools that drive both meaningful and measurable results.

Key Takeaways:  

  • Public Relations: How this discipline has been reshaped for a digitally-driven society
  • Influencer Marketing: Its evolution and rise from product endorsements, and the related social responsibility implications
  • Event Marketing: Turning consumers’ needs for human, in-person experiences into measurable and scalable results
  • Search Marketing: How individuals search and find information about brands, and the specific, tactical opportunities for relevant communication

Global & Diversity Marketing

With the array of options through which to target and engage prospective consumers, marketers recognize that it’s no longer possible to speak to all prospects in the same way –a concept that is particularly critical in a multicultural, global marketplace.

How can you engage your diverse audiences in a relevant manner, both domestically and internationally? This module of the program will provide the foundation to plan and execute marketing communications in a way that supports the often-cited phrase, “Think global, act local.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Global marketing is complicated: The global and US landscapes are rapidly changing
  • Understanding culture is critical: Data collection and analysis have limitations
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Considerations for successful IMC planning and execution have expanded; external stakeholder interests, recruitment and employee retention are now key
  • Execution rules/considerations: 6 guidelines to keep in mind

Alignment for Success

IMC refers not only to integrating multiple media channels into your marketing strategy, but also to integrating the various parties who are creating and sharing brand messages across this multitude of channels. Unifying and aligning the thinking and output of internal departments (such as PR, sales, and customer service) as well as external partners (for example, agencies) is critical to maximizing IMC results.

Marketers must optimize strategic planning and empower partners to deliver results through measurable tactics. This module will focus on goal setting and measurement tools to properly manage expectations for all partners in the face of competing priorities, agendas, and cross-organizational politics.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why alignment of both internal and external resources is critical to IMC success
  • Best practices for selecting and working with advertising agencies in the modern marketing environment
  • Driving and supporting collaborative behaviors
  • Ways to ensure that partnerships remain healthy, productive, and strong

Final Thoughts on Branding

In this final module of the program, we will return to where it all began and reexamine the core components of branding - now with a fresh perspective after reviewing the subsequent sections of the course.

Apart from serving as a journey back for review purposes, the goal of this session is to help you synthesize your learning into a series of action items that you can bring back to your organizations.

Program Overview

For an overview of our Mini-MBA: Brand Development & Marketing Communications program plus program benefits and outcomes, please click here.