Professor Balmer invited to the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Professor John M.T. Balmer (Professor of Corporate Marketing) accepted an invitation from Professor Klement Podnar (Professor/Chair of Marketing Communications and Public Relations) at the University of Ljubljana, to visit during the week commencing 14th October, 2019.

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University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


During his visit, Professors Balmer and Podnar worked on a number of collaborative initiatives. Currently they are both serving as guest editors of a special edition of the Journal of Business Research, which draws on papers presented at the 20th International Corporate Identity Group (ICIG) Symposium. The Symposium was held in Slovenia last year, and hosted by Professor Podnar.


Professor Balmer is the Founder and Chairman of the ICIG.

Celebrated author and railway expert, Andrew Martin, delivers guest lecture to MSc Corporate Brand Management students

Andrew Martin, celebrated author of the books “Night Trains”and Belles and Whistles,” which variously focus on the world’s iconic overnight train sleeper services, delivered a guest lecture to students on the MSc Corporate Brand elective on Corporate Brand Management and Consultancy on February 5th.


Picture shows Andrew Martin (centre) and Dr Sharifah Alwi with MSc Corporate Brand students


The guest lecture was at the suggestion of Professor John M.T. Balmer and was organised by Dr Sharifah Alwi (programme leader). Dr Alwi noted:

“This was a superb lecture which captivated and entranced all of us.  Andrew Martin provided an authoritative overview of Night Train sleeper services and gave insightful answers to students who are working on a real-time project on the British Caledonian Sleeper service.”


Professor John Balmer added:

“Andrew was a natural choice to give the guest lecture for this elective given his widely recognised expertise on sleeper services.  Having heard him speak about his work on BBC Radio 4 it was readily apparent that here was someone who could provide in-depth  insights on the Caledonian Sleeper company with verve and passion which can be found in his writing on railways including his railway detective novels about Jim Stringer. I know the students were thrilled that he read extracts from his books during his guest lecture. This is something, I believe, the students will always remember.”



MSc Corporate Brand students invited to the head office of Caledonian Sleeper in Inverness, Scotland

As part of their three-day project field visit to Scotland, focusing on the iconic Caledonian Sleeper train service, twenty students on the MSc course in Corporate Brand Management were invited by Kim-Thain (Marketing Manager)and Jane-Spencer (Guest Relations Manager) to visit the company’s headquarters in Inverness, on January 30th.

During their visit, the postgraduate students were given presentations by Kim Thain and Jane Spencer, and this was followed by an extensive Q&A session. Earlier that morning, the students had travelled from Fort William to Inverness on a two-hour coach journey through the dramatic, snow-covered, Scottish Highland countryside and passed Loch Ness.


Photo taken in Caledonian Sleepers’ HQ showing Marketing Manager Kim-Thain and Guest Relation Manager, Jane-Spencer at Caledonian Office, Invernessalong with MSc Corporate Brand students and Dr Sharifah Alwi and Professor John M.T Balmer


The field visit was organised by Dr. Sharifah Alwi (programme leader) and Professor John MT Balmer who jointly teach the elective on Corporate Brand Management and Consulting. The organisers would like to express their sincerest appreciation to the Head of Brunel Business School, Professor Jane Hendy and to the Director for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Grigorios Theodosopoulos for their support for this academic trip.

Professor John Balmer & Dr Sharifah Alwi organise research trip on the iconic Caledonian Night Train to Scotland: “The best sleeper journey in the world”

On the evening of Monday, 28th January, 20 postgraduate students on the MSc in Corporate Brand Management boarded the celebrated Caledonian Sleeper service from London’s Euston Station to Fort William. This is ‘the best overnight sleeper journey in the world according’, according to Lonely Planet.


The journey was part of their “live” case study assignment of the Caledonian Sleeper corporate brand, for their elective module on corporate brand consultancy and management. In selecting this iconic train brand for the assignment, Professor Balmer noted:

“The Caledonian Sleeper brand is a perfect case for our postgraduates in that whilst the corporate brand is small in scope it enjoys a global iconic heritage status. Moreover, at a time when most countries are ending their sleeper services, this brand is being reinvigorated with a 150 million pound investment which will see the introduction of new, state of the art, en-suite sleeper carriages which will come into service later on this year. We will be traveling on the 40 year old sleeper carriages before they are withdrawn in order to assess the problems and opportunities faced by the brand during a period of considerable change. The project is very much a dual collaboration between Dr Alwi and Professor Balmer, with Dr Alwi taking care of the logistics for the field visit.”


Brunel University’s Business School’s MSc in Corporate Brand Management was the first of its kind in the world. Launched in 2007, this is the first time a field visit spanning several days was been organised. Students on this year’s course come from the Far East, India, South America, Continental Europe and the UK.


MSc Marketing student, Kariem Ali, presents findings from his research at Future of Electric & Hybrid Vehicles conference

Kariem Ali, an MSc Marketing student at Brunel Business School, participated in the Future of Electric & Hybrid Vehicles conference, which took place at ExCel London, as part of the Battery Technology Show.

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Alongside two other experts, Kariem discussed the topic of ‘Driving Sustainability and Efficiency in the next generation electric vehicles’. Kariem’s talk derived from his MSc dissertation, which investigated consumer purchase intentions towards electric vehicles in the UK. Kariem shared some of the results from the survey that he developed for his dissertation, and which looked at consumers’ environmental concerns, their attitudes, the role of social influence and moral obligation, and the perceived benefits and barriers towards purchasing electric vehicles.

Brunel Business School’s MSc Marketing programme is designed for anyone wishing to become a marketing professional or planning to undertake marketing research in an academic or commercial setting. Those with little or no marketing experience will appreciate the breadth of management subjects covered in the degree, specifically how marketing fits within the overall organisation practice. The programme is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and also offers the option of a placement. Find out more about this programme here.

Brunel expert on heritage branding, cited by leading German newspaper “Die Welt”

The recent Royal Wedding has generated renewed international interest in the Monarchy and the “Monarchy as a Corporate Brand” notion co-created by Professor John M.T. Balmer of Brunel Business School (with scholars from Harvard Business School and Lund University, Sweden).


The leading German newspaper “Die Welt” (analogous to the UK’s Economist magazine), in the week leading up to the Royal Wedding, published an in-depth overview of the monarchy which included input from Professor Balmer. Drawing on his published output, the article noted how the Monarchy, as with the Papacy, is unquestionably a global brand. Professor Balmer also reflects how the image of Queen Elizabeth is, arguably, one of the most recognisable images known to mankind.



Professor Balmer along with Professors Greyser (HBS) and Dr Urde (Lund University, Sweden) are celebrated for their ground-breaking study of the Swedish Monarchy where, over a two year period, they were granted unprecedented access to the Royal Family of Sweden along with senior figures within Sweden’s Royal Household. Professor Balmer subsequently published articles specifically on the British Monarchy and on those Commonwealth Realms which share the Queen as their sovereign. Scholarship on the Crown as a corporate brand notion by Balmer, Greyser and Urde led to the aforementioned formally introducing the corporate heritage brand notion in 2006 and, over the last decade, Professor Balmer has been closely associated with developments in the territory.

Professor John M.T. Balmer achieves milestone with well-over 100,000 downloads on ResearchGate


Professor John M.T. Balmer (Professor of Corporate Marketing and Director of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group) has passed a significant milestone with the news that his published output has resulted in over 100, 000 downloads on ResearchGate (currently over 110,000 downloads). ResearchGate is an online community for scientists and researchers.



Reflecting on the news Professor Balmer mused: “Whilst, arguably, there are more significant measures apropos published output it does, all the same, give me particular pleasure to know that my published output reaches a sizeable audience at home and abroad.  This, I believe is in accordance with our University’s implicit corporate brand promise. The news came as a very pleasant surprise.”

Dr. Sharifah Faridah Syed Alwi delivers key-note presentations in Indonesia and Malaysia


Recently, Dr Alwi (Senior Lecturer within the marketing and corporate brand research group) delivered a key note presentation to 30 SMEs at a two day workshop at the Tabung Haji Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, organised by The Cooperation of the cooperative Council of Malaysia (ANGKASA). She also gave a Keynote address at the 1st International Conference on Community and Service Engagement, in Medan, Indonesia.


The presentations were based on the collaborative empirical research on SMEs undertaken by Dr. Sharifah Faridah Syed Alwi; Professor John M.T. Balmer; Dr. Cristina Stoian (all at Brunel Business School) and Professor Philip Kitchen (Salford University). This research investigated how marketing communication (MC) and corporate communication (CC) strategies are developed and conducted within the firm.

David Bernstein, MSc Corporate Brand advisory board member and “father” of the corporate communications field, dies

blog1The very belated news of the death of David Bernstein (August 25, 2017) will sadden both current and former faculty, students, and advisory board members associated with the MSc in Corporate Brand Management.


David Bernstein was a prominent founding member of the MSc Corporate Brand Management Advisory Board and was active in the delivery of half-day workshops for the school’s corporate brand students.


Often credited as the “father” of the corporate communications field he was also celebrated as one of the UK’s leading communications creatives and was the founder of the celebrated consultancy “The Creative Business” which had many prominent corporate clients such as Unilever. He is celebrated for having two of his advertisements broadcast on the first night of the launch of Commercial Television and in being responsible for the longest running TV ad jingle for Esso.


Professor John M.T. Balmer notes: “I had the pleasure of knowing David since the early 1990s and his insightful thinking on corporate communications, identity, and branding have exerted a huge influence on successive generations of marketing scholars including those at Brunel Business School. We have lost a giant in the field: David will be greatly missed.”

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the ground-breaking MSc in Corporate Brand Management

Established in 2007, with Professor John M.T. Balmer as its first Director, the pioneering MSc in Corporate Brand Management has “come of age” as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Over the last 10 years, the course has attracted students from all parts of the globe and former students now hold prominent corporate brand management positions.


MSc Corporate Brand Management Students (2015-2016) at the final group presentations for the Corporate Brand Management Consultancy Elective with Course Director, Dr Sharifah Alwi (front row centre) and the two external assessors from the consultancy industry.


Its launch – just 12 years after the formal introduction of the corporate brand concept in 1995 – was trailblazing in that it, arguably, was the first Master’s degree anywhere in the world to have corporate brands as its explicit focus.



The foundational work on corporate brand scholarship has taken place in the UK. Therefore, it was fitting that a British University should be the first to offer this degree. In launching this degree, Brunel University, as a prominent London-based University, was able to capitalise on London’s status as the capital of corporate brand management and consulting.


Moreover, the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research group at Brunel Business School then – and now – has an international profile vis-à-vis its research and scholarship in the corporate branding field.  Professor John M.T. Balmer is, sometimes, credited with formally introducing the corporate brand notion in 1995 and was the first academic to be appointed to a personal chair in corporate brand management at Bradford University. As such, the course is greatly informed by the research and scholarship undertaken by Marketing and Corporate Brand faculty.



In remaking on the anniversary, the Director of MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi, commented: “The 10th anniversary of the degree is a time for real celebration and an opportunity for us to re-engage with our former students who are working across the globe. Thanks are also due to colleagues who have served as Directors of the programme including Professor Balmer, Professor Melewar, Professor Gupta and Dr Heller”

Professor John M.T. Balmer who, as the first director of the course (and who still teaches on the degree) notes: “It has been a huge privilege to be associated with this degree and to have taught so many excellent students, many of whom are now working in the corporate branding sector.”


Professor John MT Balmer Founding-Director of the MSc in Corporate Brand Management


We would like to hear from past students – about your experiences and where you are now. If you are a graduate, contact the Director of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi:


Director of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi