Every February, as part of the module “Strategic Corporate Branding Management and Consulting”, students of MSc Corporate Brand Management conduct a brand audit for a given company and recommend their own strategies for improving the brand.
This year, the students worked on The Cambridge Satchel Company brand, and successfully pitched their recommendations to a panel of internal and external branding experts. The panel was headed by Programme Director Dr Sharifah Alwi and by Professor John Balmer, and included industry experts Mr Kim Cohen (CEO from MountView Consulting UK) and Mr Mark Davies (Director of Bellewood Consulting), as well as the Business School’s own Divisional Lead in Marketing, Dr Ana Canhoto, who is a subject specialist in Social Media and Digital Marketing, plus Consumer and Brand expert, Dr Marcia Christina Ferreira.
Dr Sharifah Alwi, the Programme Director, who looks forward to the event each year, extolled the good work of her students:
“I am very proud to see the professionalism and critical corporate brand strategies presented by the teams. The question-and-answer session was long and demanding, but the students managed to maintain their professionalism throughout, and responded with passion.
I am pleased that they exhibited team effort when convincing the panel in the best possible way about why their strategy was better than the competitors’, and were able to develop critical ground for the brand. This is a yearly activity that provides a real industry experience to our students, not only helping their future careers as brand consultants, but also in the pursuit of excellence in branding and marketing.”
Mr Mark Davis, one of the external brand consultants on the panel, commented:
“Overall, I feel that the session was a pretty realistic role play, based on my many years of being involved on pitches, so well done to yourselves and the participants. The groups presented with confidence and handled the challenges well.
Each had an element of creativity in their pitch which helps to create audience engagement and chemistry. They also demonstrated great listening skills and weren’t afraid to defend their position.
I loved their opening pitch, starting to explore around brand identity as a personification. There is some good work in this area in the marketing arena to support the value of this thinking. Their exploration of the framework was well articulated.”
Group photo (sitting down) from left to right, Dr Sharifah Alwi (Module Leader), Industry guest 1: Mr. Kim Cohen (MountView Consulting), Industry Guest 2: Mr. Mark Davis (Bellewood Consulting) and Internal panellist 1: Dr. Ana Canhoto
Standing from left to right: Student Group 1 – Paulina, Pearl, Vivi and Ying Han, Internal panellist 2: Dr. Marcia Christina, Professor John Balmer (Head of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group) and Student Group 2: Faye, Zainab, Queena and Zoe.
The students offered the following reflections on their experience:
“The overall experience on the module is positive. We were able to practice the theories and frameworks learned from the first semester towards the final presentation in front of the professional panel. The division into smaller groups and the bonding that was created between the group members is invaluable.”
“The class offered a chance put taught theory into practice. Through the group work we were able to share ideas with classmates from different cultures. The ideas that came up in our rehearsals were not only useful for the assessment, but also future work. In the final presentation, we benefited a lot from the brand experts who were invited to give opinions and suggestions.”
“The presentation provided us with the opportunity to learn about consulting in a real business context. In our teamwork everyone enjoyed themselves and got inspired by brainstorming. In every meeting, we were able to improve ourselves and to think more critically about corporate branding. Also, thanks to the helpful feedback from the Professors and experienced panellists, we will improve in our research abilities.”
“We worked as a team which is great because we have to work like this in the workplace environment. More than the study we have to get along with our group members. Furthermore, the corporate brand audit is useful, and this module made me understand consultancy more clearly which has its foundation in corporate branding and corporate identity.”
“As corporate brand consulting experience, it caused us to re-think and utilise what we learnt in class. We also got great support and training in critical thinking and presentation skills by our professors. After the presentation, we received useful feedback from the experienced panellists who had lots of passion and ideas in consulting”
“The presentation provided us with insight on how real consulting works. We received helpful feedback and recommendations from the experienced panel which we intend to use to improve both content and presentation skills for the future. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience – one I wish we had more of as we prepare to go out in the real world.”
“This presentation is a process of learning from theory to practice. It’s a chance for teamwork and we learned from every member of the team. We received lots of useful feedback in the preparation process, during and after the presentation, which will be of great help to our future work.”
For more programme stories, see below:
Celebrating the 10thAnniversary of MSc Corporate Brand Management
Study a CIM qualification alongside your Brunel degree