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Branding & Integrated Communications

Course Descriptions

Foundation Courses:

B2000 Research & Awareness (3 credits) In order to formulate a strategic message for use in an integrated communications campaign, some basic questions need to be answered: Who are we trying to reach? What environment will we be communicating in? How can we better understand our client and the challenges at hand? This course teaches students the quantitative and qualitative research methods to best answer these questions with a special focus on online resources – including electronic databases, blogs and other ways of tracking grassroots market intelligence. Students will become familiar with library resources and develop the skills, practices, and mindset required for graduate studies in the communications field. Smaller papers throughout the semester will be the basis of a larger, final analysis & individual presentation of an actual brand or public relations case study.

B2001 Strategy & Measurement  (3 credits) The focus of this course is to teach students how to transform research data and findings into meaningful insights that become the basis for dynamic strategies that build and sustain brand identity. Students will not only learn how to construct incisive strategies for advertising and integrated communications campaigns, but appreciate the value of  long-term scenario planning as a necessity of brand management. Tools to evaluate the viability of strategies before implementation will be examined. Case studies will be analyzed to determine how well existing brands differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

B2002 Idea Development  (3 credits)  Students will learn how to translate a strategic message into a “big idea” that helps to create and nurture a brand’s essence as it captures the consumer’s imagination. This process- and critique-based course explores the distinction between strategic language and creative expression. Students will appreciate the building blocks of brand expression. Techniques for storytelling as well as “storybuilding” will be explored. Case studies as well as self-generated content will be used to teach students the basics of brand expression, idea generation, how to recognize “big ideas,” and how to critique them in order to keep the message on strategy and make the work better.

B2003 Brand Experience (3 Credits) By using the strategic message as the anchor, today’s digital world enables communicators to create a 360 degree, multi-sensory experience. This survey class explores methods of creating brand experience in physical, digital, traditional, and experimental ways in the coordinated application of mass, personal, and social media. Emphasis will be given to how big data is used to drive messaging, elements to “on-brand” tactical executions, and how effective benchmarks and outcomes can be measured.


Specialization Requirements:


TRACK ONE: Account Management & Planning

B3003 Internal Management (3 credits) Despite the collaborative nature of creating advertising, this course focuses on ways to play a leadership role within the agency. As an industry of “idea development” and not the manufacture of goods, students learn the special challenges of evaluating creative work from strategy to concept development to execution. They will also learn about production, overseeing media planning, the art of persuasion, and understanding the various roles and functions at play in developing successful communications programs. Students will explore ways to cultivate an environment of productivity.

B3001 Relationship Building(3 credits) To understand an advertising client's business needs, one must understand how the client does business. Students will learn about advertising from within the context of marketing, business and commerce. An emphasis will also be placed on vendors/suppliers beyond the client, group dynamics, various selling and negotiation techniques, dynamic new ways to package client presentations, and innovative compensation models.

B3002 Consumer Behavior & Persuasion (3 Credits) This course is one part psychology and one part communication theory. It aspires to answer the questions: What makes people tick? How does communication work? Readings may include such seminal thinkers as BF Skinner, Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Malcolm Gladwell, Harold Innis, Everett Rogers as well as the most recent developments in the scientific field of demography.

 

Specialization Requirements:


TRACK TWO: Creative

B3010 Creative Concepts (3 credits) An advanced studio course for creative development of advertising concepts. Based on strategic thinking, students will have the opportunity to create a number of campaign concepts for print executions with an eye towards further development and inclusion in a spec book – or pre-professional portfolio.

B3011 Multi-Media Executions (3 credits) An advanced studio course that allows copywriting and art direction students to further refine rough campaign concepts in the creation of multi-media executions – from traditional print and broadcast to new media hybrids and more interactive advertising. Emphasis will be placed on developing a writer’s “voice” and an art director's visual finesse as students explore the convergence of brand and page personality in a series of individual projects.

B3012 Design & Portfolio Development (3 credits) An advanced studio course in the BIC Creative Track where students work in teams as art director/copywriter to apply design skills, polish writing, and utilize design software basics in order to digitally produce their existing campaigns for inclusion in their spec book and to upload to an online portfolio. Final critiques will include a formal portfolio review with industry professionals.

 

Specialization Requirements:


TRACK THREE: Public Relations

B3020 Stakeholder Analysis and Issues Management (3 credits -- AKA Branding Influentials) This course explores how certain individuals in a market have outsized influence on the market behavior, and how professional communicators can work with these particularly influential individuals. The practice of public relations is founded on a premise that communications is a self-perpetuating process that can be guided and focused by appropriate interventions. It is not a process of communicating to “everyone,” but a process of communicating to the “right people” whose behaviors and whose own communications will affect others. At times, public relations practitioners work with professional shapers of opinion: securities, technology, and economic analysts, cultural and fashion reviewers, and, nearly always, the media. At other times, public relations practitioners work to reach the Innovators and Early Adopters of the classic Production Adoption Curve. In recent years, the development of social and new media technologies has added another – and evolving – dimension to marketplace influentials.

B3021 Corporate Brand Communications (3 credits -- AKA Employees as Brand Icons & Evangelists) This course explores how professional communicators understand the dynamics of nurturing and maximizing the potential employees in the brand development process. Our experience of Starbuck’s Coffee baristas, Apple Store geniuses, Southwest Airlines flight attendants, Ritz Carlton doormen, and any number of other organizational employees is an integral dimension of the brands of those organizations. Even when employees do not interact with customers, their sincere belief and support of brand attributes and claims is a strong motivator of quality production. Whether it is in person at the barber shop or over Twitter, employees are often the front-line representatives of their employers’ brands.

B3022 Public Relations Branding Campaigns (3 credits -- AKA Branding Issues and Intangibles) This course explores how organizations create, sustain, and defend their brands through association with issues and intangibles. Brands are always, in part, based on intangible conceptual and emotional assets such as integrity, stability, leadership, innovation, and being cool. Brands also are associated with commitments to values such as environmental sustainability, human rights, community partnership, and national patriotism. Students in B3022 will examine and draw actionable insights from how organizations consciously choose commitments to issues and intangibles and then how they express those commitments in communications programs and strategic market position defense.

 

Electives

 

B2050 Strategic Media (3 credits) While Marshall McLuhan may have stated that “the medium is the message” back in 1964, achieving communication goals in today’s media landscape has never been more challenging. This course will examine the convergence of media and creative solutions to meet strategic ends as students study media outlets, planning, and buying, especially in the age of big data and digital outlets.

B2051 Leadership, Ethics, and Legal Issues (3 credits) Students advancing careers in business, government and non-profits benefit from a thorough understanding of leadership, its theories, its techniques and its lurking ethical traps.  This course examines the interplay between management and leadership, empowerment, mentoring, negotiation, change management and the special role of leadership in volunteer organizations.  Rapidly changing dynamics growing from flattening organizations, instantly available information and round-the-clock communication are considered.

B2053 Integrated Communications in a Shrinking World (3 credits) Integrated communications in a multi-language, multicultural context is becoming the norm rather than the exception.  This course examines the challenge of communications and advertising across linguistic, cultural, geographic, perceptual and national boundaries. This course also focuses on working with global actors beyond nation-states, including NGO’s, private standard initiatives, value chain certification, transnational entities and activists groups.  

Internships/ Co Op Education (3 credits) Students may take a one semester internship, working 12-15 hours per week over 15 weeks (or during summer) in a marketing communications capacity that offers them professional experience to complement their classroom work. Students write a comprehensive paper on their experience and are evaluated by their on-site supervisor.

 

Required Convergence Workshops

 

B3201 BIC Campaign Practicum – Not-for-Profit (3 credits) Working in teams as competing, fully functioning “communications firms,” students take this course in their penultimate semester to work on a semester-long project: an integrated marketing communications campaign for a non-profit organization (selected and coordinated by the instructor). Final projects will act as content for student portfolios required for completion of the program. 

B3201 BIC Campaign Practicum -  Corporate (3 credits) Working in teams as competing, fully functioning “communications firms,” students take this course in their final semester to work on a semester-long project: an integrated marketing communications campaign for an actual client either directly or in partnership with a NYC agency (selected and coordinated by the instructor). Final projects will act as content for student portfolios required for completion of the program.