Brand Communication Strategy Assessment Analysis
- Subject: Marketing
- Words Count: 2500
- Citation/Referencing Style: APA
- Academic Standard Level: Master’s
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In the brand strategy paper, you should give a detailed overview of the brand’s communication program and its development over time, an assessment of the health of the brand, an analysis of the sources of brand equity and own recommendations to improve and leverage that brand equity. Thus, the final brand audit paper must include three parts:
- A comprehensive summary of the company’s branding program and its historical development
- A small, exploratory or descriptive empirical research study
- A detailed analysis that proposes recommendations to the firm’s current branding strategy
Before starting with the first part, provide an introduction in which it is made clear why the particular brand was chosen. A good brand choice usually consists of a brand that faces some specific challenge or problem, which can lead into a concrete problem definition (e.g., a brand that has low sales and wants to do something about it through branding; a brand that wants to enter a new branding market in another country; a brand that wants to target new segments with their campaigns; a brand that wants to get rid of negative brand associations; etc.). Having a clear challenge (the why of conducting the brand audit) makes it easier to formulate clear aims of the paper from the very beginning.
The first part of the brand audit is a brief description of the firm’s current branding programs and its development. This involves an analysis of the firm’s brand elements (e.g., logos, symbols, packaging, slogans, trademarks), brand hierarchy, brand portfolio, strategic branding alliances, the brand’s current positioning in the marketplace, and of how the firm is addressing branding through each of the marketing mix elements.
In the second part of the brand audit, each student needs to conduct a small, exploratory or descriptive empirical research study (quantitative or qualitative) to identify consumers’ knowledge structures (attributes associated with the brand, uniqueness of associations, favorability, attitude toward the brand, engagement with the brand, etc.). Alternatively, students can try to gather this information from published research. The purpose of this small study is to provide you with insights to go forward in suggesting specific brand recommendations in the final part of the brand audit. To make these recommendations as solid and sound as possible, consumers’ insights turn out to be very helpful.
In the last part of the brand audit (and most important part!), each student needs to provide recommendations concerning how the brand should move forward. These recommendations about the brand strategy should be based on: 1) the acquired knowledge of all the branding topics from the course meetings, as well as the weekly academic readings (try to formulate recommendations that are really based on the topics that we discuss in the course); 2) the results of the small study that has been conducted regarding consumers’ insights. Excellent recommendations are based on thorough analysis of the results of your market research as well as the theories and concepts discussed in the course (while at the same time being practically feasible and of direct relevance for the brand).
Write-up guidelines: The findings and recommendations should be summarized in the individual brand strategy paper. The paper must be 2,500 words (approx. 10 pages; 10% margin allowed, not including figures, references, appendices, exhibits and the like). The pages should be numbered. The paper should further have a meaningful title, a list of references used (APA 6th or 7th), and include your name and student number on the first page. Regarding the layout, anything is allowed as long as it looks professional.
Formulate your paper coherently, concisely and directly, and make good use of headings and subheadings. Grammatical errors, typos, unsubstantiated claims, sloppy argumentation, and poorly organized thoughts take away from the quality and credibility of your work, and will negatively affect your grade.
A couple of tips
- Try to choose a brand with a specific problem or challenge (see earlier). Big brands (e.g., Nike, Apple, etc.) usually already have successful branding campaigns, which makes it more difficult to suggest new, relevant recommendations. Working with smaller brands that do not have an elaborate branding plan gives you the opportunity to provide helpful suggestions to their branding campaign strategy.
- In the small empirical part, the golden advice would be: know what you want to study. Explain which parts of brand equity (e.g., brand knowledge, associations, image, etc.) you want to investigate, and why. So provide a clear argumentation here. A good way to do this, is to think of the initial problem definition, and try to identify relevant elements to investigate that address the identified brand challenges.
- Recommendations should be very specific and concrete, and try to provide examples of how the brand should translate your recommendations on a practical level (e.g., do not only suggest that brand A should do brand storytelling, but also provide an example of an actual storyline, explain through which channels you want to distribute this story, with what aims and goals, etc.). So try to be really specific.
- Try to be convincing in your recommendations. Do not provide a couple of loose suggestions, but really think of a coherent branding plan or campaign that consists of several recommendations that are all important pieces of a bigger picture.
- Refrain from suggesting easy and straightforward recommendations: e.g., “our recommendation is to lower the price of the branded product” or “the brand should be on social media”). These will not be counted as useful recommendations.
- Try to engage in a critical reflection about your recommendations as well. Think of the pro’s and con’s of your suggested branding strategy.
- Optional: use the appendix if you want to include additional materials (e.g., the questionnaire, the interview transcripts, some images of a new suggested campaign, etc.).