STRATEGIC BRAND MANAGEMENT
Professor Heather Kennedy
Office GSB 4.126K
Office Hours On request
Course Web Page TBD
Teaching Assistants Stephen Walls
The most valuable asset many firms have is their brand. In our global economy, production
and distribution can be replicated. But the emotion and attitudes shoppers have about their
brands cannot. Therefore many companies recognize that the investment they make in the
creation and communication of their brand will become a strategic differentiator in the future.
This class will focus on how to establish and grow brand equity, how to measure brand equity
and how to utilize this equity to create more profit and growth for your company.
Leadership and this Course
The Texas MBA program is designed to develop influential business leaders. The MBA
Program has identified four fundamental and broad pillars of leadership: knowledge and
understanding, communication and collaboration, responsibility and integrity, and a worldview
of business and society.
In this class you will understand the importance of brands and learn how to strategically
develop and grow these valuable assets. The philosophy of brand management is based on
working with and leading teams. You will enhance your collaboration skills through a team
projects. Integrity in brand management is critical and my hope is you will leave this course
knowing the importance of understanding what your customer wants and providing that
honestly within the context of your brand. Marketing should not be manipulative, but rather a
way to communicate the value and benefits of your company and/or products. Finally, we live
in a global society and you will learn techniques on how to manage brands across cultures.
My Teaching Philosophy
I want to provide you with a theoretical base of brand management and, most importantly, real
world examples and tools that will serve you well as you start your careers. I promise to share
with you what I’ve learned in my career thus far. In return, I expect you to come to class
prepared, ask questions and participate, and be respectful of your fellow students. I hope you
leave this class feeling that you have knowledge and tools that will serve you well as a brand
manager, a marketer, a consultant or an entrepreneur.
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This is a strategic marketing class that will require a high level of participation to be
successful. With that said, I do not feel the need to establish participation requirements. I
assume that your presence and investment in McCombs means you will come to class
prepared and share your thoughts and beliefs on brand management with the class. You will
learn much more from Stephen, myself and your fellow students if you actively engage in the
class. Be forewarned….if the conversation starts to lag, I will cold call! This is not an attempt
to embarrass you, but rather an opportunity to prepare you to speak on the spot about a
variety of topics, which you will no doubt have to do in your next job.
• Kevin Lane Keller, Strategic Brand Management, Third Edition
• Articles and cases provided in class or via Blackboard
1. Brand Case Discussions
Goal: Develop analysis skills, encourage preparation and critical thinking for class
discussions, and provide opportunities to speak in public about your thoughts and opinions.
Because managing a brand is more art than science, we will use case studies to explore
examples of brand management in action. While many of our case studies could cover a very
broad range of branding and marketing topics, we will try to keep our scope more limited to
the topics we are covering closely before and after the case study.
At the beginning of the semester, you all will be placed on teams based on your interests and
background. Each team will choose a brand for which they will prepare a case study for class
Responsibilities for the presenting team include:
Researching and identifying at least 5 articles that discuss your brand, industry, and its
issues (you’ll turn these articles in with your presentation and cite them within your
presentation) - we’ll discuss some good places to look for interesting articles
Selecting and distributing (by 5pm on Friday before the case is discussed) an
article/reading or two for your classmates to read in preparation for the discussion
(10-20 pages of reading).
Proposing a question for the rest of the class to consider and
Developing a presentation to use in leading a class discussion on the case that focuses
on the recommendations that you all have developed as well as any other questions
you think the class should consider - focus on teaching rather than presenting!
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Leading the class discussion, attempting to draw out the ways in which we can learn
from this case study
Presentations should be structured as follows:
1. Executive Summary: BRIEF (the key word here is “brief) summary of the industry, the
company and the issue that you are addressing.
2. Recommendations: Recommendations should be focused on the topic that your group is
assigned to consider.
3. Synthesis of the class concepts. Discussion and analysis should be based on the
concepts or models that we have been using in class and, in particular, those that are
focused on the topic that your group is assigned to consider. Certainly, you can present
ways in which your case study is contradictory to the models that we’ve been discussing.
4. Class discussion. You should attempt to motivate discussion in each part of your
presentation, but, at the very least, we will take an opportunity at this point to open up the
conversation for critical thinking and discussion.
5. Other interesting considerations and questions. Take an opportunity to present other
interesting aspects of this case study for us to discuss more broadly.
Responsibilities for all other students include:
Reading the assigned article(s) and being prepared for participating in the case
Writing a one-page response (single-spaced) to the question I will pose for the topic
and brand. Additionally, you may also consider the following questions - What did you
learn from the case? What other questions/factors would have been interesting to
consider? Do you connect it to any other brands? Are there any other analysis
approaches that would be especially interesting for this brand?
Providing feedback to the presenting team
Due Dates: See Course Schedule for Brand Case Discussion Dates
Goal: Display mastery use of brand analysis techniques for exploring and articulating the
basic sources of equity for a given brand and provide recommendations for improvement of
There will be two exams that will be based on our case studies, text, and class discussions.
The test will consist of short essay questions and you will generally be given a week to
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You will be expected to have read all of the material assigned, both by me and the student
groups presenting cases. You may also decide to conduct some research on your own.
Questions will be created to make sure you have an understanding of the brand’s equity
based on brand principles we discuss. You should also be forming thoughts about the health
of the brand today (including sub-brands), the best way for them to increase brand equity in
the future, and, ultimately, how the brand (and sub-brands) can be leveraged and managed to
make the company more successful.
Be aware that all of your answers must be your own, although you are certainly allowed to
discuss the exams with other classmates.
Exam Due Dates: March 21st & May 9th
Goal: Practice using brand building concepts using a brand that you know well (or should get
to know better).
Since 6th century B.C., “know thyself” has been a rallying cry of philosophers, psychologists,
and brand instructors. In that spirit, you get the opportunity to develop yourself as a brand.
Your task is to develop a branding proposal of you. While your presentation can be in any
format you choose – PowerPoint slides, presentation “storyboards”, printed, electronic, etc. – it
should include the following, at a minimum.
target audience (potential partners, friends, employers - all or any of those)
core brand values
brand association (mental) map
brand building pyramid
brand position map (current and future, if different) & positioning statement
secondary associations / co-branding entities
at least one brand element: brand name, logo, slogan, jingle, or character
optional extras that you can consider include: other brand elements, future directions
for your brand, and anything else that would add to your brand.
You should also add any notes to the presentation that help me understand it better. Because
you will not be there to present it to me directly, these notes will help further articulate your
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ideas. Grading for this assignment will be based on meeting the requirements above with an
appropriate amount of effort, detail, creativity, and use of class concepts.
To help you stay on top of this, you’ll need to keep a Brand Thyself Journal. I suggest that
you keep it electronically, but you can choose any format that works best for you. On the
class session after each of the topics listed above, you’ll need to turn in an update of your
journal that includes a first attempt at applying that concept to your own brand. You can
certainly change any of this before you turn in your final project, but I will be checking to make
sure you’ve made some attempt. For each update missed, a point will be deducted from your
final score on this project.
Due Date: April 4th
In grading, I will always be looking for effort, thought process, strategic thinking, connection of
class and business school concepts and problem solving skills. For all of the assignments
above, I’ve given you the minimum expected criteria. If you meet the expectations of those
criteria, you can expect a grade in the B to B+ range. Only as you exceed expectations will I
award scores in the A range. Be aware that in determining the final grade, I do not round up.
That is, if you receive anything lower than a 90.0, your grade will fall in the B grade range. Per
McCombs MBA guidelines, we will be using the +/- grading system in this class as follows:
A: 93.0 - 100 B+: 87.0 - 89.9 C+: 77.0 - 77.9 D+: 67.0 – 69.9 F: below 60.0
B: 83.0 - 86.9 C: 73.0 - 76.9 D: 63.0 - 66.9
A-: 90.0 - 92.9 B-: 80.0 - 82.9 C-: 70.0 – 72.9 D-: 60.0 – 62.9
I am happy to discuss grade concerns, but I have a few guidelines.
All discussions about grades must be in person. I will not discuss grades over email or by
In setting up an appointment, I ask that you wait 3 days after you receive the grade but no
more than 14 days. I want to be sure you have time to consider the grade in a rational
context, but I do expect you to address your concerns soon after the grade is returned.
I am rarely open to discussing grades after you have received your final grade, unless
there is a calculation error. I would prefer that you address grade concerns by
assignment, not just because you were expecting or hoping for a higher final grade.
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Maximum Points for Each Assignment
Brand Case Presentation – 20 points
Brand Case Written Responses – 3 points each; 21 points total
Exam 1 – 20 points
Brand Thyself – 14 points
Exam 2 – 25 points
McCombs Classroom Professionalism Policy
The highest professional standards are expected of all members of the McCombs community.
The collective class reputation and the value of the Texas MBA experience hinges on this.
Faculty are expected to be professional and prepared to deliver value for each and every
class session. Students are expected to be professional in all respects.
The Texas MBA classroom experience is enhanced when:
• Students arrive on time. On time arrival ensures that classes are able to start and finish
at the scheduled time. On time arrival shows respect for both fellow students and faculty
and it enhances learning by reducing avoidable distractions.
• Students display their name cards. This permits fellow students and faculty to learn
names, enhancing opportunities for community building and evaluation of in-class
• Students are fully prepared for each class. Much of the learning in the Texas MBA
program takes place during classroom discussions. When students are not prepared they
cannot contribute to the overall learning process. This affects not only the individual, but
their peers who count on them, as well.
• Students respect the views and opinions of their colleagues. Disagreement and
debate are encouraged. Intolerance for the views of others is unacceptable.
• Laptops are closed and put away. Suffice it to say…no laptops in my class.
• Phones and wireless devices are turned off. Try to remember to turn off your cell
phone. And please do not text during class. I appreciate that you all have a personal life,
but you really don’t need to nurture it at 8:00 in the morning.
I have no tolerance for acts of academic dishonesty. Such acts damage the reputation of the
school and the degree and demean the honest efforts of the majority of students. The
minimum penalty for an act of academic dishonesty will be a zero for that assignment or
The responsibilities for both students and faculty with regard to the Honor System are
described on http://mba.mccombs.utexas.edu/students/academics/honor/index.asp and on the
final pages of this syllabus. As the instructor for this course, I agree to observe all the faculty
Faculty name Course—Semester and Year page 7
responsibilities described therein. During Orientation, you signed the Honor Code Pledge. In
doing so, you agreed to observe all of the student responsibilities of the Honor Code. If the
application of the Honor System to this class and its assignments is unclear in any way, it is
your responsibility to ask me for clarification.
As specific guidance for this course, you should consider the writing of all examinations to be
an individual effort. Group preparation for examinations is acceptable and encouraged.
Homework assignments are to be turned in individually but I encourage you to work together
in answering the questions. You should, however, develop your own answer and not cut and
paste the work of others.
Students with Disabilities
Upon request, the University of Texas at Austin provides appropriate academic
accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. Services for Students with Disabilities
(SSD) is housed in the Office of the Dean of Students, located on the fourth floor of the
Student Services Building. Information on how to register, downloadable forms, including
guidelines for documentation, accommodation request letters, and releases of information are
available online at http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/ssd/index.php. Please do not hesitate to
contact SSD at (512) 471-6259, VP: (512) 232-2937 or via e-mail if you have any questions.
Honor Code Purpose
Academic honor, trust and integrity are fundamental to The University of Texas at Austin
McCombs School of Business community. They contribute directly to the quality of your
education and reach far beyond the campus to your overall standing within the business
community. The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business Honor System
promotes academic honor, trust and integrity throughout the Graduate School of Business.
The Honor System relies upon The University of Texas Student Standards of Conduct
(Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Service and Activities) for enforcement, but
promotes ideals that are higher than merely enforceable standards. Every student is
responsible for understanding and abiding by the provisions of the Honor System and the
University of Texas Student Standards of Conduct. The University expects all students to obey
the law, show respect for other members of the university community, perform contractual
obligations, maintain absolute integrity and the highest standard of individual honor in
scholastic work, and observe the highest standards of conduct. Ignorance of the Honor
System or The University of Texas Student Standards of Conduct is not an acceptable excuse
for violations under any circumstances.
The effectiveness of the Honor System results solely from the wholehearted and
uncompromising support of each member of the Graduate School of Business community.
Each member must abide by the Honor System and must be intolerant of any violations. The
system is only as effective as you make it.
Faculty Involvement in the Honor System
The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business Faculty's commitment to the
Honor System is critical to its success. It is imperative that faculty make their expectations
clear to all students. They must also respond to accusations of cheating or other misconduct
by students in a timely, discrete and fair manner. We urge faculty members to promote
awareness of the importance of integrity through in-class discussions and assignments
throughout the semester.
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Expectations Under the Honor System
If a student is uncertain about the standards of conduct in a particular setting, he or she
should ask the relevant faculty member for clarification to ensure his or her conduct falls within
the expected scope of honor, trust and integrity as promoted by the Honor System. This
applies to all tests, papers and group and individual work. Questions about appropriate
behavior during the job search should be addressed to a professional member of the Career
Services Office. Below are some of the specific examples of violations of the Honor System.
Lying is any deliberate attempt to deceive another by stating an untruth, or by any direct form
of communication to include the telling of a partial truth. Lying includes the use or omission of
any information with the intent to deceive or mislead. Examples of lying include, but are not
limited to, providing a false excuse for why a test was missed or presenting false information
to a recruiter.
Stealing is wrongfully taking, obtaining, withholding, defacing or destroying any person's
money, personal property, article or service, under any circumstances. Examples of stealing
include, but are not limited to, removing course material from the library or hiding it from
others, removing material from another person's mail folder, securing for one's self unattended
items such as calculators, books, book bags or other personal property. Another form of
stealing is the duplication of copyrighted material beyond the reasonable bounds of "fair use."
Defacing (e.g., "marking up" or highlighting) library books is also considered stealing,
because, through a willful act, the value of another's property is decreased. (See the appendix
for a detailed explanation of "fair use.")
Cheating is wrongfully and unfairly acting out of self-interest for personal gain by seeking or
accepting an unauthorized advantage over one's peers. Examples include, but are not limited
to, obtaining questions or answers to tests or quizzes, and getting assistance on case write-
ups or other projects beyond what is authorized by the assigning instructor. It is also cheating
to accept the benefit(s) of another person's theft(s) even if not actively sought. For instance, if
one continues to be attentive to an overhead conversation about a test or case write-up even
if initial exposure to such information was accidental and beyond the control of the student in
question, one is also cheating. If a student overhears a conversation or any information that
any faculty member might reasonably wish to withhold from the student, the student should
inform the faculty member(s) of the information and circumstance under which it was
Actions Required for Responding to Suspected and Known Violations
As stated, everyone must abide by the Honor System and be intolerant of violations. If you
suspect a violation has occurred, you should first speak to the suspected violator in an attempt
to determine if an infraction has taken place. If, after doing so, you still believe that a violation
has occurred, you must tell the suspected violator that he or she must report himself or herself
to the course professor or Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business. If the
individual fails to report himself or herself within 48 hours, it then becomes your obligation to
report the infraction to the course professor or the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of
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Business. Remember that although you are not required by regulation to take any action, our
Honor System is only as effective as you make it. If you remain silent when you suspect or
know of a violation, you are approving of such dishonorable conduct as the community
standard. You are thereby precipitating a repetition of such violations.
The Honor Pledge
The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business requires each enrolled
student to adopt the Honor System. The Honor Pledge best describes the conduct promoted
by the Honor System. It is as follows:
"I affirm that I belong to the honorable community of The University of Texas at Austin
Graduate School of Business. I will not lie, cheat or steal, nor will I tolerate those who do."
"I pledge my full support to the Honor System. I agree to be bound at all times by the Honor
System and understand that any violation may result in my dismissal from the Graduate
School of Business."