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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Brand Culture (BUST10127)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBrands are considerable vehicles for cultural meaning, self-expression, community, social movement and communication. Increasingly, for better or worse, the logic of brands and branding can be seen in diverse areas of life, beyond consumer goods e.g. the political brand, branded religion and person as brand. In short our daily lives are saturated by brand messages and meaning. This course offers students the opportunity to study and understand this fundamental marketing technology.
Course description Taking a socio-cultural perspective, Brand Culture provides students with a deeper knowledge of the place of brands in the lives of consumers and the skills used to manage them. It does this by considering the meanings of brands and by outlining different brand strategies available to companies to both meet the needs of consumers and achieve strategic organisational goals. Section one - which explores the socio-cultural meaning of brands - is designed to equip students with an understanding of what a brand is, how they are used by consumers and from where their meaning is derived. With this grounding in place, we then move, in section two, to explore the concepts of brand equity before discussing different approaches to the management of brands


The Product and the Brand
Emotion and Brands
The Symbolic Meaning of Brands
Consumer Communities and Brands
Brand Equity
The Film Brandscape
Managing Brands
Managing Brands: Portfolio and Extension
Luxury Branding
The Dark Side of Branding

Student Learning Experience

The course is designed to deliver the space and skills to enable students to analyse brand meanings in relation to symbolic material such as marketing communications and, importantly, their own consumer behaviour As such reflexivity and classroom discussion are central aspects of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Marketing (BUST08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Year 4 only. Business Studies Honours Entry
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Business Studies courses (including at least one Marketing course) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework (40%) consists of
1. Brand Diary: max 1500 words;
2. Critical review essay: max 2000 words
Students are to individually produce a critical review of two brands; one that you believe follows a functional branding strategy and one that follows a symbolic branding strategy. You are to review and de construct the marketing activities of the brands to explain how they follow this strategy and, ultimately, provide recommendations on how the marketing of these brands could be improved.

Final Exam: 60%. Two questions to be answered from 4.
Feedback Generic feedback on your coursework, together with individual marks, will be available on Learn.

Your examination marks will be posted on Learn (together with generic feedback and examination statistics) as soon as possible after the Boards of Examiners' meeting (normally early-mid June). During the summer months (i.e. mid/end June - end August), you may come into the UG Office (Room 1.11, Business School, 29 Buccleuch Place) to look at your examination scripts. Note that you will not be able to remove any examination scripts from the UG Office as they may be required by the Board of Examiners.

Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Brand Culture2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and discuss critically how consumer involvement and emotions affect consumers choice of, and relationship with, brands
  2. Understand and discuss critically how the postmodern consumer uses brands as a resource to manage their identity
  3. Critically evaluate symbolism and the meaning of brands and explain how service and corporate brands differ from product brands.
  4. Discuss critically how brands gain their meanings from various cultural agents including marketers and consumers and evaluate the concept of brand equity.
  5. Understand and discuss critically strategies used in the management of brands, both functional and symbolic
Reading List
Readings may be found either in the University library collection or accessed via The Library electronic journals on


Journal of Consumer Research
Journal of Marketing
Harvard Business Review
Journal of Marketing Management
European Journal of Marketing
Journal of Brand Management


Additional sources are all around us: the marketing communications campaigns of your favourite brands, social media, websites, celebrities, athletes, retail spaces and your friendship groups.

Look to the newspapers (not just the business pages) and other online news sources such as the BBC. Keep your eyes open for any coverage of BRANDS.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive Skills:

Students will develop analytical skills such as:
- The ability to apply concepts and theories to real life brand management;
- The ability to critically evaluate product portfolios;
- The ability to appraise brand strategies and make suggestions for improvement;
- The ability to use introspection as an analytical tool

Subject Specific Skills

Students will gain:
- The ability to recognise and respond to challenges in the management of brands;
- The ability to make recommendations to overcome and avoid specific brand challenges and threats.

By the end of the course students will be expected to:
- Be able to work individually and in a team;
- Be able to communicate and exchange ideas in oral and written formats
- Be able to analyse visual content and brand management strategies.
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 lecture per week
Course organiserDr Susan Dunnett
Tel: (0131 6)50 3814
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 3826
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