Undergraduate Course: Brand Culture (BUST10127)
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Brands 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.
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
The Film Brandscape
Managing Brands: Portfolio and Extension
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)
|| Students MUST have passed:
||Other requirements|| Year 4 only. Business Studies Honours Entry
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting 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?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|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.
||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.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Brand Culture||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand and discuss critically how consumer involvement and emotions affect consumers choice of, and relationship with, brands
- Understand and discuss critically how the postmodern consumer uses brands as a resource to manage their identity
- Critically evaluate symbolism and the meaning of brands and explain how service and corporate brands differ from product brands.
- Discuss critically how brands gain their meanings from various cultural agents including marketers and consumers and evaluate the concept of brand equity.
- Understand and discuss critically strategies used in the management of brands, both functional and symbolic
|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.
|Graduate Attributes and 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 organiser||Dr Kirsten Cowan
|Course secretary||Ms Chrysanthi Manidou
Tel: (0131 6) 50 3826