Creating Brand Value - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Creating Brand Value

Course Number 1915

Assistant Professor Shelle M. Santana
Spring; Q3; 1.5 credits
14 sessions

Career Focus

This course is designed for students who plan to create, unlock, or invest in value created through brands in the consumer and retail space. It is appropriate for:

  • Marketing professionals charged with creating, nurturing, and managing brand value;
  • Entrepreneurs looking to create their own consumer-driven brands;
  • Consumer/retail general managers and consultants engaged in stewarding brand strategy; and
  • Venture capital, private equity, or investment management investors seeking to identify brand asset potential and value brand equity.

Educational Objectives

In the consumer/retail space, brands are often companies’ most valuable assets and sources of their sustainable competitive advantage. But, managing brands to achieve their full value potential has never been more difficult. Consumers are increasingly diverse, skeptical of marketing, and empowered by digital technologies that easily connect them to others who share their tastes. They co-create the meaning of the brands that shape their lives and play a participatory role in brand management that can make them allies or adversaries. Iconic brands are toppled everyday by young upstarts telling new types of stories in authentic ways. Firms are aggressively buying consumers’ brand loyalty at the same time they are firing their customers.

This course takes a contemporary view of branding as a collective and collaborative meaning-making process among firms, consumers, and other cultural producers, and of brands as meaning-based, relational assets that must be carefully designed, curated, and negotiated to unlock their considerable value. As branding becomes more participatory, experiential, and experimental, the role of the brand manager requires cultural and relational prowess. Today’s managers must be able to author resonant stories that spark conversations that capture attention, generate engagement, and provide culturally-relevant meaning to consumers. Learnings will focus on how brands and the stories that define them can be crafted and communicated in ways that nurture relationships that create value for both consumers and firms.