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Course Descriptions

Never before has there been so much information. And never has the need been greater to ground marketing communications recommendations in solid strategic thinking and evidence of their effectiveness. It is critical that students understand how to use research of all kinds to inform communications designed to motivate audiences and drive brands, as well as demonstrate the value of the work. This course will provide students an appreciation of the different sources of insights and how they can be used along the entire marketing communications development process from situation assessment and objective setting through creative development and program outcome measurement.  We will explore how secondary and primary research from syndicated and custom sources can provide an understanding of broad trends in our culture as well as inform us about specific attitudes and behavior of our target audiences.

At the heart of virtually every successful organization is a clearly defined and broadly understood brand idea. Whether called a “Brand Driver,” “Brand DNA,” “Brand Essence” or similar, it is invariably the central, unifying concept or maxim that converts business strategy into desired corporate behavior, driving product and service development, employee engagement and conduct and all marketing communications. In today’s highly transparent world, defining and delivering on a relevant, credible, and inspiring core brand promise has become ever more challenging and important. Students will learn the many tools and processes available to help them define and build strong brand ideas and narratives. They will also learn about the significant challenges and opportunities inherent in institutionalizing strategic branding within an organization.

What's the difference between the internal strategic document and the more consumer-oriented concept or story that delivers the strategic message? In this process and critique based course, these distinctions will be explored as students transform internal marketing and communication objectives into creative language, concepts and campaigns that capture the consumers' imagination. Case studies as well as self-generated content will be used to teach students the basics of idea generation, how to recognize “big ideas,” and how to critique them in order to keep the message on strategy and make the work better.

Anchored by a unified identity and enabled by technology, the way that brands are experienced by consumers takes a wide variety of forms and formats. This survey class explores methods of creating brand experience in physical, digital, traditional and experimental ways and delves into the coordinated application of mass, personal and social media to create rich sensory environments. Emphasis will be given to how effective benchmarks and outcomes can be measured. Students learn the building blocks of brand experience and elements of 'on-brand' tactical execution.

Specialization Requirements (3 CREDITS EACH):

In the complex world of branding, agencies must figure out how to remove client/agency silos and figure out how to be at the center of their clients' business and not just in the service of the business. As embedded brand agents, how do managers and planners navigate and nurture this relationship – and the supporting relationships? How can they help clients to identify, articulate, and cultivate their brand essence? Students will learn about communication from within the context of marketing, business and commerce. An emphasis will also be placed on vendors/suppliers beyond the client, group dynamics, various selling and negotiation techniques as well as dynamic new ways to package client presentations and RFPs.

This course is one part psychology and one part communications theory. Readings will include seminal thinkers such as BF Skinner, Marshal McLuhan, Neil Postman, Malcolm Gladwell, Harold Ennis, Everett Rogers and others. From this point, an examination of the current trends in consumer research will be examined including how to utilize the primary tools as well as design meaningful market research.

Advertising and Marketing Communications is no longer an industry of “idea development” where brand identity is generated through one way forms of storytelling; it must now include new forms of consumer engagement which require managed storyBUILDING. This presents new challenges in the ways in which managers must be fluent in developing strategies, fostering collaboration, evaluating content, visualizing information, reacting to consumer participation, making persuasive presentations – all while breaking down agency silos that inhibit productivity and collaboration. Today's agency manager must not just manage a process-driven environment, but be change agents that create a healthy, dynamic, and sustainable culture.

Specialization Requirements (3 CREDITS EACH):

An advanced studio course in the BIC Creative Track for development of campaign concepts in the print medium. Based on strategic thinking, students will have the opportunity to create a number of campaign concepts that unite “art & copy” with an eye towards further development and inclusion in a spec book – or pre-professional portfolio. Students learn how to identify specific problems a brand may face and how to solve them through persuasive print advertising.

An advanced studio course in the BIC Creative Track that allows copywriting and art direction students to further refine rough campaign concepts in the creation of multi-media executions – from traditional print and broadcast to new media hybrids, out-of-home, digital, and experiential. Emphasis will be placed on developing a  “voice” and “visual style” as students explore the convergence of brand and media in a series of individual projects.

An advanced studio course in the BIC Creative Track where students work in teams as art director/copywriter to apply design skills, polish writing, and utilize design software basics in order to digitally produce their existing campaigns for inclusion in their spec book and to upload to an online portfolio. Final critiques will include a formal portfolio review with industry professionals.

Specialization Requirements (3 CREDITS EACH):

This course explores how certain individuals in a market have outsized influence on the market behavior, and how professional communicators can work with these particularly influential individuals. The practice of public relations is founded on a premise that communications is a self-perpetuating process that can be guided and focused by appropriate interventions. It is not a process of communicating to “everyone,” but a process of communicating to the “right people” whose behaviors and whose own communications will affect others. At times, public relations practitioners work with professional shapers of opinion: securities, technology, and economic analysts, cultural and fashion reviewers, and, nearly always, the media. At other times, public relations practitioners work to reach the Innovators and Early Adopters of the classic Production Adoption Curve. In recent years, the development of social and new media technologies has added another – and evolving – dimension to marketplace influentials.

This course explores how professional communicators understand the dynamics of nurturing and maximizing the potential employees in the brand development process. Our experience of Starbuck’s Coffee baristas, Apple Store geniuses, Southwest Airlines flight attendants, Ritz Carlton doormen, and any number of other organizational employees is an integral dimension of the brands of those organizations. Even when employees do not interact with customers, their sincere belief and support of brand attributes and claims is a strong motivator of quality production. Whether it is in person at the barber shop or over Twitter, employees are often the front-line representatives of their employers’ brands. Students will gain insights into how organizations educate employees about brand attributes, and how employees are empowered and guided to embody and communicate the brand.

This course explores how organizations create, sustain, and defend their brands through association with issues and intangibles. Brands are always, in part, based on intangible conceptual and emotional assets such as integrity, stability, leadership, innovation, and being cool. Brands also are associated with commitments to values such as environmental sustainability, human rights, community partnership, and national patriotism. Students in B302X will examine and draw actionable insights from how organizations consciously choose commitments to issues and intangibles and then how they express those commitments in communications programs and strategic market position defense.

Working in teams as competing, fully functioning “communications firms,” students take this practicum in their penultimate semester to work on a real-life project: an integrated marketing communications campaign for a non-profit organization using an actual client brief and budget. Because the assignments are based on the challenges faced by a non-profit, how students achieve their goals will vary depending on the individual organization and its needs. Final work will be produced and act as content for student portfolios required for completion of the program.

Working in teams as competing, fully functioning “communications firms,” students take this practicum in their final semester to work on a real-life project: an integrated marketing communications campaign for a corporation using an actual client brief and budget. Because the assignments are based on an industry-based project, how students achieve their goals will vary from semester ot semester. Final work will be produced and act as content for student portfolios required for completion of the program.

ELECTIVES (not offered every year)

B2050 STRATEGIC MEDIA (3 credits)
Back in 1964, Marshall McLuhan stated that “the medium is the message.” That is never more true than today. However, our ability to be more mobile, immersive, and essentially ubiquitous has made achieving a clear brand identity in today’s media landscape more challenging – and exciting – than ever. Developing strategic goals and understanding the means and methods to realize those goals will save us from turning strong messaging into expensive wallpaper. This course will build on the Foundational Brand Experience course by more specifically examining the convergence of media and creative solutions that give dimension to the brand and meets strategic ends as students study media outlets, planning, and buying – including the use of digital communication channels. It will make theoretical and applied connections to other social sciences, such as sociology, anthropology, and economics. Topics will include effective web content construction (information display, navigation atmospherics, etc.), interactive media and advertising planning, use of digital media as a PR tool, and online metrics to measure brand effectiveness. 

Students advancing careers in business, government an non-profits benefits from a thorough understanding of leadership, its theories, its techniques and its lurking ethical traps. This course examines the interplay between management and leadership, empowerment, mentoring, negotiation, change management and the special role of leadership in volunteer organizations. Rapidly changing dynamics growing from flattening organizations, instantly available information and round-the-clock communication are considered.

As an Elective, students may take a one semester, for-credit internship, working in a marketing communications capacity that offers them professional experience to complement their classroom work. Students write a comprehensive paper on their experience and are evaluated by their on-site supervisor.

These one-credit courses are short, intensive, and run on Friday nights and/or Saturday mornings. Most are lecture based and will require students to turn in a topical paper by semester’s end in order for students to receive credit and earn a grade. These Special Topic courses may not run every year. Students may take these courses in addition to their 36-credits (FYI for New York residents: they are included in the cost of full-time Fall/Spring tuition). OR students may take THREE one-credit courses and count them towards one of their three electives. 
Working in teams as competing, fully functioning “communications firms,” students take this course in their penultimate semester to work on a semester-long project: an integrated marketing communications campaign for a non-profit organization (selected and coordinated by the instructor). Final projects will act as content for student portfolios required for completion of the program.  
B8502 COMPETITION READY (1 credit) 
Nothing elevates your game like entering a high-level competition. This intensive course will leverage the annual Young Ones College Competition from The ONE Club, one of the most acclaimed advertising, interactive and design student competitions in the world, dating back to 1986. Winners of the competition are not only awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Pencils at the annual One Show Young Ones Education Festival ceremony, but finalists are published in the One Show Annual as well as online in the Young Ones Awards Archive. This course provides structure and support for the intense creative development process while offering instruction on how to translate the client brief into award-winning campaigns. 
B8503 NATIVE ADVERTISING (1 credit) 
Native advertising and brand sponsored content – the practice in which paid promotion mimics the form and style of the media where it’s featured – isn’t new. The FTC made its first ruling that defined the line between editorial content and advertising promotion back in 1917. But today, the explosion of digital communication platforms has created new delivery models and business relationships that has accelerated its use. Spending is expected to grow to $21 billion in 2018 from just under $5 billion in 2013. Native display ads like the ones seen on Yahoo will see the greatest growth. But with organizations such as The New York Times entering the realm of sponsored content, the sacred wall between editorial and content seems more blurry than ever. What are the new rules? How does it impact the consumer – and society? What are both sides in this business relationship gaining…and losing? Is its effectiveness measurable? 
B8504 The NEW NEW (1 credit) 
A diverse group of visionary entrepreneurs and transformative innovators will share how they work with the forces driving change to reimagine, redefine and reinvent products, practice and entire industry platforms. You’ll hear practical stories and play with concepts and methods used to form meaningful relationships with potential customers, explore how innovators help people cross the chasm from current reality to a New New way, that’s meant to help us live meaningfully better. 
This intensive three session, one-credit course will examine how to manage multi-faceted communications projects that include conceptual thinking and are heavily driven by a design process. It will also explore how to work with creative people within the agency as well as providers of all sorts, from design agencies to product designers, film directors, and image consultants. 
B8506 DYNAMIC CONTENT (1 credit) 
This lecture based one-credit course will welcome experts from various companies TBD (The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Jezebel, etc) to share the latest trends in content marketing that build stories in a dynamic and interactive ways. To receive credit and earn a grade in this course, students MUST make a dynamic presentation.  
B8507 INSIGHT INTENSIVE (1 credit) 
Common wisdom is that a deep and penetrating insight is the driver of brand and marketing strategy. Insights are the “aha’s” that provide valuable new perspectives on challenges. They lead to strategies and executions that drive new behaviors, products, solutions, experiences, communi-cations. They are critical to writing a powerful creative brief and executing work that appeals on a gut level, where decisions are made. Yet, most of us struggle with the nature and nurture of insight. Definitions of insight are fuzzy, the process of identifying an insight is unclear and criteria for evaluating the strength of an insight are hard to articulate. 
This class will present the unique characteristics and drivers of key U.S. cultural segments, and explore the dimensions of tension in the current culture-based marketing landscape. Among them: the growth in size and economic clout of multicultural communities has resulted in intense debate over what kind of agency should do the marketing work targeting these segments, and what model is most effective. ‘General Market’ agencies increasingly hire multicultural marketing talent in order to secure clients’ multicultural budgets, while multicultural advertising agencies struggle to maintain revenue and relevance. New marketing models (Total Market, Cross-cultural) that focus on an integrated approach have challenged the traditional silo’ed focus on multiple single-segment (ex.: Hispanic, Black) initiatives. And younger Millennials and  Gen Z consumers have a more fluid sense of identity than prior generations. In a majority-minority U.S., what is the future of culturally-based marketing/advertising? 
B8509 TECH FOR NON-TECHIES (1 credit) 
Designing consumer experience, user interaction, efficient usability, digital ergonomics, algorithmic planning, blockchain, martech, and information architecture. Do you recognize all those terms as totally essential to communications and delivering brand value, but also a bit elusive? Then this one-credit intensive is for you. Taught by Creative Technologists, Computer Scientists as well as by Communications Facilitators who recognize technology’s importance, but may or may not be technologists themselves, this course teaches you the tech you need to understand (but understands that you’re not a techie). 
B8510 24-HOUR IDEA HACK (1 credit) 
During this 24-hour hackathon sponsored by Y&R in partnership with the Ad Council, students will form teams of five to seven participants with a variety of skills (writing, coding, social media, web design, graphic design etc.). At the end of this 24-hour hackathon, teams will deliver a 10-minute, fully-formed pitch presentation to three judges illustrating either an innovative digital campaign, a social media campaign or an offline, live-interaction product or even an idea that combines all three! 
B8511 SOCIAL IMPACT LAB (1 credit) 
The Social Impact Lab is a one-credit collaborative workshop that uniquely brings together grad students, a full-service agency and a grass roots, community-based organization in order to build a sustainable brand identity and communications campaign. The intimacy, intensity, and real-life purpose of this one-credit course gives students a chance to operate as a mini-comms team during the Summer and into the early Fall semester in anticipation of the Fall non-profit capstone. 
The lab partners with VML, a full-service agency that thrives on moving brands forward by inspiring human connection. 
This intensive course will study the dynamic social media landscape by examining the very latest trends, messaging synergy across platforms, as well as provide the ever-evolving policy and regulatory framework in which it all exists. For example, who owns that photo you just tweeted and are the rules the same for Pinterest? By the end of this course, students will not only appreciate up-to-date functionality, technology, and practices, but be able to make persuasive arguments to a legal department for ethical and lawful social media usage. 

B8513 BRANDINGHOOD (1 credit)
An intensive social and cultural branding workshop for all three tracks aimed at developing professional consulting, design skills, and outlining a successful methodology. Based on a «design thinking» vision, students will have the opportunity to unearth a neighborhood's real needs from its people and their feelings of identity, in order to develop a full iconic branding action plan.

This one-credit intensive will train participants in BIC’s action-oriented approach to teaching brand value as well as an empowering methodology for generating brand positioning, identity, voice, and strategic messaging.  As part of a pilot program to develop on-campus and community services through BIC’s proposed Center of Communication for Social Good (SoGo), students who develop effective presentations become eligible for BIC certification, qualifying them to lead BIC Brand Empowerment Seminars for organizations seeking assistance with brand identity. A stipend is available for seminar leaders.