The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
COMSTRAT 564
Consumer Behavior and Brand Development

Course Instructor:

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Text & Resources:

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There are TWO required textbooks:

  1. Wheeler, Alina. (2017) Wiley: Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team. (5thEdition). ISBN-13: 978-1118980828 or ISBN-10: 1118980824
  2. Building Customer-Brand Relationships, Routledge, 2015. Don E. Schultz, Beth E. Barnes, Heidi F. Schultz and Marian Azzario. ISBN: 1138133760

During the term, the instructor will offer other resources, examples and advice from the media, marketplace and his own consulting career for your consideration on the Blackboard.


Course Overview

In this class you will learn tactics and strategies for consumer analysis and brand development. The ultimate goal is to develop skills that are necessary for uncovering consumer insights and applying them to brand development, customer engagement, media planning and content creation.


Course Learning Goals

  • Describe the function a brand and how it informs effective communication strategies and practices;
  • Understand and practice the skills required for effective consumer research and identifying customer insights;
  • Understand and apply the principles of branding and communication theories to develop effective communication strategies, media plans and content for multiple media. 

Course Work

This course is organized into four units. Each unit includes a series of related lessons, an essay test (in three of the units), and a unit assignment. Weekly lessons include a reading assignment from the course textbook/s and a discussion prompt related to the topic for the lesson. Some lessons also include video and/or audio lectures and reading assignments from online articles. Students will be assessed based on their participation in online class discussions, their performance on the essay tests and the quality of their completed assignments.

Class Discussions:

There are 10 graded class discussions in this course. At the beginning of each unit, all of the weekly discussion prompts for that unit will be posted on Blackboard. The discussion topics are based on the topics presented in the unit. Students are expected to:

  • Post a thoughtful response to each discussion prompt;
  • Comment on other students? posts, and;
  • Respond to students who comment on their posts.

Students should comment on at least one other student's post for each discussion prompt and should do so by the due date listed for that prompt.

Posts on the weekly discussion topic must be completed in Blackboard by 11:55 PM on Sunday of each week as shown in the Course Schedule. However, the discussion forums for a given unit will remain open until the conclusion of the unit, so you can continue to utilize the discussions for insights and feedback for the entire unit.

Participation in each discussion topic is worth 2 points. Class discussions constitute 20% of your overall grade in the course.

Note that there are no required discussion prompts during Spring Break and some of the later units in the term are set up to allow you to post more at your interest and convenience before a final unit deadline. This is to allow you extra time to focus on completing your essay tests and assignments.

Essay Tests:

There are three essay tests in this course, based on material covered in units 1, 2 and 3. The essay test for a given unit will be posted to the Essay Tests section in Blackboard at the beginning of the first week of the unit.

Each essay test consists of two essay questions. The questions require students to apply the knowledge they gained in their readings and discussions for the current unit. The first two essay tests are timed and students will have 90 minutes to complete both essay questions for each test.

All essay tests must be completed on Blackboard by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time) on the Due Date shown in the Course Schedule.

Each essay test is worth 5 points. Essay Tests constitute 15% of your overall grade in the course.

Assignments:

There are four assignments in this course, one for each unit. Each assignment requires students to apply the knowledge they have gained in their readings and discussions for the unit, as well as to seek out and use third-party research specific to the student?s chosen brand or organization for the term and also specific to the audience/s or stakeholders key to its branding and success. The assignments all build on one another over the semester and you will use information from previous assignments for each new assignment. Specific instructions and details for each assignment, as well as some past-term examples, will be posted in the Assignments section on Blackboard at the beginning of the first week of the unit.

You will choose a brand/company/organization and industry to focus on for the semester as part of your first assignment. Then you will conduct research and apply that and your growing knowledge of your chosen organization and its goals and audiences and other matters to the second, third and fourth assignment, over the term.

All assignments must be turned into Blackboard by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time) on the Due Date shown in the Course Schedule.

The first three assignments are worth 15 points, and your final assignment is worth 20 points. Unit assignments constitute 65% of your overall grade in the course.


Instructor Interaction

The instructor will make every effort to provide feedback on submitted classwork and will be available to respond to inquiries in the instructor thread in a timely manner. Students are encouraged to post questions not related to individual grades or personal/private matters in the Questions for the Instructor thread under discussions. Students are expected to regularly view the Instructor's Comments thread of the discussion for matters of general interest to class, as well as to view any Announcements that the instructor may post during the term. You also have the option to email the instructor and he will make every effort to answer your questions within 48 hours. Office hours are by appointment.


Late Work Policy

Late work is generally not accepted in this class. Please do not ask for after the fact exceptions. Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there is extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. In cases of documented university conflict, you are responsible for making alternative arrangements at a minimum of two weeks in advance and responsibilities must be fulfilled before the normally scheduled time.


Graded Material

I have high expectations for your performance and success in this class. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation count on all assignments. Multiple errors of this type will lower your grade. I expect students to read and engage with all course materials, and participate actively in class discussions via the online discussion board.

All assignments must be submitted to Blackboard to receive credit.


Grading

Item Points Available % of Course Grade
Assignments 65 65%
Essay Tests 15 15%
Discussion Participation 20 20%
Total points available 100  

Assignments Points Available
Assignment #1: Brand Analysis 15
Assignment #2: Brand Concept & Customer Personas 15
Assignment #3: Media Plan 15
Assignment #4: Final IMC Plan 20
Total points: 65


Essay Tests Points Available
Essay Test #1: Intro to Brands and Branding 5
Essay Test #2: Understanding Customers 5
Essay Test #3: Communicating With Customers 5
Total points: 15

 

Discussions Points Available
Discussion 1 2
Discussion 2 2
Discussion 3 2
Discussion 4 2
Discussion 5 2
Discussion 6 2
Discussion 7 2
Discussion 8 2
Discussion 9 2
Discussion 10 2
Total points: 20


Grade Percent Grade Percent
A  93 - 100 C  73 - 76
A- 90 - 92  C- 70 - 72 
B+ 87 - 89  D+  67 - 69
B 83 - 86  D  60 - 66
B- 80 - 82  F  < 60
C+ 77 - 79     

Course Curriculum Map

COMSTRAT 564: Consumer Behavior & Brand Development

Program SLOs

SLO1: Demonstrate knowledge of strategic, entrepreneurial communication skills such as managing online presence, self and organizational presentation, and collaboration in an increasingly global world.

SLO2: Ability to gather and assess strategically relevant information using analyses and research.

SLO3: Evidence of professional skills to develop strategic communication campaign materials and implementation of campaign through administration and management, planning, leadership, teamwork, and customer relations.

Course Learning Goals

Describe the function of an account planner in an advertising agency.

 

Skill Level: Master

Students read course materials and engage in class discussions.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

 

Skill Level: Master

Students will analyze historical contexts why account planning had to emerge in ad agency structures.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

 

Skill Level: Master

Students will perform in class applying reading materials and discussions of account planning to set consumer research goals. 

Assessed in exams, class applications and written analysis papers.

Understand and practice the skills needed by an account planner.

 

 

Skill Level: Master

Students read course materials and in-class activities.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

Skill Level: Master

Students will conduct consumer research and analyze data in order to achieve consumer research goals.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

Skill Level: Master

Students will perform in class applying course materials and create brand analysis paper, consumer profile paper and creative brief.

Assessed in exams, class applications and written analysis papers.

Understand and practice principles of persuasion theories in advertising planning and creative development.

Skill Level: Master

Students read course materials and engage in in-class activities. 

Assessed in exams and class applications.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

Skill Level: Master

Students will understand and analyze persuasion theories in how to use them in account planning.

Assessed in exams and class applications.

Skill Level: Master

Students will perform in class applying persuasion theories to gain consumer insights.  Analysis papers will be produced through using multiple platforms.

 

Assessed in exams, class applications and written analysis papers.



More Context about Class Assistance and Feedback

Each lesson unit, requirements like the discussion board topic/s, essay tests and assignments have detailed instructions, templates and context on the Blackboard. But should you need more clarification before handing in work, you can always post your questions for feedback in the Questions for the Instructor thread or email the instructor directly.

The instructor is even happy to look at occasional in-progress work on what will eventually be graded, if you find that you need extra help on developing ideas or a draft before a due date. But whether you are looking for classmate or instructor input, it would be best to post on the boards or email the instructor several days in advance of that requirement?s deadline, so that there is ample time for overall response, and for you to incorporate any suggestions.

As communication professionals, checking your work and achieving an error-free status is critical to overall success and integrity. Evaluation of your work will be based not only on the quality of writing and applications of consumer behavior and branding best practices - but a very critical eye will be given toward typos, grammatical errors, AP Style inaccuracies and overall structure and appearance of each piece.

The instructor's goal is to aim at providing discussion, essay test and assignment grading and feedback within one week for most lesson units? deadlines, but circumstances such as complexity of topics for certain units, class size, scope of discussion volume, and other matters, might mean feedback could sometimes take two weeks from submission of your work. 


Evaluation Criteria

Students will have a clear set of evaluation criteria for each specific assignment. Each rubric will involve content criteria (your product adhering to conventions discussed in class), organization criteria (your product organized in a way that reaches the intended audience), and grammar criteria (your product being free of grammatical errors).

  • Assignments must be submitted to Blackboard Learn to receive credit. If instructions specify the assignment URL should be submitted in Blackboard Learn, it is not considered complete until the drop box submission is complete.

Appeals: Student Appeals Process

?The Appeals Board is composed of employees who review a decision made by the University Conduct Board, or a conduct officer, that a student violated the University's Standards of Conduct for Students. When a student disagrees with a decision of the Conduct Board or a conduct officer, he/she may appeal the decision to the University Appeals Board.? ? WSU Office of Student Conduct University Appeals Board 


Academic Calendar

Please review the current Academic Calendar to become familiar with critical deadlines on your campus. Visit the WSU Academic Calendar page: http://registrar.wsu.edu/academic-calendar/, and select your home campus and/or WSU Online from the drop down menu.  Key dates to keep in mind:


Employee Reporting Requirements

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).


Intellectual Property

This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, and/or the order or arrangment of web links/blogs and the accompanying course schedule etc. are my and/or WSU Murrow intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes, handouts, postings, assignments, assessments (such as the questions or answers for tests) or other requirements through commercial note taking services, without my written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU?s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU?s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.


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