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Brand Management: Strategic Design and Creative Applications


Heilbrunn B.

Course director

Visconti L. M.

Course director


Strategic brand design is articulated around three main spheres: 

  1. Morphology, consisting in decisions allowing customers to sensorially experience and recognise a brand. Strategic decisions revolve around the choice of the brand name, logo/symbol, brand character, aural identity, and more.
  2. Axiology, consisting in the grounding values, visions, and ideologies that make a brand be unique, authentic, and relevant. Axiological design allows brands “to stand for something”.
  3. Narratology, consisting in the way narrative contents are constructed, disseminated and consumed. Story-making, storytelling, and story-living are key strategic steps the Course addresses.

In line with the first part of the Course, creative methodologies are applied to: 

  1. Brand morphology, in terms of creative ways to express a brand through packaging, product design, visual identity, merchandising, digital activation, etc.
  2. Brand axiology, in terms of creative ways to understand a brand’s own reference market, and build consumer insights.
  3. Brand narratology, in terms of creative ways to stage stories through appropriate touchpoints and connect dominant ideologies with appealing brand stories.


Standing from the perspective of brand managers/companies, the Course aims at familiarising participants with both the strategic thinking and the creative abilities requested for today’s branding in phygital environments.

The first part of the Course – Branding: Strategic Design – focuses more on the strategic conception of brands. It posits that brands are not mere identification signs, but identity platforms capable of establishing relationships with customers and multiple audiences, which exceed commercial transactions. 

The second part of the Course – Branding: Creative Applications – focuses on how creative brand decisions intersect brand strategic design. After clarifying the difference between creativity and creation, the Course investigates how distinct creative approaches boost brand appeal, identity, and value. Creativity is proposed as a means for brands to provide significant value to the market.

Overall, the Course aims at: 

  1. Developing multidisciplinary and multi-epistemological understanding of processes behind brand management and consumer interaction with brands.
  2. Improving students’ ability in designing and fostering brand recognition (brand morphology), brand essence (brand axiology), and brand narratives (brand storytelling).
  3. Acquiring theoretical understanding and practical skills in the context of contemporary branding. 
  4. Decoding and practicing creativity in the context of brand management.

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

The Course engages students in rich and critical discussion about brands’ function, nature, construction, and execution. Discussion combines research-driven evidences with real-life examples. It also implies application of theories to concreate realms of brand creative activation (group project).

Students have to attend at least 60% of the in-presence classes for each of the two blocks (Prof. Visconti’s and Prof. Heilbrunn’s parts) to validate the Course. In case of personal impediments, students need to inform professors and discuss with them the best way to proceed. 

Examination information

Assessment is based on an individual written exam (accounting 50% of the grade and specific to the first part of the Course) and a group project (accounting for the remaining 50% and elaborated for the second part of the programme). 

Detailed evaluation criteria are set at the beginning of the Course.