What is a MarComms project anyway? And what’s my topic?

Before I start I should probably explain that a Marketing Communications project is slightly different to a Dissertation. I’m not *entirely* sure about the details but (from what I can understand) the main difference is that whereas a dissertation centres around the exploration of a concept or theory, a MarComms project centres around a particular brand through which you explore a concept.

So an advertising project focusing on the way a brand is advertised towards a specific group ie) Alcohol (WKD) towards young adults, might follow a simple structure of:

  • Introduction (theme/trends/context etc)
  • Market Analysis
    • Brand Analysis (of WKD)
    • Competitor Analysis (of similar brands)
    • Consumer Analysis (of young adults and youth drinking culture)
  • Objectives
  • Target Market (specifying who are being targeted by the brand)
  • Creative analysis (could focus on content analysis of a selection of different adverts)
  • Analysis of trends within alcohol advertising (Using a PRESTCOM analysis etc)
  • Conclusion

Obviously there’s a lot of lee-way within this.

A focus on PR, a different market sector, a different brand, a different target market, even a different methodology or framework approach, can completely restructure a marketing communications project so that it looks completely different to this (outside of the Intro/Conclusion sections obviously).

So, onto my idea.

As you have probably gauged, I am super interested in Politics. That’s not to say I’m party-affiliated; I’m not. What I am, however, is passionate. One of the key things that I learnt growing up was to speak out if you feel something is wrong; never be afraid to stand up and be counted.

Showing this passion in a way that will be acceptable to many employers can be tricky. I know I always worry about whether my background in public speaking and debating contests (not to mention my now 6-year membership of my university’s Politics Society) might suggest that I’m confrontational or aggressive with my views – which (I like to think) I’m not.

The man young people love to hate. But is he a sell-out or a scapegoat? And how important is our belief/trust in him for Lib Dem's success?

The man young people love to hate. But is he a sell-out or a scapegoat? And how important is our belief/trust in him for Lib Dem’s success?

Luckily for me, my initial concept of looking at personal branding (a much under-analysed topic of discussion in my view) was tightened down to looking at the personal brands of party leaders in the run-up to this year’s elections, and then further tightened to specialise in the personal brand and campaign strategy of one specific party leader – Nick Clegg.

As any Brit knows, Clegg’s 180 degree turn on tuition fees hugely upset a large number of his voting base who – as young people – had invested in him largely due to this policy above all else. Not only was he proposing to cut tuition fees though, he was also the fresh-faced ‘man of the people’ who finally seemed to care and have policies that directly benefited the young – We who had often been overlooked as a demographic due to the high percentage of voter apathy and disengagement within our age group.

By looking at the case of Nick Clegg’s personal brand, I intend to look at image/knowledge transfer the ways in which trust and personality impact on brand success within politics, and (on a larger basis) whether lack of trust in the personal brands of political leaders is indicative of the wider disengagement and voter apathy within politics.

Of course it is still early days and, as such, I’m still very early on in the planning process. However, based loosely on the initial research and reading I’ve managed to get done alongside my other assignments, I think I’ll most likely be tackling this subject using a combination of secondary research (into brand-building, reputation and trust (they’re different things); political marketing in general; the ways brands try to engage young people in terms of messages/creative/platforms; and voter apathy/disengagement and its causes) and media content analysis (perhaps through analysing Clegg and his followers’ use of Twitter as one example).

SUPER excited now that I’ve narrowed my subject down to something achievable and interesting and relevant – all important points that I raised in my last post on ‘Planning a postgraduate marketing communications project‘.

I can’t wait to get started!

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4 thoughts on “What is a MarComms project anyway? And what’s my topic?

  1. Interesting. Two facts to add into the mix:

    1) More young people will go to university this year (2015) than ever before. In other words, the trebling of tuition fees has not suppressed the market for HE (perhaps because most young people can’t envisage living long enough to pay off the debt, or ever earning more than £21,000)!

    2) Most world rankings of universities are led by US institutions, some of which like Harvard are private and much more expensive than UK universities with their capped fees. So there just may be some connection between price and quality.

    My hunch is that Nick Clegg is not that important. There’s now almost a political consensus over university fees (the Labour proposal to reduce fees to £6,000 is tentative and not very credible and it was Tony Blair’s government that started the process of increasing fees).

    So I suggest a good marketing communications project would look at the marketisation of HE and the emergence of students as consumers (much to the dismay of university lecturers).

    You’d certainly have lots of access to students, lecturers and university administrators (better word for them than managers). Everyone has an opinion on this subject!

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  2. From a political perspective, you need to recall that the Liberal Democrats are a hybrid. Classic free market liberalism would argue in favour of a market in HE on the assumption that stronger universities could charge more, produce better outcomes and compete on the global stage.

    It’s the Social Democratic part of the Lib Dems that would hanker after a more statist approach, with HE free or heavily subsidised by the taxpayer as a means of enabling social mobility.

    Nick Clegg is more from the Liberal than the Social Democratic tradition (which is perhaps why he’s been more comfortable in a coalition with the Conservatives than, say, Vince Cable.)

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  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Richard. They’ve definitely opened up new avenues for thought that I can discuss with my supervisor. Rather than focusing on purely the Tuition fees issue though, I think I’d more be looking at it as merely one example of the potential reasoning behind young adult’s motivations/voting behaviour/apathy.

    I think the main reasoning behind my project idea was to gain more insight into the nuances between being seen as a ‘consumer’ and being seen as a ‘citizen’ (as the lines between the two are blurring considerably nowadays and could be interesting to explore in advance of a career), as well as the role and influence of trust, personality and reputation in brand’s communications strategies.
    Edelman for example have a wealth of data on this area and I’m incredibly curious in understanding how these three attributes intertwine within the political sphere in particular as its one that’s close to my interests and professional ambitions.

    The fact you’ve brought up that the Lib Dems are a hybrid brand however is really interesting as, although I was aware of the political differences and values between Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, I wasn’t aware of the social democrat/neo-liberal dynamic – which I agree, would definitely be something to take into account in my research in terms of context.

    Thanks again! 🙂

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