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Strathclyde Business School

Getting on brand: marketing gets practical

By Christopher Clark - Posted on 30 March 2023

Undergraduate marketing students engaged with industry to create a brand development plan for a business. Student Christopher Clark's plan was judged best overall and, here, Christopher explains more about what was involved.

I was given the task in my Brand Management class of designing a brand development plan for Drygate Brewing Co. that would help elevate their business above market competitors. The assignment challenge was to understand the various theories, models, and concepts from class and apply them to a practical real-world company. Additionally, this was to be done in the format of a PowerPoint so as to mimic the process of presenting an actual brand plan pitch in the working world.

C&C Group highlighted a few trends in both their internal market and company environment, in addition to the external craft beer sector and wider alcohol industry. Specifically, it was highlighted that their brand design had gone through a major development a few years ago, that their awareness was quite low nationwide, and that there was an opportunity for growth. Upon doing some wider reading and applying class concepts, I decided that I thought the current branding was very good for a company of their size and that the main issue for them was awareness, so this is what I mainly focused on.

This was an excellent opportunity to apply what we’ve learned in a practical, useful way. Presentations are something that I’ve struggled with having the confidence for. Making the presentation something that is not grade-dependent - but a chance to develop experience - really helped alleviate some of this stress. So from that aspect, this opportunity gave me a chance to prove to myself that I can excel in this area, which I can now take with me into my career. I know how to stay calm under pressure and get my points across now and that’s invaluable to me.

I was able to apply both soft and hard skills I’ve learned throughout my degree programme during this project. There are the basic marketing models such as SWOT, Pestel, 7P’s, Five forces and then more specific concepts such as the 4Cs, Netnography, industry analysis, and brand diagnosis. Additionally, I was able to have free rein to utilise the concepts that were of most interest to me from this course in my strategy development. So, for instance, I used brand co-creation as part of my strategy to develop positive brand perceptions. This co-creation was an adjacent topic to my dissertation that I felt was relevant and interesting so I enjoyed being able to use informed judgement to incorporate what I personally believed were good ideas. In terms of soft skills, I learned a lot with regard to presentation. While year one of the Management Development Programme - a core part of any business degree - really formed any skills I currently had in this area, this opportunity was the first real chance I’ve had to apply these skills and I felt it has been very helpful.

For the presentation itself, I presented to Hazel Alexander, Katie Stewart, and Paul Menzies from the commercial team at C&C Group, who manage the Drygate brand. In terms of Drygate, they praised my ability to present and specifically commented upon my ability to clearly articulate my plan of action and justify my decisions well.

Given the context of Covid over the last few years, our year group - from first through to third year - was quite heavily impacted so there were very limited chances to develop these in-person skills. I’m very grateful that this experience managed to help catch me up in that respect.

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University of Strathclyde
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