Critical Brand Analysis
Word count must not exceed 2,500 (no 10% over allowance)
Choose two brands for the analysis, one which you believe employs a symbolic brand management
strategy and the other with which uses a functional brand management strategy (you do not need to
use or own the brands you select). You will then critically analyze their brand management, giving
examples of their branding, to justify your claim that they are a symbolic/functional brand, using the
theory we have covered in class.
You may wish to select brands with which you feel you have a functional or symbolic relationship, it is
fine to do this (e.g. Tetley Tea can be a nostalgic brand for some British consumers as they have grown
up with it, you could analyze how Tetley use symbolic branding strategies to reflect and enhance this
nostalgia, and if they don’t, should they?).
It will become clear throughout the course that many brands try to achieve both symbolic and
functional meaning, don’t be deterred by this in your brand choices as the interrelation between
functional and symbolic meaning gives you an angle to critically analyze. For example, you can analyze
which associations come through more strongly for the brand. Is the symbolic strategy the dominant
one, as is the case with most luxury brands or are functional strategies more important, as is the case
with most household cleaning products?
You should fully explain your choice of each brand, giving justifications for characterizing the brands
as either symbolic or functional. To do this you should deconstruct how these brands are managed;
paying particular attention to how symbolic/functional meanings are created and maintained through
In your analysis look particularly at marketing communications, digital marketing, websites, social
media, packaging, visual branding, retail spaces/distribution and pricing. I suggest using around 1250
words for each brand but you may wish to say more on the symbolic e.g. 1400 words. The analysis
should end with a short paragraph of recommendations for each brand (see below) and a reference
list should be added at the end (not included in the word count). Please use visual images in the
analysis to make help your examples come alive.
Recommendations: Your critical analysis should end with concise recommendations for how the
marketing of these brands could be improved. These recommendations should be based on your own
experience and ideas, coupled with those found in the literature and should take into account whether
the brand follows a functional or symbolic strategy (or a hybrid of both). Recommendations should be
kept brief, around 300 words total.
Use of theory: The theories we have covered in class should be used to analyze the brands and their
brand management strategies. You must support your ideas with references to concepts and theories
found in the lectures and course readings. This involves exploring the work of key authors to see how
the theories they outline have been (or should be) used by brand managers.
A suggested structure for your assignment
You should feel free to design the structure of your Critical Analysis but you may find the below
Begin with a brief introduction to the brand (remember you are to discuss two brands, so split your
word count accordingly. I prefer to see discussion of each brand in turn and not combined).
What is the brand’s identity and positioning in the market?
What is the product or service?
What are the brand’s associations?
Is the brand following a symbolic or functional brand management strategy?
Move into the critical analysis of brand management, giving examples
The 4Ps is a useful structure for analysis
Justify the claim that the brand is using a functional/symbolic brand management strategy
How does brand create and maintain its identity/symbolic meaning/functional meaning?
What are the sources of this meaning?
Analyze their marketing communication, digital and visual branding – websites, ads, social
media, influencers, community, viral, think about place in terms of retail environment – what
symbolic meaning and consumer experience are created?
Conclude with recommendations (some suggestions to get you thinking below but please also bring
in your own ideas)
Based on your analysis of their strategy, how could the brand improve their
symbolic/functional meaning and management?
Is positioning effective?
Is brand identity clear?
Are all brand associations positive? How could they address negative?
Does symbolic/functional meaning resonate with you as a consumer?
Could the brand usefully employ any of the strategies we have reviewed in the course?
Type of service: Aacademic Paper Writing
Type of assignment: Critical Essay
Number of Sources: 20
Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper Format: Harvard
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English