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Our programs offered under the BDN Institute banner have consistently averaged a rating of between 9 and 10 (9.64) on a 10.0 scale.


When asked whether the course lived up to expectations attendees responded in the following way:


  • For the past year the average saying
    "Much better than expected"

  • Those responding "Better than
    expected" averaged.............................38%
  • Those responding "Up to Expectations"



The following is the assessment from the last Open Program.  Please note that the bullet-points are actual quotes from the attendees:




Brand Positioning & Marketing Communications College -- Open  Program

May 1-3, 2007 in Evanston, Illinois
(19 Respondents)


  1. What is your overall assesment of the usefulness of the course?
  • The mean rating for the program "usefulness"
    is 9.53
  1. What are the principal reasons participants gave for the perceived usefulness of the program?
  • Thought materials were VERY relevant and extremely well presented.
  • Understanding the elements of the Positioning Statement and how they link; great speakers, very engaging and open to ideas.
  • All the relevant information, up to date, almost everything presented does make it possible to relate to my job.
  • The material covered is the fundamental building blockers of brand building.  Also using examples from a broad range of industries help break us out of the rut.
  • I would like to get more, but it's a language barrier.
  • Gave me core learnings to help me excel within my company.  A fantastic foundation for helping me grow my brand and making wise business choices.
  • The class was excellent.
  • Great framework for key learning principles that should guide all of our brands and communications.
  • Coming from sales into marketing, this course helped me to understand the process of Brand Positioning.  The application (group work) helped me to understand the content.
  • Great advertising examples!  Relevant information presented, case studies, and active role plays made this course more valuable to my daily activities; whether conveying/justifying decisions to Sr. Management or discussing strategy and implementation tactics at sales rep level.
  • Given applicable tools for immediate use.
  • The information touched all levels of experience and various industries.  The combination of lecture and priciples in practice made the key concepts memorable. 
  • Complete overview of positioning elements, examples, opportunity to practice, recaps along the way.
  • Much of this was technically review for me, but it was a great refresher that pulled me away from my daily activities to focus more on what I should be focusing on.
  • There were many disciplined processes that would be valuable to our organization.  We really need some standard processes.
  • Great use of examples to explain positions of idea and talking through various categories/industries.  Good crossover of industries doing the course and ideas.  Howver, was more of a refresher course than I though it would be.  It was disappointing that Richard left during Day 1 who is key reason for the course.
  • Positioning, Creative Strategy was solid -- do not spend time on developing campaign.
  • Great information provided in a very digestible way.  Great models of processes.  Knowledgeable - Knowledgeable - Knowledgeable.  Perfectly paced.
  1. Please indicate how this course lived up to your expectations
  • 21% reported that it was Much Better Than Expected
  • 63% rated it Better Than Expected
  • 16% said it was Up to Expectations


  1. Indicate what you found most helpful about the course
  • The structured, detailed positioning overview.
  • How to apply the Positioning Statement to my brand; understanding the SOI  and how to go beyond the standard of identity to differentiate your product; difference between the Positioning Statement and Communication Strategy.
  • Not only presented to but all the exercises leading up to the final project helps retain and develop what we are learning.
  • Simple frameworks to apply over and over.
  • I've got real practical tools for everyday work.
  • Very simple instruction on how to build a Positioning Statement.  Loved the interaction -- case study and hands on approach was very valuable.
  • The process for Brand Positioning.
  • Develop tight positioning and stick to it.
  • Walking through each exercise on the big screen as well as the coaching sections.  Several "ah ha" moments came from these presentations.
  • Reminders about things we "should" already know 1) coach, 2) use beginners mind; comfortable, non cut-throat environment to express, grow and learn; practical, useful information about daily business activities/skills (e.g., importance of positioning statement, benefit the agency and choosing communication strategy effectively).
  • Description of all the work that goes into what the custome does not see.
  • Putting the concepts into real-life scenarios and walking through the steps from "The Mulligan" to the case presentations.
  • Concise explanations of the concepts; applicable, real-world examples of how those concepts all used effectively (or not).
  • Sections on Communication Briefs and working with the agency.
  • Practicing coaching was very helpful and learning to become a "marketec" was also helpful.
  • Working through examples was great and working in groups; great presenters; good coaching ideas.
  • Facilitators were very knowledgeable; power of the Positioning Statement/ Communications Strategy used in the proper manner.
  • Work on Positioning/Communications Strategy.
  • The formal structure by which to give feedback to agencies vis-a-vis the "Big Idea".
  1. And now please indicate what, if anything, you did not find helpful?
  • Overall a great course, what I would like to see less of is coaching on coaching.  While a very valid point, percentage of time is a bit heavy.
  • I've got some difficulties with understanding (language barrier).
  • Pre-work sent out earlier for more time to review and grasp the content before hand.
  • Everything I learned and experienced has potential and rewards for me -- glad I attended.  3-days was perfect time for this course; I'd like to take the "Creative Brief" course also.
  • While the pharma examples supported concepts, I would've appreciated more examples related to my business.
  • The examples and exercises were very helpful.  I liked everything.
  • Would have loved the opportunity to talk about branding (am hoping the book will help) and to talk about our own Brand Positioning.
  • Little time to ask questions to gain understanding.
  • Working on campaign development for creatives.
  1. In what ways do you believe this program will help you improve your work?
  • I feel that I now have some tangible tools at my disposal -- I'm looking forward to putting my own brand through the process.
  • Help me analyze my brands current position in the market and how to improve it by workiing with our agency to align our thoughts on what the brand should stand for.
  • Give a solid frame work to tighten the marketing practices our company currently uses.  Takes me back to bassics and understandiung why I always had to start there.
  •  Help provide disciplined approach to positioning and communication creation.
  • It will help to use all the information I've got at the class -- improve client/agency relationships; revise Creative Brief all tools are useful for my job.
  • Gave me a basis/foundation for all my projects.
  • It will increase the level of professionalism with which I approach my job.
  • I work in a non-direct marketing role.  Will help to think about how to influence using this knowledge.
  • Tools given/card (laminate); Positioning Statement work; iceburg example will help me spend more time on the "bottom half".
  • As a "non-marketer" who partners with marketing on projects it has helped me understand the marketing landscape better and has encouraged me to work more with marketing on varying projects.
  • Wide range of areas -- we need to estab lish processes to better steward; grow our brands.  Will be able to provide more constructive feedback to agency.
  • Will help me put my focus and guide our brand in the right places.
  • As I'm trying to creae a training program for marketers, this program pointed out how some standard processes could make a difference for our brands.
  • Revision of Brand Positioning Statements and push to develop complete brand doc; better understanding to evaluate ads.
  • Better understanding of "the Marketing Ad Agency" conversation; better work with ad agency; this course could easily be a 4/5 day course.  Seemed too rushed.
  • Benefit -- needs; writing creative briefs.
  • The moderators have such great and broad experience.  I would have loved "real world" examples from the moderator's time in corporate America.
  1. Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve the program?
  • I'd like to see more on the Creative Brief section.
  • I would love to see more business results vs. evidence for the power of communications.  Also a a real world example from positioning through to ad and associated results.
  • It is excellent.
  • At first, I thought it would hinder my learning to have all "pharma" at same table.  Howevr, it turned out to be more qualitative for our learning and sharing...because we have similar issues to deal with.  Yet, with discussions on consumers products, we still learned about other industries and challenges.
  • Great lecturer -- ensure quality or eliminate.  Having my picture taken -- is this totally necessary?  A little invasive.
  • The real-world examples from presenters brought validity to concepts.  Guest speakers behind some of the campaigns we reviewed would be a nice addition to an already exciting course.
  • Explore group just for pharma.
  • Have icebreakers/cocktail hour first night so people have better opportunity to know each other identify skill sets and how they complement.
  • I like writing down my thoughts, so I'd like a binder.
  • Utilize some of our own advertising and Positioning Statements.  Have a networking dinner on the first night.
  • Make 5-days; allow a one on one exit discussion to take place as they volunteer to do so in order to ensure application is understood.  Everyone in the class did not talk.
  • Expand creative brief into this class.
  1. What specific content areas would you suggest changing (or adding to) and what would those changes be?
  • Perhaps an element on media buying or when are the best times to advertise your product based on target market and category.
  • Not sure if time permits, but would love to write one or two more Positioning Statement and have them criticized.
  • A bit too much discussion about dealing with agency/client relationship.
  • I would have different groups do ideas off of a different team's Communication Strategy, this is more like real world and can serve as important lesson on what's being left off of the ideas or they don't hit the right direction.
  • Incorporating our own advertising/work in some way, not in detail but as per the other ads we run through.
  • Do not have groups develop campaigns.
  1. Would you recommend that all of Product Marketing take this course?
  • 95% responded "yes"
  • The other 5% (1 person) did not respond
  1. Other Comments:
  • CD Rom is much better than a manual.
  • No manual - but would like to load CD on computer.
  • Paper manual not needed - the CD Rom and toolkits are great.
  • Prefer manual for ntoe taking.  Also include CD as a reference later.
  • Thank you!
  • Would like manual for after program.  I have reference books at my office often.  CD will be extremely useful, but the book would also be a quick reference.  Excited to put into action and read the book.  Feel like this training will catapult me beyond other employees!  Great course.
  • I would like to have had a manual or at least the slides to take notes.
  • Would like to have known that I needed a disk drive.
  • I like (and prefer) the CD Rom option.  What might be helpful is to hand out key slides as reference while we're in groups (e.g., Positioning Statement completed.)
  • I missed having a binder; the Communication Strategy document could be simplified -- a little wordy -- when I use (which I will) I will streamline.  Loved this class -- thank you!  These 3 days flew by -- so interesting.  I will definitely recommend to others.  Thanks for the Brand Loyalty Book.
  • A handout version of presentation would have been helpful for note taking.  This was one of the most worthwhile courses I have taken this far.
  • CD Rom is great -- binder wasn't missed at all; provide completed models as well.
  • CD Room works best because electronic version is more portable, a key disk may also work well.  Contact our home office -- we're ready to be doing more of this kind of course.
  • I like the idea of a CD, but I would like to also have a manual for note taking.
  • Great presenters, great way to understand pros and cons of ads and how to understand what works and doesn't; great refresher -- if only I had the time to implement (I'll try to revamp my current brand plan).  Thank you.
  • CD only was fine, but send in advance.
  • Loved Richard, Mike and Dave!  All the best!
  • Would have preferred a hard copy not just CD.


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