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Brand Positioning & Marketing Communication College
What Others Say



At our last Open Program the following comments were made by attendees.



OPEN Brand Positioning 
& Marketing Communications College

April 27-29, 2010 Hyatt Regency Hotel 
in Kansas City, Missouri

Participants’ Assessments
(26 Respondents)

1What is your overall assessment of the usefulness of the course in your role as a marketer?   Participants to the dedicated program conducted in Kansas City, Missouri, found the program “extremely useful.” The responses were: 

  • 17 of the 26 respondents gave it a rating of 10 (or above);
  • 7 gave the program a 9 rating; and
  • 2 rated the program 8;
  • making the mean rating for program usefulness 9.58  


2.    Indicate the principal reasons for your assessment.

  • Relevant and practical. Hear, See, Do is an effective way to learn.
  •  Practical and linked to strategy. Used a lot of ads to illustrate the point.
  • Intuitive instruction, clear direction.
  • Practice with opportunity to make mistakes in class.  Many real-life examples and cases.  Personal experiences of instructors.
  • It was really good - the last day felt rushed (could be due to early exist by Scotts)
  • I think that it is great to work through the entire framework and see how all elements interact.
  • Brings us back to the foundation of being marketing folks.
  • I really found the questioning process helpful in really digging deep into positioning. We tend to know where we are positioning the brand, but it is great to be separated from the day-to-day and really think about it.
  • Best practices and process framework.   Experience and expertise of facilitators
  • Even though my brand doesn't currently advertise, it will be helpful for other executions and in the future.
  • Provided us with the tools how to think about Positioning, Strategy and Advertising.
  • Better knowledge and awareness of the strategic positioning process and benefits ladder is a huge assistance.
  • Excellent examples and real-world case studies that are applicable to my cases. Great to drill down to the layers and layers that must be regularly plumbed to come up with the exact right nuance/words/ideas that can beat position on a brand.
  • I thought there were a lot of practical tools presented that could help me think through positioning and communication work.
  • We do very little positioning/concept work and this really expanded my knowledge base.
  • Real world examples/cases, quality and experience of presenters, pragmatic tools.
  • Content and teaching were extremely useful. But it was difficult to implement in group activity due to the varying degrees of commitment level in my specific group. Also, it would have been nice to have been able to work with others in the course
  • Not much experience with developing strategy -- mostly tactical.
  • There are so many pitfalls to Communication Strategies and Brand people aren't aware of them all and often come to the end and wonder what went wrong and don't know how to fix it. This is truly invaluable to know what to do and when.
  • This program focused on the specific issues that are most important in my role and delivered on how to be successful in my role.
  • The course is extremely applicable and useful. We often forget/ignore key concepts due to "being busy" or "knowing it already" and this course brings it back to basics and fundamentals.
  • Frameworks for thought.
  • 100% of the material is applicable to my position. The instructors did an excellent job of helping us learn and understand the core principles.
  • Very practical system. Each piece can be utilized in real practice.
  • Coming from the agency world, it is vitally important not only to understand everything that goes into creating a brand but also to better learn how to interact...I mean collaborate with my clients.
  • The course focuses on the most important role a marketer plays in an organization.

3.  Please indicate how this course lived up to your expectations.   21 of the 26 attendees said the program “met” or “exceeded” their expectations. With the remaining 5 participants claim the program is “better than expected.” 


4.  Indicate what you found most helpful about the course.

  • A practical hands-on framework that can be leveraged over many areas.
  • Execute communication strategy.
  • The understanding of the relationship between the different types of benefits and needs.
  • One page more with roadmap to link all tools together.
  • Actually going through the process in our groups. The help with analyzing and giving direction on creative.
  • Group work and coaching.
  • Positioning is something that we do not put enough emphasis on. The tools for doing this were very helpful. Also found insight into working with an agency helpful.
  • Tools to take back and implement.
  • Hands-on feedback.
  • The tools which will provide structural thinking and evaluation of positioning, strategy and advertising.
  • Benefits Ladder/Strategic Targeting/Brand Positioning
  • Following the same mock-case "Diabetes" throughout really reinforced the essential connections/thread from step to step.
  • The framework to use for positioning. Also, it was extremely nice to see all the examples of good creative that reflected positioning.
  • Positioning - 2 full days were definitely necessary.
  • Case as vehicle for learning, teamwork, all tools/vehicles provided, 5C's frameworks, etc.
  • The plan to get from positioning statement to ad strategy. I also liked the focus on "coaching" when giving comments....however this tended to make me more self-conscious in providing comments. It would have been nice to have more material and training around just coaching. The training, as it was, dealt with it just enough for me to know what I was doing wrong, but not enough for me to know what to do to coach well.
  • Unlike other courses, this course really stressed the foundation of developing a strategy. Also, great coaching and development skills.
  • The tying benefits to needs is so important and it often gets overlooked. I don't want to make this mistake and need to start over at a critical time (crunch time).
  • The methodologies and examples made the teachings impactful.
  • Placing emphasis on tying things together/checking documents against each other to ensure we are on strategy.
  • Combination of presentation, dialogue and exercises.
  • 1) The instruction and "hands-on" exercises/practice;
    2) The tools (documents) in the course packet that I can take with me and apply to my own work.
  • The tools in the toolkit really take you through the brand positioning process.
  • Learning the methodology to creating a brand positioning statement...what to leave out!
  • Real life examples and stories.

5.  And now please indicate what, if anything, you did not find helpful.

  • Too much talk about BDNI specifically.
  • All are very helpful.
  • Very difficult to see screen from back of room.
  • I thought everything was useful. A little more group work could be beneficial.
  • Creative idea formation exercise - helpful in understanding agency POV but I don't create ideas; try to enable agency feedback here.
  • Everything was helpful, but more hands-on feedback would have been more helpful.
  • Everything provided some value and insight.
  • Printouts of presentation so I could take notes and have key concepts for review during class and at night.
  • The end of the course seemed a little rushed.
  • Group activities, but I had a particularly challenging group to work with.
  • There was nothing that I didn't find to be helpful.
  • The pace at times, while understandable, limited some of the absorption of the material.
  • Limited examples relating to hospital based marketing.
  • Conversation that was not relevant.
  • Sticking to pharma. I could have done a consumer case study just as easily.
6.  In what ways do you believe this program will help you improve your work?
  • A rigorous process that provides way to communicate your position.
  • Work with agency, communicate strategy.
  • Will aid in developing new brand positioning for our products.
  • Provides a model for internal and external alignment to utilize our impact.
  • New ways to look at our processes. Framework to approach work.
  • I think that I will be more firm in my beliefs on single minded message and keeping true to position.
  • Create internal alignment on key pieces of positioning.
  • I would have like more time to really think when applying the techniques, particularly in a group setting.
  • Focus in positioning, strategy! Better communication and advertising media.
  • It will help me tweak our integrated communications brief for use in-store, etc. until we advertise.
  • It will help me to be more structured and organized in my product positioning.
  • Positioning our brand, educating the sales force as to the "why the message is such.
  • Crystallize the positioning strategic communication for ongoing work right away & more often reference those documents/measure work against them.
  • I'll go back and re-evaluate our positioning work and how this comes through.
  • Will try to change managements "ready-fire-aim" mentality.
  • Approach things more as "marketect" to shift paradigm. Better director of staff and agency, better communication to drive objectives.
  • Sensitivity to coaching, as well as the encouragement to see marketing as a mission.
  • Better understand how the strategy was developed and apply that more to tactical planning.
  • I can draw on these skills to help point my team and my own assessment of different communication vehicles when they've gone astray.
  • I now have a finite number of variables to work with.
  • Utilization of forms/templates to focus work.
  • Better strategic thinking. The ability to see the forest through the trees. The ability to give better feedback to associates and agencies.
  • Coaching! I will be able to more effectively tell people what I would like.
  • It will help me organize how to approach creating and winning brand. It will help me help my agency work smarter.
  • Focus on more important strategic aspects such as positioning.

7.      Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve the program?

  • Let audience share their problems/challenges to discuss.
  • More creative meeting environment.
  • Include more digital/on-line/mobile examples, cases, etc. Very heavily focused on TV.
  • I would like to see how each document relates to each other. For example with financial statements certain lines transfer to different statement. So many of these forms relate to others in different ways. It would be nice to see how.
  • .Better ways to read our group's work before coaching. I found it very hard to read on screen which limited my ability to analyze the work we were supposed to be reviewing.
  • Longer with more time to hammer out group work. Present full strategy at end.
  • Make handouts of slides presented available to take notes.
  • More hands-on help.
  • Give me time to adjust after feedback and presentations.
  • No.
  • It would be helpful for the facilitators to circulate a bit more during the exercises as sounding board for the teams and to ask the questions that will guide teams in the right direction.
  • It was sometimes distracting going from case to case.
  • A little more time for certain exercises.
  • Change up the groups, the group dynamics. Give more substantial direction about coaching.
  • I believe coaching was so important and many people learn the absolute wrong way to do it. I believe more time could be spent here.
  • None.
  • At conclusion, compare all pieces (positioning, target definition and creative) to ensure all reach same goal.
  • A follow-up session to review our business plans.
  • It feels too short. More time could be spent practicing various elements of the program.
  • Have two projectors. There were several times when folks had to click back and forth.
  • Improved computer tools that demonstrate the flow from start to finish.

8.     What specific content areas were most helpful?

  • All the positioning work on Day 1 and Day 2.
  • Communication Strategy (Baxter internally has a training on positioning).
  • Competitive Framework development.
  • Significant effort on strategic positioning. Coaching for both cases and real-life.
  • Really liked the feedback area (5 C's)
  • Development of Communication Strategy.
  • Target development!
  • Positioning.
  • Positioning, framework, communication strategy and coaching.
  • The information about the needs and the benefits being 2 sides of a coin and so related. The coaching exercises.
  • Developing Product Positioning - Framework of everything else we do. Protocol for feedback. Liked case being used throughout.
  • Benefits Ladder/Strategic Targeting/Brand Positioning Statement.
  • The Needs = Benefits explanation. I liked the idea of conscious redundancy.
  • Evaluating ads and coaching.
  • 5 C's and Brand Positioning Tools. Different ways to differentiate. Coaching tools.
  • Breaking down the strategic targeting and discussing why those inputs are so important to have complete coaching was great.
  • The positioning portion was the most helpful since we often never spend much time at this point.
  • Communication Strategy and the importance of cohesiveness.
  • Feature/Benefit, real world examples.
  • All of them.
  • I really thought the strategic targeting section helped develop a focus and get the process correct from the beginning.
  • The 5 C's and Customer Insight
  • Positioning and strategy.

9.     What specific content areas would you suggest changing (or adding to) and what would those changes be?


  • Add some web examples -> beyond TV/Print.
  • Evaluate return on investment for printed materials distributed through sales team).
  • Need more time than 1/2 hour for Campaign Idea development.
  • Digital/mobile examples and cases. Lean on agency/creative, since we normally don't do their work.
  • Wish we could have done creative briefs.
  • Concept writing.
  • Hard to do in a larger group but category specific case study would be great.
  • If it's possible to have a consumer group separate from the pharma group, it might help to focus the group a bit.
  • I know this is mostly about advertising and there's probably another course, but we know there are other communication vehicles and a couple of examples like social media could be really helpful.
  • For pharma, include more examples/focus for hospital-based products/services.
  • Product Concepts vs. Brand Concepts and positioning (what are the differences & how do I best write a product concepts for concept testing.)
  • Slightly less talking, couple more exercises.
  • Research tools that help develop the insights and positioning.

Would you recommend that all of Brand Marketing take this course?  

 24 of the 26 respondents said “yes”; the other 2 did not respond.


Do you have a person(s) specifically in mind from your company/division you feel should attend this program? 

  • Have done this.
  • Send invite to me and I will forward to all new marketing folks.
  • Everyone who has not attended.
  • Many marketers from my company have participated in this or similar training and I believe it is always helpful to experience together as a team.
  • I will be talking with my company about doing a larger group.
  •  All team members have taken this course.
  •  Everyone who has not yet attended (including upper management)

12.    Do you believe that a customized program would be beneficial to your company/division?  

  • Have done this.
  • Yes, it has been done in the past at Scotts.
  • Yes! As ABMs it will be hard to sell up.
  • I'm sure opportunities will arise in future.
  • I do.
  • One has been conducted and has been very beneficial!



13.     Which of these following programs would you be interested in undertaking for yourself or brand development?  Check as many as apply.







 Marketing Analysis Planning College 31.9  9
 Discovering Customer Insights College 52.2 12
 Concept Writing Training & Development College 34.8 8
 Developing Power Power Positioning 17.4 4
 Creative Brief Development 34.8 8
 Assessing the Big Campaign Idea & Coaching 39.1 9
 Brand Positioning Development Navigator 30.4 7
 Creative Brief Development Navigator 30.4 7
 Brand Activation Workshops 21.7 5
 Brand Positioning Development Workshops 17.4 4
 Rapid Returns - NP Generation & Assessment Process 21.7 5


















14.     Are there other programs you would like BDNI to develop to aid in your personal growth as a marketer?  Specifically, which ones?



  • Interactive marketing -> how to apply these principles to these new arenas
  • Selling ideas internally.
  • Global Brand Positioning & Campaign Development
    How to develop and execute strategies aligned internationally.
  • No.
  • Coaching for managers, Global Product Management
  • Client/agency collaboration. Would need to have equal agency and client representation.
  • Impactful research techniques.




15.  Other comments –  

  • Thanks!
  • Thank you -- great learning that will stick because you taught a process versus providing answers. Instructors were world-class.
  • Thank you!
  • Overall, I loved to hear the experiences that each of you bring and were able to share.
  • Great course - The experience and expertise of facilitators along with tools to immediately implement make this course very valuable. Thank you!
  • Great presenters. Everyone has a tremendous background and very current and knowledgeable of subject matter.
  • Thanks!
  • Thought this program was the best I've attended. You guys really project your enthusiasm for Marketing and Coaching.
  • Thank you!
  •   Fantastic -- loved it! Great presenters -- very impressive credentials.
  • Very valuable learnings. Appreciated the mix of consumer and pharma attendees to add perspective.
  • You guys rock!
  • Great course! Really like the tools and visuals
  • Thank you!






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