When it comes to innovation in consumer goods, packaging is an area where the pace of change rarely lets up. It forms the first and most fundamental image of a brand in the buyer’s mind.

To explore this idea further, and as part of the elective course ‘Managing Customer Experiences’, London Hult undergraduate professor Mike Berry arranged for his students to visit the Museum of Brands: home to a large collection (over 15,000) of items charting British consumer history. The museum examines the history of consumer culture from Victorian times to the present day.

 

Brand museum
Professor Mike Berry talks to Learning Officer Amy Kingsbury-Barker

The day was led by Learning Officer, Amy Kingsbury-Barker, who conducted a workshop with students to examine the development of specific brands, their products, and the way in which they adapt to suit consumers’ needs.

 

Why brands are constantly evolving

Students talked about how the packaging we choose and use reflects a lot about ourselves and about the world around us. From technological developments to wars to key trends, there are many factors that can prompt a brand to overhaul the way they package their products and portray their brand.

Students take part in a workshop 

During the workshop, students were given one product to focus on in small groups. They were asked to identify the target audience for the product and to think about how they could improve the packaging to suit today’s consumer. Students suggested ways to alter the packaging, such as by making it more eco-friendly, and then pitched their ideas to their fellow classmates.

 

“Brands develop and maintain their identity but they also need to adapt to our needs as consumers.”

From this exercise, it was obvious how brands develop and maintain their identity but need to adapt to our needs as consumers. They need to evolve and reflect our views but also stand out from the sheer volume of competitors around the world.

Brands are constantly evolving and the process isn’t going to stop anytime soon–hopefully, our students will be a part of that process.

 

Students explore the exhibited products

We caught up with professor Mike Berry to find out about the course he teaches and the purpose of the visit to the museum:

Can you tell us about the course the students are taking?

This is the last class in a course called Managing Customer Experiences. We’ve been talking about keeping our customers loyal, how to communicate with them, how to boost the customer lifetime value of the brand, and also how to up-sell and cross-sell.

This museum and experience is highly relevant as it’s all about customer experiences, packaging, and the image of the brand.

 

“As teachers at Hult, we have a general mission to interest the students in the subject to stimulate their brains and maybe even their ambitions.”

Why are we here today at the brand museum?

It’s good to mix up the learning and the teaching. We try and do different things to make the course varied and interesting. People learn in different ways so it’s good to have a range of different stimuli, from classroom teaching to group discussions to team assignments.

As teachers at Hult, we have a general mission to interest the students in the subject to stimulate their brains and maybe even their ambitions. This is an elective course the students have chosen to take as they want to work in marketing, and this is an interesting and useful example of real-world marketing which will hopefully prompt them to think about the evolution of brands in general.

 

“Marketing is a profession where you prove your value as you learn and progress in your career.”

Is there one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’d like to go into marketing/branding?

Yes, be prepared to start at a low level and work your way up. Most CMOs have started as brand managers and marketing is a profession where you prove your value as you learn and progress in your career.

If you find this sort of museum and these exhibits and sort of thinking interesting, I’d encourage you to look at applying to graduate trainee jobs in a marketing function and think about joining a company where you admire the branding and the advertizing. There’ll be people there that you can learn from.

Be prepared to learn a lot in an exciting and challenging environment.


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