Headlines (News Releases)
School of Business & Economics
$2M gift helps Laurier create Canada’s first Chair in Brand Communication
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
Jun 15/11| For Immediate Release
Rupert Brendon, Chairman and Trustee
Lori Chalmers Morrison, Associate Director, Communications & Public Affairs
TORONTO – Today Wilfrid Laurier University announced the creation of Canada’s first Chair in Brand Communication with an investment of $1.9 million by 45 leading Canadian brands and brand marketing professionals to establish Laurier as a national centre for brand education.
National branding, advertising, marketing communications and marketing research expert Dr. Brad Davis has been appointed as the inaugural chair.
“This generous investment will help ensure that Laurier graduates become the next generation of business leaders who are equipped with the brand communication skills and knowledge to keep Canada competitive in today’s global marketplace,” said Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier. “Professor Brad Davis is a national leader in his field and I am confident in his ability to take Laurier’s School of Business & Economics to a national leadership position in brand communication education.”
As part of the role of chair, Davis will continue to build upon the university’s relationships with the brand communication industry and other leading academic partners in an effort to raise the quality and profile of brand communication education across Canada. He will establish Laurier as a national centre of education delivery and excellence on issues in the field of brand communication.
“In the era of social networking, it is more important than ever that organizations have a deep rooted and organic understanding of their brand to be able to sustain genuine and authentic conversations with consumers,” said Davis. “Our goal is to produce graduates who can articulate that understanding of the brand and know what is needed to engage consumers in brand-directed interaction.”
The chair was established through a major gift from the Marketing Communications Education Trust (MCET), a not-for-profit public foundation created by industry leaders from the Canadian agency and marketing worlds. This group of 45 donors includes brand giants, such as charter member Unilever and many of the leading members of the Institute of Communication Agencies and leading media companies. MCET is led by chairman and trustee Rupert Brendon, past president and CEO of the Institute of Communications and Advertising and member of Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends.
“Effective and engaging communication plays a critical role in the development of a brand,” said Brendon. “The industry realized several years ago that Canada was one of the few markets in the developed world that didn’t have a university level degree in Brand Communication. Since many clients and industry brand champions come out of the university environment, not having this type of training puts Canada and the Canadian industry at a disadvantage. We met with many leading Canadian universities and Laurier was the one that demonstrated the greatest willingness to work hand-in-hand with the industry to create a best-in-class Brand Communication program. We are delighted that our efforts have resulted in the establishment of this chair.”
Laurier’s brand communication program was established in 2006 at both the undergraduate and MBA levels in Laurier’s School of Business & Economics and has become the fourth most popular undergraduate concentration. Collaborations with MCET have helped to ensure the program addresses real-time issues facing industry, since its inception. Fifty business courses have incorporated brand communication content; 450 current students have completed a concentration in brand communication; 150 undergraduates have graduated with this concentration since 2006; 30 MBA graduates fulfill brand communication requirements each year; and five new, unique courses have been created in brand communication.