Robert Jones spent more than 30 years as a brand strategist for brand consultancy Wolff Olins and, in this time, realised there is little professional education in brand development and management, so started providing comprehensive in-house training for new staff to bridge the skills gap.
He then realised they could address this industrywide issue and identified the need for a qualification. Working with Norwich Business School, the MSc in Brand Leadership was established more than 10 years ago and, in that time, the course has introduced 200 people to the professional world of branding. Graduate employability is very high: 90% of students securing jobs in branding, with 40% working for big corporations, 40% for brand agencies and the remaining graduates setting up as entrepreneurs or academics all over the world. ‘We are proud of the number of students working in big London agencies which could never have happened without this course – including students from Russia and Ecuador who now have great jobs in London agencies such as Superunion, Interbrand, Fitch and Venturethree,’ comments Robert.

Having established the course initially, Robert Jones lectures on the programme, alongside his work in the London agency three days a week. Nick Yip, Programme Leader, has taken over from the success of Peter Schmidt-Hansen, with the lecturing team including Robert, Vanya Kitsopoulou, Jonathan Wilson, Alfonso Avila-Merino and James Cornford.
With student recruitment from more than 40 different countries, we have an international student contingent of 20% European, 10% American North and South, 10% Africa and Middle East and the rest from Asia, including Vietnam, who have a strong entrepreneurial culture, explains Robert.
‘From some cultures, students are attracted from family business backgrounds with no brand’, adds Robert ‘who sell to very profitable large western brands and wish to establish branding for themselves, to benefit from the high profits, commercial protection and longevity of having a strong brand.’

Robert explains the phenomenal effect of global brands, the brands we choose and respect, which create a language which can transcend national borders and cultural differences. ‘The brands we choose to associate with and how we identify with each other through brand choices, have become an extraordinary feature of contemporary culture. We also consider the ethics of branding, for good or ill. In an age of climate crises, brand has a huge role in guiding more sustainable consumer behaviour. That’s brand leadership in action.’

Find out here in just three minutes

Find out more about our MSc Brand Leadership Graduates

Meet course leaders, Robert Jones, from brand agency Wolff Olins


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