Strategic Marketing Management: Report – 74%

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sostac_plan_long_2This unit introduced me to the top-level of marketing and was one of the most enjoyable and challenging parts of third year. It had a significant impression on my affinity towards advertising and widened my future employment perspectives.

In the past I had been fairly sceptical of academic models in relation to their relevance in practice. Whereas, through applying PR Smith’s SOSTAC® framework and various other analysis tools in this unit, I found my opinions of theory to favourably change.

In a group of three, my task was to fully apply SOSTAC® to Nestle, specifically its baby food division. We first conducted a situation analysis and then using this information, justly proposed objectives, creative targeted actions and controlling measures.

The initial situation analysis process required logical, problem-solving thinking. We needed to weigh up: which market, product and consumer would provide the most value in targeting. While taking into account extenuating circumstances involving boycott actions against Nestle.

Through extremely comprehensive analysis, my group was able to use data to justify almost all of our decisions. The only bias decision was the choice of the UK market, which admittedly, was chosen due to the favourable amount of data available regarding this market.

The thorough analysis set us up very well for the more creative stage of SOSTAC®, the actions. We were able to brainstorm innovative marketing tactics that took full advantage of the market and consumer trends in the UK, while conforming to the regulations associated with baby food advertising and the impact of the boycott.

The main challenge my group encountered when formulating this report, was the sheer vastness of data we had gathered. Being introduced to a wide array of models, coupled with my tutor granting great freedom through the choice of any market or product we could justify, meant the process of narrowing our work down to fit the 10-page limit was extremely challenging. This is highlighted by the report’s word count, just under 12,000 words. Admittedly, this was an excessive amount to squeeze onto 10 pages and possibly hindered our mark.

However, the challenges of this task provided me with a valuable learning experience. Good research is largely useless if the uncovered bits of gold are not communicated to managers effectively. Communication is at the heart of advertising. If the marketers themselves are unable to communicate internally, what hope do they have of engaging externally.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed conducting such a comprehensive assignment. Using logical thinking in determining which pathway to create ideas around was extremely satisfying. In second year, I had been fairly one-track-minded in believing my goal was to be a ‘creative’ in an agency, however, this unit opened my eyes to the affinity I have towards analytical research and widened my scope in considering these roles as well.

My group and I received 74% for this assignment.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.


SOSTAC® is a registered trade mark of PR Smith. For more information on SOSTAC® Planning & becoming a SOSTAC® Certified Planner visit www.SOSTAC.org .

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Corporate Reputation Management: Report – 85%

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This assignment asked myself and a partner to create a report with the plans for a corporate communication campaign designed to enhance corporate reputation. Like previous assignments, we were given the freedom to choose our own firm to examine and were tasked with conducting a situation analysis. However, the analysis was much shorter, just four pages long, meaning it had to be prioritised much more rigidly than the ten-page VW analysis. We chose to study Kellogg’s, which presented unique challenges that had to be overcome.

My partner and I used the analysis to decide on one issue to focus our communication campaign on. We proposed six SMART objectives: three business-orientated and three communications and created a campaign message. Using Mitchel et al. (1997) framework, we conducted in-depth stakeholder analysis, which enabled our target publics to be accurately and justly determined. We focused on consumers, media and shareholders.

For consumers we proposed three initiatives:

  • An interactive sporting event at England’s first game of the 6 Nations, themed around the 1990s hit UK TV show Gladiators.
  • A social media competition in partnership with FitBit: #BeatTheBadges.
  • Local community development in collaboration with the This Girl Can sports-orientated initiative.

Our activities strategically targeted the consumer behaviour trends identified from the situation analysis, while staying inline with Kellogg’s corporate image, enabling the enhancement of its reputation.

We used a variety of media tools to communicate with our target publics:

  • A national media press conference
  • A host of press releases, including: national, local, specialist and social media.
  • A press day at the Manchester Factory
  • Bloggers and other online influencers.

The media channel complimented the activity it attached to, such as social media press releases for the Fitbit competition, in order to create a streamlined integrated campaign.

This assignment presented unique challenges and in overcoming, I believe to have learnt more about the process of analysing a company’s situation and weighing up the most important aspects to take action upon. When we discovered Kellogg’s impressive reputation, my partner and I rationalised, the ideal action did not lie with outlandish PR stunts but rather with engaging activities that compliment the brand and help bolster its reputation.

We approached with a considerable amount of respect towards Kellogg’s, being mindful of conserving its reputation over other more extreme tactics. This assignment impressed upon me, that just because the task gives unbridled freedom to choose any communication tactics, there are some instances where erring on the side of caution is the most favourable strategy for sustaining reputation and long-term success.

My partner and I received 85% for this task, a grade I’m very proud of, given the obstacles we overcame.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.

Strategic Communications & Advertising Planning: Part 2 – Poster Pitch – 78%

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Following on from the situation analysis undertaken in Part 1, my team and I were then tasked to brainstorm a campaign in order to attain one of the suggested marketing communication objectives. We showcased our ideas in a 10-minute pitch, facilitated by an A0 poster, designed collaboratively using Adobe Photoshop.

We focussed on the Golf GTE, hybrid/electric car and utilised the car-purchasing-journey, adapted from Mintel, as a framework for our pull/profile strategy. SEO and a TV ad were strategically applied for the ‘initial search’ stage. We dreamt up a promotional event, VW Volt, intended to engage with the public and inform of VW’s commitment to sustainability. To aid potential customers’ ‘choice evaluation’ a partnership with Zipcar was tactically proposed, allowing the public to test-drive VW cars, encourage purchasing and ultimately, achieve return-on-investment. We divulged a budget and schedule for the campaign by way of a Gantt chart.

It was empowering to have the freedom to innovate my own extensive campaign on this assignment. Working as group of five, bouncing ideas off each other, while using the car-purchasing-journey as a guideline, made producing this comprehensive campaign seamless, fun, and creatively satisfying. The tricky part was keeping our presentation down to just 10 minutes long. However, practice helped achieved this and my previous experience with pitching helped the delivery to be confident and precise.

My team and I received 78% for the second part of this assignment, giving myself an overall average unit grade of 84%.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.

Strategic Communications & Advertising Planning: Part 1 – Report – 90%

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This post is the first piece of work from the third year of my degree. This year, the tasks primarily focussed on applying theory in relation to a firm and its particular scenario. This assignment had two parts, an individual report and a group presentation.

My team and I decided upon Volkswagen (VW), as the task warranted a company that was in need of refocusing or refreshment. The report involved a situation analysis of VW, examining: the customer context, the business context, the internal context and the external context. It heavily concentrated on VW’s emissions scandal of 2015.

Using stakeholder analysis, PESTLE, SWOT and in-depth market and consumer analysis facilitated by Mintel, I was able to prioritise four key issues VW faced and identify SMART marketing communications objectives justly addressing the problems.

A difficulty I initially found with this task involved diluting down the vast amount of data I gathered. The report had a 10-page limit, meaning by no means could all the data be included. With performing numerous situation analyses in my other units, I became more experienced at this practice of narrowing down, while attaining the ‘bigger picture’. Being able to find data, analyse it in its entirety and then pick out the valuable bits of information in order to create an informed prioritised plan of action, is a skill I believe to have progressively developed during third year.

I received 90% for this assignment, a grade I’m extremely proud to receive and did not expect to ever achieve at university. Please use the email below to view a sample of the report.


Email: hudacummings@gmail.com

LinkedIn: Yehudah Cummings

Twitter: Yehudah Cummings

Facebook: Yehudah Cummings

Click to view my CV.