The final project of this course is an identity audit of a competitive market category, delivered in the form of a 20-minute presentation. Students work in pairs to research and analyze a category of their choice, such as OTC headache medication, music streaming services, or luxury automobiles. The audit is comprehensive and includes logos, website homepages, social media, advertising, and other audience touchpoints.
As discussed in class, Debbie Millman defines branding as "strategic differentiation." Student audits make observations about visual similarities and differentiators on each touchpoint across the category. The observations include topics from the course such as brandmark topology, brand archetype, advertising model formats, etc. Students use Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity to identify other aspects of brand identity to include in the audit. The audit should acknowledge the category leader and any category disruptors.