A phenomenal faculty from phd, by Donna Clegg

One snowy day in December, we arrived at an agency called phd (www.phdnetwork.com) for a media faculty. I was really looking forward to this as I knew it would come in very useful for my new role as Fanta Brand Manager. I was really taken aback by this extraordinary faculty for a number of reasons:- the first is the time, effort and passion that went into delivering it; the second being the energy and spirit of the people at phd…you could feel the positive, fun, vibrant and forward thinking community and couldn’t help but feel part of it. Thirdly, I went away at the end of the day feeling that I had learnt a great deal due to the careful attention that went into balancing theory and practice. Oh yes, and I have to mention the fantastic goodie bags..wonderful attention to detail. In my books, I rate it as a first class faculty that will be hard to beat!

Some highlights of the day included a fun dragons den style competition for the scholars applying a unique approach to communications planning which phd call ‘ETNA’ (see www.phdnetwork.com). A big thanks goes to the friendly and fun phd dragons including Cheryl Allen, Hugh Cameron, Nick Ellsom, Mark Eaves, Rupert Britton, Toby Nettle and Becca Bunbury. We were given the opportunity to work on a mock brief in teams, with bundles of encouragement through the exercise to develop our thinking all the way through to the communications planning.

I cannot possibly relate here everything we learnt that day, but I have captured some nuggets that could be of use. The chance to put theory into practice was the most effective way to learn.

  • It is important to identify what is unique and different about your brand – what is the story/journey that it is on?


  • Understand the business challenge or problem that it is trying to address. What is the driver behind requesting/wanting media comms?


  • Brand communication ideas should ultimately be useful, educating, entertaining, and/or connecting.


  • Think about simplifying what you want your campaign to do by creating a core theme for your activity for e.g. is your brand trying to Inspire, play, have fun, or to create? It is important to be single minded.


  • Behaviour in media is as important as the messaging within it. Media behaviour should be selective, bold, engaging and innovative. The mindset should be to think about influencing rather than reaching.


  • Identify whether you want your communications to either; disrupt, activate, breakthrough, strengthen, sub influence or connect, which therefore aids channel selection.


  • Brands who wish to succeed in the long term need a mixture of explosive and steady communications. The analogy is a hybrid of ‘fireworks’ and ‘ bonfires’.


  • Think again about your brand. Are you trying to extend the reach of the brand into entertainment… Marketing and entertainment are blurring.


Thanks to everyone at phd for delivering a brilliant day, which was engaging, fun and innovative, but also highly informative.  Happy New Year, Donna

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2 Responses to A phenomenal faculty from phd, by Donna Clegg

  1. Linda Clegg says:

    Very well written Donna, really like your blog, so glad you had fun! You are brilliant, fantastic, amazing, fabulous and wonderful. x

  2. Bev Ridyard says:

    Totally agree Donna, it was a fantastic day! Thanks to all at phd for such a great experience.

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