Building Innovative Brands

How leading brands may leverage a Design Thinking approach to become ever more participatory, experiential and experimental.

Winter 2016
Mon/Wed/Fri on the following dates:
January 25, 27, 29 and February 8, 10, 3:00-5:50pm
Final Presentations February 11, 5:30-7:30pm
CoLab in GSB
MKTG 552
2 Units
Credit / No Credit
Launched 2011

A brand is much more than surface branding. We focus on four deeper habits from which modern innovative brands draw their power.  Together, we will explore how leading organizations start human centered, create with purpose, invite participation, spark stories – to build engaging relationships with employees and customers.

Building Innovative Brands is a hands-on two-week dive into how leading brands may leverage a Design Thinking approach to become ever more participatory, experiential and experimental. Inspired by provocative real-world examples and industry guests, diverse student teams will employ human-centered design methods to conceive of and visualize their own creative proposals for how a company or organization could engage in innovative, brand-enhancing new ways.  Past and current speakers include Tony Fadell (CEO of Nest), Bryan Meehan (Chairman of BlueBottle), Chris Granger (President of Sacramento Kings), Luanne Calvert (CMO at Virgin America), and Wendy Clark (President at Coke).

This year’s project partner is the Bay Area-based Blue Bottle Coffee.  Teams will ultimately pitch their experience design concepts for feedback, consideration and potential real-world implementation. Learn more at:

For an overview of the class, please watch this video.

Teaching Team
Jennifer Aaker, Stanford GSB
Chris Flink, IDEO and
Stephany Yong and Madilyn Ontiveros
Alli Anderson McKee and Dre Taylor

Accepting 44 Students; Open to Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Fellows, post-docs.
Non-GSB students encouraged to apply! (GSB students enroll via AcademicOperations).
Application closed.


Building Innovative Brands