Graduate School of Social Sciences

Building Brands and Influencing Behaviour

Steven Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine, once stated “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”, as it persuades customers to pay more, purchase more frequently, and retains their loyalty. In short, strong brands influence the behavior of customers, which subsequently drives business results. This program takes an in-depth look at the behavior of winning corporate, government, and non-profit brands, and the strategies behind them.

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 7 July - 25 July 2019
Housing dates: 6 July - 26 July 2019
Academic fee: € 1575
Housing fee: € 500 and € 75 deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.
Credits: 6 European Credits
Who is this programme for? For current university students (Bachelors and Masters) in the arts and social sciences with an interest in branding, marketing, and business. For working professionals and entrepreneurs with a desire to continue their education/update their skills in this field.
Academic director: Guido van Garderen
Early application deadline: 10 January 2019
Regular application deadline: 1 April 2019


Programme description

In this course, we examine what factors create a winning brand, analyze the strategies behind it, and observe how the resulting behavior of consumers makes an impact on the bottom line of the organization. This three-week summer programme will provide students with the skills to define the brand essence of an organization and bring it to life through design, copy and behaviour. You will understand how all of the aspects of the brand need to work as one, in order to create a unique and relevant experience.

Participants will be able to create the foundation of their own start-up, nonprofit, or corporate brand, and be better equipped for a role in marketing or brand management. Throughout the programme, we will move from behavioural analysis and branding strategies to case-studies, and actual applications. The final project of this course will ensure that the methods learned in the classroom will be applied to a real client from the nonprofit sector, thereby bringing theory and practice together, while making a real impact on society.  

Subjects include Behavioural Analysis, Design Strategy, City Branding, Competitive Positioning, Differentiation, Brand Architecture, Values, Culture, and Storytelling. Students can expect short excursions in Amsterdam, and two full-day visits to a company and a theme park to see specific brand concepts applied in real life. The course will end with final presentations to a nonprofit client, who will be the beneficiary of the brand strategy devised by students.     

Study load

The programme schedule from Monday to Thursday includes:

  • Morning lecture (2.5 hours)
  • Lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  
  • Afternoon workshop (2.5 hours; including case studies and exercises).

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there will be interaction with the nonprofit beneficiary of our brand strategy analysis or an excursion (which is included in the tuition fee).

Two full-day excursions are part of the programme. One will be to a company that uses its values as an inspiration for product development, its internal culture and even the design of the office. A second excursion will be to a Dutch amusement park, where we will analyze the brand experience and learn more about “imagineering”.

Credit Transfer

As a Summer Institute student you receive a participation certificate with an official seal from the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Students who wish to earn credits receive an official transcript stating the courses taken, credits earned and grades obtained. The programme is the equivalent of a 6 European Credits (or 3 American credits) module. Students are responsible for ensuring that their home university will accept the credits and final credit conversions need to be made by the home university. If you have questions about credit transfer, or need more information on the programme for your home university's administration, please email us at


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Published by  UvA Summer School