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IPA Excellence Diploma 2013-2014 delegates predict the future of brands and brand communications

Seven exceptional delegates from the 2013-2014 IPA Excellence Diploma, the IPA’s highest level qualification have today (4th September 2014) had their inspiring essays on the future of brands and brand communications published in a supplement featured in Campaign magazine.


Gethin James, Head of Planning, Lowe Profero; Emily Fairhead-Keen, Business Director, MEC; Erik Arnell, Global Communications Strategist, Carat Global Management; James Boardman, Director, Client and Communications, MEC Sydney; James Borrodell Brown, Senior Strategist, Zone; Richard Bradford, Group Strategy Director, MEC; Matthew Philip, Strategy Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD were all awarded distinctions for their outstanding and visionary 7,000 word assignments, written as the final part of the 12-month IPA Excellence Diploma.

Gethin James was also awarded The President’s Prize with Emily Fairhead-Keen picking up the Outstanding Body of Work award.

Download the essays from the Campaign supplement here.

The essays include:

I believe… in confronting complexity, by Gethin James, Head of Planning, Lowe Profero: “Diversity in our thinking will open up our minds to the value of the interconnection of new ideas and bring a fresh proactivity to the planning process” (awarded President’s Prize).

I believe… the future of brands must be superhuman, by Emily Fairhead-Keen, Business Director, MEC: “In the new Marketing Age, brands need to compete for attention with everyone and everything, so must rise to the challenge by delivering extraordinary performance using Superhuman powers” (awarded Outstanding Body of Work).

I believe... that the future of brands lies in making loving fun, by James Boardman, Director, Client and Communications, MEC Sydney: “Marketing’s debate about loyalty is fundamentally flawed. Therefore, a total reframing of what loyalty actually is and a better understanding of what it can do for businesses is critical.”

The Diploma has been chaired by Nick Kendall, Former Worldwide Head of Strategy at BBH, since 2004 and this year he was supported by co-chair David Wilding, now Planning Director, Twitter and formerly Head of Planning at PHD, with essays and assignments marked and edited by an esteemed panel of industry experts.*

In total, twenty-four industry practitioners successfully completed the Excellence Diploma, with a record-breaking five distinctions as well as fifteen credits and four passes. View them all here.

Says Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development, IPA: “In an era of ever increasing accountability it is appropriate to have recorded a record class size for this most recent iteration of the IPA Excellence Diploma. This is surely a reflection of the programme in encouraging the participants to have confidence in their own ideas and develop original and vital ideas for the future of our industry and the brands we help build. There is no doubt that their agencies and clients will benefit greatly from their new found wisdom, which proves the value of this pinnacle of IPA qualifications, which now after ten years can certainly be described as ‘the MBA of Brands’.”

Says Emily Fairhead-Keen, Business Director, MEC who was awarded The Outstanding Body of Work: “The Excellence Diploma really stuffs you full of wonderfully rich information and opinion, for you to then move on with your own opinion, confidently and convincingly. Although my husband is perhaps secretly pleased we don't have to discuss brands over dinner, I secretly miss it and think myself incredibly lucky one to have done it.”

*IPA Excellence Diploma markers and editors:

  • Louise Ainsworth, CEO, WARC
  • Tess Alps, Non Executive Chair, Thinkbox
  • Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA
  • John Bartle, Non Executive Chairman, Dare
  • Karen Buchanan, Chief Executive, Publicis
  • Pete Buckley, Strategy Director, MEC Global
  • Mark Earls, HERDmeister
  • Daryl Fielding, ‎Director of Brand Marketing, Vodafone
  • Peter Field, Independent Marketing and Advertising Professional 
  • David Hackworthy, Chief Strategy Officer, Fallon
  • Tom Hampson, Marketing Director, Netto UK
  • Janet Hull OBE, Director of Marketing and Reputation Management, IPA
  • Nick Kendall, Group Strategy Director, BBH
  • Mark Lund, UK CEO, McCann
  • Sophie Maunder-Allan, CEO, VCCPme
  • Craig Mawdsley, Head of Planning, AMV BBDO
  • Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development, IPA
  • Steve Parker, Co-Chief Executive, Starcom MediaVest Group UK
  • Ian Priest, International MD, Chime Communications and IPA President
  • Gurdeep Puri, Founder, The Effectiveness Partnership
  • Leo Rayman, Head of Planning, Grey
  • Gideon Spanier, Media Editor, Evening Standard / Independent
  • Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Chief Strategy Officer, MEC Global
  • Sue Unerman, Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom
  • David Wilding, Planning Director, Twitter
  • Stephen Woodford, Chairman, Lexis

The IPA is releasing a book celebrating ten years of the Excellence Diploma featuring a selection of the best essays over the years and analysis from leading industry figures. The book will be available to buy in Spring 2015.

Known as the MBA of brands, the Excellence Diploma is a rigorous 12-month programme designed for individuals with at least six years’ experience who wish to push their thinking forward beyond their own discipline. The qualification provides individuals with an unparalleled expertise in brands, exposing them to leading industry thought leaders sharing their expertise and experience.

To find out more about applying for the 2014/2015 Excellence Diploma contact

The IPA launched the Excellence Diploma in 2004, under the presidency of Stephen Woodford, to raise the real and perceived professionalism and value of marketing communications. Diploma modules cover: the role of brands, people and brands, brands and channel thinking, brands and creativity, brands and measurement, and brands and leadership. Candidates are given a mentor from their agency for support and to help them put the thinking into practice.

Last updated 04/09/2014

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