Foundation Certificate Syllabus

A journey through the entire brand communications process in just 30 hours of flexible online learning. This qualification is divided into seven modules designed to take candidates on a circular learning journey through the entire brand communications process.

Module 1: The Business of Creativity

Authored by Coral Cranmer, Associate Director - Strategy, McCann Leeds

The opening module is intended to remind us about the inspiring creative industry that we all work in - including references to its glorious past, dynamic present and exciting future. The module helps to outline and celebrate the role of creativity in both communications and the wider business community.
It includes:

  • Understanding Creativity and its commercial value
  • Creativity in Advertising and how it works
  • Creativity and brand marketing effectiveness
  • Unlocking our own creativity
  • The future of effective creativity

Module 2: The Context in Which Creative Communications Operates

Authored by Pia Kingan, Media Lead, Sky

This module looks at the context in which creative communication operates – specifically to our industry but also within the wider commercial context in which we all operate.
It includes:

  • The speed and rate of change of our industry
  • Agency type and landscape
  • Highlighting specific key industry issues, from talent retention to viewability to profitability
  • The impact of Covid on the workplace
  • Responding to issues we all care about such as inclusivity and sustainability

Module 3: The Key Stakeholders and Their Role in Delivering Effective Communication Solutions

Authored by Tom Darlington, Head of Insight, PHD Worldwide

This module helps us understand the various stakeholder roles involved in delivering an effective and creative communications solution and give some top tips of how we can collaborate and work better together.
It includes:

  • Why clients employ agencies
  • The role and relationship between client and agency
  • Understanding the Marketing Director’s role – what they do and what they need
  • Overview of agency functions and roles and how they are paid for creative solutions
  • Top tips for effective working relationships

Module 4: Essential Communications Tools and Theories

Authored by Neil Godber, Executive Strategy Director, Wunderman Thompson

This fourth module starts with looking at the brief – interrogating it to understand what is really needed and also how a brief can support creativity.
It includes:

  • Looking at some of the key marketing theories you should be familiar with
  • The role of data
  • Understanding people: insight and getting under the skin of your audience
  • Sharing some commonly used communications terms and models

Module 5: Media Planning Fundamentals

Authored by Matt Philip, Head of Strategy and Lucy Hunt, Planning Business Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

This module demonstrates media’s invaluable role as source, inspiration and enhancement of creativity and the creative process. It is approached from a media-neutral standpoint and includes relevant theories, inspiring examples and helpful facts to illustrate media’s changing profile.
It Includes:

  • Clarifying the difference between comms planning and media planning
  • Going deeper on media planning
  • Exploring some of the key considerations when media planning
  • The media landscape
  • The future of media

Module 6: The Creative Content Development

Authored by Debs Gerrard, EMEA Creative Director, The LEGO Group

In this module, we focus on the creative content development. We start by outlining why this module is important especially if you don’t work in a creative agency.
It includes:

  • What makes a good creative brief and how you can bring the brief to life
  • How content is conceived and created
  • The creative communications development process
  • Judging creative Ideas and giving creative feedback
  • Tools and techniques that anyone can use to be more creative

Module 7: Evaluating Effectiveness – Basic Principles

Authored by Simon Gregory, Joint Chief Strategy Officer, BBH London

This final module outlines the basic principles of evaluating effectiveness. It illustrates some of the ways in which the IPA has been at the vanguard of this drive - as the home of the globally renowned Effectiveness Awards and Eff Works and through the development of many landmark works and theories such as those from Les Binet and Peter Field.

It includes:

  • What is effectiveness and why it is important?
  • Setting clear objectives to ensure good evaluation
  • Embedding effectiveness: from objectives to measurement to impact
  • How approaches to effectiveness are evolving
  • Learn by example with best-in-class IPA Effectiveness Awards

Recommended Resources

We have also provided a list of Recommended Resources for each module, ranging from blogs to books, that we encourage students to explore as wider reading on the subject matter.

Final Exam

Students must pass a formal online exam to achieve the Certificate. The exam comprises of essay questions.

Last updated 01 May 2024