JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 7, 2021) – Today’s leaders in business require creative and diverse professionals with crossover skills in marketing, media and film, but there is a significant talent gap. To answer this call, Brand Storytelling and East Tennessee State University, along with several global industry sponsors, have stepped up to bridge the education and diversity gap with a first-ever professional certification program.
The Brand Storytelling Brand Film Certification is a 100% online professional certification taught by industry leaders connected to Brand Storytelling’s world-class network of professionals in media, production, marketing, advertising, culture and entertainment. The certification will appeal to industry professionals and recent college graduates looking to better understand the intersection of business, brand and film, ETSU officials said. The first Brand Storytelling Certification cohort begins Jan. 31, 2022, with five additional cohorts launching throughout 2022.
“Today, our industry is propelled by consumer behavior and forward-thinking brands,” said Rick Parkhill, founder of Brand Storytelling. “Led by our core mission of education, the Brand Storytelling community is in a unique position to grow, cultivate and inspire the next generation of brand storytellers through innovative education that they know is taught by professionals in the industry.”
This innovative certification is sponsored by Discovery, Southwest Airlines, Intel, Univision and BODYARMOR, alongside leading brand storytelling production house UM Studios. The involvement and support of these leading companies grounds the program in the real world of brand-funded entertainment, officials at ETSU said, giving program participants the opportunity to get actionable, hands-on experience they can apply upon the completion of their certification.
Sponsors support immersive scholarships, valued at $2,000 each, granted to diversity, equity and inclusion students to participate in the immersive program. Scholarships provide opportunities for direct interaction and mentorship with sponsors, faculty and advisors. These scholarships help foster greater opportunities for students and professionals looking to advance their skills in brand storytelling while brands get access to emerging talent.
“We are so proud to participate in a program that provides amazing opportunities for professionals from diverse backgrounds,” said Patrizio Spagnoletto, chief marketing officer for Discovery. “This program also serves to help participating sponsors like us to identify the next generation of media production and marketing leaders.”
Parkhill and Dr. Stephen Marshall, ETSU professor and chief marketing officer for the ETSU Research Corporation, recognized brand storytelling industry needs for ongoing learning and saw a collaboration opportunity between their organizations. By supporting the industry-focused program through a university, the Brand Storytelling Certification perfectly blends industry expertise with academia’s prestige, they said.
“The worlds of marketing, media and film continue to merge in what is still considered new territory,” said Marshall. “Partnering with industry to innovate education outcomes and diversity needs is central to the ETSU Research Corporation’s environmental, social and governance mission. We are proud to power this professional credential with world-class education experiences. Professionals from around the world can take this virtual course, and outcomes will build a diverse community of brand storytellers.”
The certification course will feature some of today’s most influential names in brand storytelling as instructors: Marc Battaglia, co-founder of Story + Strategy and former global executive creative director for Marriott International; Brian Newman, founder of Sub-Genre brand consulting agency; Marcus Peterzell, chief executive officer of Passion Point Collective entertainment marketing agency; and Dawn Reese, senior vice president and managing director of UM Studios.
Additionally, instructors will bring a variety of guest presenters from their own professional networks to speak. These guest presenters will broaden the academic scope and provide further industry knowledge to benefit students’ understanding of brand film.
As part of the Brand Storytelling Certification, each student will develop a capstone project at the conclusion of the program that answers a request for proposal by a brand partner. The projects will feature detailed responses to real-life challenges and needs from the partner.
“The Brand Storytelling Certification is one of the most comprehensive and innovative industry programs available,” Battaglia said. “Its specific focus on brand film and entertainment makes it not only unique but supports how today’s industry is evolving. Featuring top industry experts, the program includes hands-on experiences, collaboration and networking opportunities powered by Brand Storytelling, a thought leadership organization with the mission to support, educate and inspire brand-funded content.”
Brand Storytelling and the ETSU Research Corporation will host six Brand Storytelling Brand Film Certification cohorts throughout 2022.
Learn more about the certification and application process at brandstorytelling.tv/certification.