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The Center for Brand Research

CBR graphic

The Center for Brand Research (CBR) was formed in 1999 to provide our students and faculty with the opportunity to study and accept assignments from advertising agencies and clients that dealt with the positioning of products and services. Professor Neal M. Burns, who after a long career in advertising serves as Director of the CBR, has said. "The mission of the CBR is to provide research opportunities that deal with both the development of branding theory and the practice of branding." The technological changes, the shifts in media importance, the rise of social networks, and the worldwide cultural and economic changes that have taken place...all contribute to the challenge intelligent and effective branding represents today.
Ideally, the CBR also offers industrial and governmental researchers, scientists and management a new place -- for study, for integration of experience and for cross-fertilization of THE current issues just described. Participation or residence for visiting scholars at the Center can range from a period of weeks to full semester participation as part of a branding research program. The issues that we deal with have often morphed into a series of conferences that specialize in particular topics of interest or address broad branding issues. The list follows:
And The Brands played on, AT&T Conference Center, April 2011
Ad/Wakening Conference, AT&T Conference Center, May 2008
The Chaos 2006 Conference, University Club, November 2006
Niche Life Styles and Branding, National Press Club, Wash., D.C., February 2004
Branding & Rebranding in the 21st Century: Transdisciplinary Approach, LBJ Library, 5/'03
All of our Conferences have been well attended and have attracted some of the most important thinkers in the filed. They include Keith Reinhard (DDB Corporate), Rishad Tobaccowala (Vivaki), Stan Richards (TRG), Lee Lynch (Carmichael Lynch), Roy Sekoff, (editor, The Huffington Post), Carsten Wierrwille, (GM frog design, NYC), Bob Garfield (Ad Week, PRI), Roy Spence (GSD&M) and Grant Richards (Engine Company 1). The formation of the CBR within the Advertising and Public Relations Department in College of Communication reflects the emphasis these University entities have on business and social enterprise. The issues of Branding (and concomitant re-branding) extend today from services and package goods to the public perception of federal and state activities, a continuing emphasis on minority identity and meaning as reflected in their adoption of brands, and multinational marketing. It is that level of perceptual organization, i.e., brand meaning, which in turn determines the appeal of the offers and services provided by the enterprise. Branding stands at the core of much of today's multimedia delivered messaging efforts. 
What follows next is a list of CBR clients. The list provides a view of breadth of our interest and the importance many of the assignments represents. 
  • Greyhound Bus/Race Trac/The Richards Group, Dallas
  • Formica/Carmichael Lynch
  • GM Credit/Mullen, Boston
  • Austin Convention & Visitor's Bureau/Kolar Advertising
  • Harley Davidson/Carmichael Lynch
  • American Airlines/DDB Dallas
  • Advertising
  • Rock the Vote, Inc./Tool, Santa Monica
  • JC Penny/DDB Dallas
  • Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo/Kolar Advertising 
  • The Miro Quartet/College of Fine Arts
  • NASA Communications Strategy/NASA HQ
  • Austin Lyric Opera Company/ALO Management
  • The University of Texas at Austin/President's Office/GSD&M
  • The Big 12 Conference/Big 12 Dallas
  • Mango/Rev Worldwide
  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Dell Computers
  • Cox Interactive
  • One
  • Wells Fargo Corporate
  • mPower Labs
  • College of Fine Arts/University of Texas at Austin 
  • Absolute Vodka/Chiat-TBWA
  • Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • RISE Austin 
  • SBC
  • Halo Austin 
  • NASA
  • Audiotoniq, Inc. 
  • Cartl's Jr./David & Goliath
  • Google/Google New Products, Austin 
  • Flu Near You/Skoll World Threats Org. 

We seek extramural research funds, new associates and carry out university and public service programs related to the expertise of branding and the graduate students in the program. A list of past assignments follows. Interested parties should call or write to:

Neal M. Burns, Ph.D., Professor
Director, Center for Brand Research 
Department of Advertising and Public Relations
The Belo Center for New Media
1 University Place A1200
Austin, Texas 78712-1092

512.471.8160 (office) 
512.799.6605 (cell) 

What starts here changes the world.