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382479: Personal Branding and Becoming an Influencer
MGMT-X 460.382

  • Fall 2021
  • Section 1
  • 2 Credits
  • 09/21/2021 to 10/19/2021
  • Modified 09/12/2021

Meeting Times

Course is being offered as Hybrid

Scheduled Online Meetings: Tuesdays, Sept. 21 - Oct. 19, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Hybrid: course is taught using a combination of both asynchronous using Canvas and synchronous instruction via Zoom.  

Once enrolled,  students can access Zoom via the Canvas shell. The live sessions can be recorded so students may view them at a later time. 

Details on accessing Canvas will be emailed to you after completing enrollment. Courses in Canvas are typically accessible 2 days before the course start date. If applicable, instructions for accessing and using Zoom will also be provided in Canvas.

Description

Marketers are increasingly hiring influencers to generate greater impact in the market, from simply promoting a brand and spreading a message to attracting the influencers' personal followers. Those promotional opportunities--along with the accompanying fame and other rewards--have inspired thousands of people worldwide to become influencers themselves. At the same time, many professionals are looking to increase their personal influence to grow their own brands, careers, ventures, and overall efficacy. In this course, students learn how to develop and manage personal brands to achieve true influence. This involves establishing credibility as an "expert," promoting that expertise through media and messages that match their talents and their market, building a genuine and significant following, and developing rewarding relationships with their community, including other influencers and potential sponsors.

Objectives

By the end of the 5-week course, students will acquire expertise and hands-on experience in the following:

  • Critically analyzing both the market and personal aptitude to set realistic influence goals.
  • Planning methods to develop expertise, such as professional credentials versus social media-anointed "authority."
  • Identifying the appropriate media channels for expressing that expertise, and the tactics for expanding reach.
  • Leveraging core principles of digital marketing to resonate with target audiences.
  • Preparing for the challenges and responsibilities of wielding influence, including regulations and privacy issues.

To fulfill these objectives, students will analyze case studies, engage with actual influencers and marketers, read articles in both academic journals and business media, and practice using professional tools and tactics to manage influence.

Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will have:

  • Analyzed the pillars of your personal brand to define your expertise and most effective positioning.
  • Selected your primary and natural medium of communication.
  • Evaluated growth strategies to amplify your message, grow your audience and pursue monetization opportunities.
  • Effectively audited other influencer accounts to provide professional analysis and transferrable learnings.  

Materials

Reading Materials *COURSE CONTENT SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Note there are no textbooks for this class. All reading materials are online articles.

Prior to our first class

Week 1

Week 2

TBD

Class 3

Class 4

Note: Additional materials, such as links, podcasts and videos, will be provided in the weekly lessons.

Evaluation

Breakdown

Resulting grade and related performance levels
Grade Range Notes
A+ 98-100
A 92-97

An "A" must be earned by "going the extra mile" to develop professional-caliber work that could be presented to a client or CEO. A-level work is mistake-free; reflects a command of the theories, frameworks, and strategies; and shows creativity and superlative communications skills. A-level students are also phenomenal teammates who go beyond the minimum to make sure their projects succeed.

A- 90-91
B+ 88-89
B 82-87

A "B" reflects college-caliber work that demonstrates a good understanding of the concepts, but needs extra polish and creativity before it can be presented professionally.

B- 80-81
C+ 78-79
C 72-77

A "C" reflects amateur-quality work and a superficial understanding of the concepts. Additional study and review is strongly recommended.

C- 70-71
F 0-69

An "F" reflects poor understanding of the concepts or incomplete work. In any cases of plagiarism, an "F" is given for the entire course. Note that all course grades are final.

Criteria

Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Assignment 1 20% Purpose Statement

Based on an in-class exercise called Pilot Your Purpose, we will examine what drives you to make an impact based on a combination of skills, interests and passions. 

Your purpose statement helps guide your personal brand and gives depth and meaning to what you do. 

Assignment 2 20% Influencer Evaluation - Expertise

Analyze your personal brand to define your niche and your realistic goals (short and long term).

Create a one-sheet snapshot of yourself as an influencer answering the following questions:

  • What is your area of expertise and/or the focus of your account?
  • What is your social influence?
    • What platform are you on?
    • What is your follower count and which influencer tier do you fit in?
    • What is your engagement rate per post? 
  • Any previous brand sponsorships if you have them?
  • Who is your audience?
    • Both the type of person you hope to appeal to and your actual audience demographics
  • What is your goal in using social media?
Assignment 3 20% Influencer Development Plan - Expression

Assess your preferred social platform for communication, content formats and visual branding elements. Explain why this makes the most sense for you (or your client) as an influencer and define how your content will enhance and differentiate your brand. 

Create a one-sheet snapshot answering the following questions:

  • What is content type do you post? (Short or long-form video, live video, photos, etc) 
  • How have you differentiated yourself from similar influencers?
  • Is your current content strategy helping you achieve your goals? If not, what do you think needs to change?
Assignment 4 20% Influencer Development Plan - Expansion

Evaluate potential partnerships and growth opportunities to amplify your message and monetize your influence. Determine how you will achieve Creator Market Fit or the union between content creation, audience engagement, and a viable business model.

Create a one-sheet snapshot answering the following questions:

  • What content do you enjoy producing?
  • Does your content perform well with your followers? How are you measuring this?
  • What monetization opportunities make the most sense for your brand?
  • What steps will you need to take to monetize your content?
Assignment 5 20% Media Kit

Prepare an influencer media kit you would use to propose a paid collaboration with a brand.

Create a one- to two-page kit and include the following information:

  • Name
  • Brief Description
  • Channels
  • Follower Count
  • Engagement Rate
  • Audience Demographics
  • Previous Partnerships (if applicable)
  • Content Sample(s)
  • Contact Information

Course Policies

Expectations:

  • Attendance: You are expected to attend ALL class sessions. If an absence is unavoidable, please contact the instructor beforehand. Absences are excused only for medical reasons and other emergencies, and you will receive a make-up assignment. More than 2 absences, excused or unexcused, will result in no credit for the course. Being late by more than 30 minutes will result in the loss of two class participation points unless instructor has been contacted beforehand.

  • Preparation: Come to the class prepared. You may be called randomly during class to provide insights on the readings/ and lectures, and will be graded on your readiness to initiate thoughtful conversation and incorporate lessons within this class.

  • Assignments: Weekly assignments are due before the following class. Unless noted otherwise all homework shall be submitted by email or through Canvas. You will be able to submit your assignments up until the last day of class. However, there are no extensions for the class beyond the last day.

  • Critical thinking: In marketing there are few "right" answers: what works for one company at one time might fail for another company or at another time. All assignments will be evaluated on the quality of the reasoning, the level of research, and how well they integrate the lessons. You must demonstrate critical thinking that describes "why" and "how," not just "what."

  • Clarity: Clear communications are essential in marketing. Please make your writing and class presentations comprehensible, professional, and free of egregious errors.

  • Respect: Accord your classmates, guest speakers, and instructor with courtesy. You may certainly question and criticize ideas — indeed, that is encouraged — but never criticize the person.

  • Professionalism: Being a professional does not necessarily mean wearing a suit or checking your personality at the door. For this class (and, hopefully, beyond), professionalism means giving every project and assignment your best effort; living up to your word to your teammates and instructors; being on time and meeting all deadlines; and conducting yourself in a manner appropriate to the policies and culture of a particular environment. Finally, all of us can improve what we do. Regardless of how marketing savvy we are at the beginning of this class, all of us should strive to become even better.

  • Incompletes: The interim grade Incomplete may be assigned when a student's work is of passing quality, but a small portion of the course requirements is incomplete for good cause (e.g. illness or other serious problem). It is your responsibility to discuss with the instructor the possibility of receiving an “I” grade as opposed to a non-passing grade. You are entitled to replace this grade with a passing grade and to receive unit credit provided you complete the remaining coursework satisfactorily, under the supervision of and in a time frame determined by the instructor in charge, but in no case later than the end of the next academic quarter. At that time, the Registrar will cause all remaining Incompletes to lapse to the grade "F". Note: Receiving an “I” does not entitle a student to retake all or any part of the course at a later date.

  • Academic Honesty Policy: Academic dishonesty covers cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication of information. These behaviors are not tolerated. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the UCLA Extension Student Conduct Code and the official statements regarding cheating and plagiarism at https://www.uclaextension.edu/Pages/str/StudentConduct.aspx. In particular, you must understand what constitutes plagiarism, which is a cardinal sin in academia. The penalties for plagiarism are substantial, including an "F" for the course and possible disciplinary action. Copying even one sentence without proper use of quotation marks and reference notes constitutes plagiarism.
  • Creativity: To end this list on a positive note, marketing is the one business discipline where wild leaps of imagination are not only allowed, they're encouraged. Have fun with the assignments, and remember that when it comes to new media marketing, your ideas are what matter most.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to academic dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or behavioral misconduct, such as theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others, harassment, or disruption of the learning environment. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Student Rights & Responsibilities Policy and to report concerns regarding at: https://www.uclaextension.edu/pages/str/studentConduct.jsp.

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see: https://www.uclaextension.edu/pages/str/studentswithDisabilities.jsp

Incompletes

Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see: https://www.uclaextension.edu/pages/str/grading.jsp

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, 1145 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000385/SHSV.

Additional Items

Protecting Privacy and Data During Live Instruction

Live meeting sessions for this class, when applicable, are being conducted over Zoom. As the host, the instructor may be recording live sessions. Only the host has the ability to record meetings, no recording by other means is permitted. Recorded sessions will be posted in the Videos area of this class unless otherwise notified. Due to privacy, recordings are not available for download and are only accessible via Canvas for the duration of the class. If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, do not turn on your video and/or audio. If you also prefer to use a pseudonym instead of your name, please let the instructor know what name you will be using so that the instructor knows who you are during the session. To rename yourself during a Zoom meeting, click on Participants, click on your name, click on More, click on Rename. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to the instructor only (and not to ""everyone""). Additionally, chat may be used and moderated for live questions, and saving of chats is enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructor via Canvas Inbox.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Zoom and UCLA Extension, the data is used solely for this purpose and Zoom is prohibited from re-disclosing this information. UCLA Extension also does not use the data for any other purpose. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. However, recordings may become part of an administrative disciplinary record if misconduct occurs during a video conference.

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    To download all your assignment submissions in Canvas, please refer to the online support guide. for more information or contact Canvas Support via the help menu within Canvas.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see: https://www.ucpd.ucla.edu/services/community-service-officers-csos/evening-escorts

Schedule

Course calendar and related activities
When Module Title Notes
Lecture
Week 1
UCLA Extension Online
Class 1 - Introduction

Agenda:

  • Instructor Introduction
  • Course Outline and Expectations
  • Student Introductions
    • Indicate which aspects of influencer marketing are most interesting to you  
  • Pillars of Personal Branding
  • Influencer Marketing Concepts + Definitions 
  • Pilot Your Purpose In-Class Assignment
  • Assignment + Reading Overview
  • Office Hours (open discussion)
  •  
Lecture
Week 2
UCLA Extension Online
Class 2 - Define Your Expertise

Agenda:

  • Understanding Creator Market Fit
  • Reinforcing Your Expertise
  • Creating an Influencer Media Kit
  • Assignment + Reading Overview
  • Office Hours (open discussion)
Lecture
Week 3
UCLA Extension Online
Class 3 - Choose Your Expression

Agenda:

  • Effective Social Platforms
  • Methods of Communication
  • Content That Influences
  • Assignment + Reading Overview
  • Office Hours (open discussion)
Lecture
Week 4
UCLA Extension Online
Class 4 - Plan Your Expansion

Agenda:

  • Explore Monetization Opportunities
  • Brand Outreach 
  • Establishing Rates
  • Assignment + Reading Overview
  • Office Hours (open discussion)
  •  
Lecture
Week 5
UCLA Extension Online
Class 5 - Opportunities and Obstacles

Agenda:

  • Guest Speaker to be announced on the dynamics between influencer and followers
  • How to Navigate Cancel Culture
    • SMM Crisis Management
  • Influencer Ethics
  • Final Assignment Overview
  • Office Hours (open discussion)