IIE BA Honours in Strategic Brand Communication - Distance (Online)

Qualification information
  • COURSE: Honours; Postgraduate Degree
  • MODE: Distance (Online)
  • DURATION: 2 years | Part-Time
  • NQF LEVEL: 8
  • CREDITS: 120
  • SAQA ID: 98012


This online IIE Honours qualification explores the nature of creative and strategic thinking and the development of innovative and accountable communication strategies for brand building. Students engage with independent learning to develop various ways of thinking, brand identity and architecture models, consumer insights, research methodologies, strategic and equity models, brand communication tools and, channel and media planning options, and stakeholder relationship management. Students specialise in strategy development and acquire skills that can be utilised in brand organisations as well as communication consultancies and agencies. The research methodology module enables the student to pursue academic research in an area of particular interest.


  • Brand and Brand Building
  • Brand Communication Strategy and Planning
  • Channel and Media Planning
  • Practice of Brand Building
  • Research

Brand and Brand Building
This foundation module develops students’ understanding of the key brand concepts that guide the development of innovative and purposeful solutions to brand building opportunities and challenges. Emphasis is placed on creative, critical and systemic thinking and students are given the opportunity to demonstrate higher order thinking to analyse, evaluate and apply concepts to given practical scenarios.

Brand Communication Strategy and Planning
The purpose of the Brand Communication Strategy and Planning module is to enable the student to practically develop brand positioning which will drive communication strategy. Students will engage with various strategic models and multiple brand communication channels and tools to develop brand communication strategies and plans. An insight-based critical evaluation and analysis of all touch points will facilitate alternative and disruptive thinking.

Channel and Media Planning
Channel and Media Planning introduces and integrates channel, media and contact planning in context of the various media platforms available, and actively considers the planning mechanics when developing a fully integrated and leveraged channel plan. Students will assess the optimisation of media planning options and budgeting/spend considering increasing media fragmentation and complexity.

Practice of Brand Building
This module applies the theories of strategic brand management and communication to answer real-life client briefs. The focus is on the development and crafting of an innovative brand building strategy and plan that will address complex business and societal challenges. Students will implement brand research to investigate situational, environmental and commercial scenarios. They will derive consumer insights to drive the execution of original and meaningful solutions to multi-faceted brand challenges. Students work in teams to address real-life working challenges; develop their skills in building and recommending brand solutions; and collaborate with peers in a process of innovative problem solving.

Students will develop essential research skills for both professional and academic contexts alongside the ability to present and defend research to an expert audience. Emphasis is placed on independent and critical thinking, analysis, research design and methods, as well as academic discourse. Students complete a self-directed academic research project of limited scope under supervision in the discipline of the degree.

Year 1
Semester One

  • Brand and Brand Building

Semester Two

  • Brand Communication Strategy and Planning
  • Research (18 months)

Year 2
Semester One

  • Channel and Media Planning
  • Research (18 months)

Semester Two

  • Practice of Brand Building
  • Research (18 months)

Online delivery includes:

  • An online learning system that leads students through the content, prescribed material and activities.
  • Online academic navigators (tutors) who are subject experts and maintain the human experience of the learning process.
  • Weekly live sessions with your online navigators.
  • A dedicated success navigator who supports students throughout the learning journey.
  • Online research supervisors who guide students’ research design, development and learning.
  • Purpose coaching pods that enable you to explore and develop your professional identity and potential.
  • Our flagship Brand Challenge project – an online transdisciplinary collaboration with real world changes and clients.
  • Access to our online information centre and resources.


While you can generally structure your study time as you need, there are scheduled online sessions during which you will get mediated support. Scheduled assessments in the form of online activities, assignments and exams are paced to ensure your studies progress.

What you need in terms of technology, time and materials:

  • A reliable internet connection (we recommend 5-10GB of data per month), your own device with at least Windows 7 (Microsoft Office 365 is available as a free download for IIE students), and Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge Chromium or Firefox.
  • Prescribed textbooks are available for online purchase.
  • Online students need to commit to approximately 12-15 hours a week for online engagement (some of which is after hours) with material and assessments to succeed.
  • All final semester exams need to be written at an IIE campus or other approved exam centre.

Please note synchronous sessions generally take place after hours.

To succeed in your online journey, you need to be:

  • Self-motivated and invested in your learning journey.
  • Disciplined and able to balance studying with work and family commitments.
  • Able to direct your own studies, maintaining a diligent pace.

To assist you in succeeding in your online journey, our teaching approach is:

  • Student-centric: we facilitate your thought processes to foster innovative ideas and creative solutions.
  • Authentic: we use real-life examples and case studies.
  • Activity-based: We move your learning forward through applied activities and assessments.
  • Discussion-based: we ask you questions and stimulate debate to provoke deep thought and insights about course content.

Tuition Fees

Total Fee for 1st year modules
R40 000 Full Settlement Total Fee
R42 754 Instalment Total Fee (10 Monthly Instalments)
A *Pre-Registration Fee of R2 000 and *Deposit of R4 413 are included in the Total Fee.

Total Fee for 2nd year modules (subject to an annual fee increase)
R20 000 Full Settlement Total Fee
R21 376 Instalment Total Fee (10 Monthly Instalments)
*Deposit of R3 206 are included in the Total Fee.

Please note:

  • Applications for the 2024 intake are subject to a non-refundable application fee of R400.
  • You will be required to complete a new contract annually which will include fees for that year.
  • Returning students can obtain the 2023 fees from their Relationship Navigator.

Entry Requirements

  • An appropriate Bachelor’s Degree with an average of 60% in the final year; OR
  • An appropriate Advanced Diploma, provided that a 360 credit Diploma or appropriate equivalent has been completed with an average of 60% in the final year.
  • An appropriate Degree or Advanced Diploma would normally be in the fields of either Marketing, Branding or Communication.

Please note:

  • Candidates are normally required to have a minimum final year average of 60% in the qualifications final-year (NQF L7) modules. Those with a final year average of 55 - 59% will be admitted if they attained 60% or higher for the designated cognate/core discipline final-year (NQF L7) modules.

Undergraduate qualification in a non-cognate field

  • If the discipline of the degree or diploma is not sufficiently cognate, a candidate may still be admitted if they achieve a minimum final year average of 60% in their final year modules and attained at least 65% in the essay and presentation assessment of the compulsory Introduction to Brand Building short course.
  • There are two short course intakes per year (dates to be released shortly), only one opportunity is available to students.

Senate Discretionary Admission:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): Candidates who fall outside the above criteria, but who can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of The IIE that they have an appropriate, related qualification or work-based learning, which has taken the candidate to the equivalent of an NQF Level 7 Marketing, Branding or Communication-related qualification, may be considered for admission into this programme through an RPL process.

Additional Notes:

Graduates of The IIE who do not meet the conditional admissions requirements for admission to Honours can enrol for and repeat all or some of their NQF Level 7 modules in order to improve their marks so that they can meet the entry requirements for Honours. These graduate students will then receive an additional transcript after the completion of the repeat module(s), where the repeat module(s) will appear as a second iteration of the module(s) on the transcript. The marks from the second iteration can then be used for admission to Honours in the subsequent academic year. This option is only available to graduates from The IIE and does not apply to graduates from other HE institutions.

International Admission:

  • A SAQA NQF L7 Evaluation Certificate in an appropriate field and meeting the additional admission requirements.
Jobs in this field:
  • Brand Communication
  • Agency Strategic Planning
  • Marketing Communication
  • Promotions and Event Management
  • Public Relations
  • Media Planning
  • Account Management
  • Client Relationship Management


Anastasia Cressy

Class of 2014

Anastasia consults in Paris and Moscow and is a current IIE Master of Arts in Creative Brand Leadership student at Vega – “Vega has taught me how to systemically and creatively generate strategic solutions”

Ntsika Tyatya

Class of 2017

Ntsika is the Public Relations Manager for MAXHOSA by Laduma. The IIE BA in Strategic Brand Communication “has taught me greatly about my role in creating brand communication” and “it opens doors”!

Yashini Padayachee

Class of 2005

“Vega was amazing at making everything you learnt practical” – Yashini launched her career in strategic brand communication as the Category Lead for Tea Africa at Unilever.