Founded in Spain in 2013 by Alexia Grau, Hoala has become the main reference in the world for specialized training in creativity, strategy and innovation for professional communicators.

The first edition of the Professional Master Course in Brand Strategy was celebrated in 2013 in Valencia, Spain. In 2015 it was the turn for the first international edition in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. And since 2020, Hoala Amsterdam offered the course online while keeping intact the spirit of our foundational principle: “to deliver the most powerful strategy training in the world for communication professionals”.

This course is designed to help professionals working with brand communication to dramatically boost their strategic game and skills. This master course will challenge you to learn from different points of view, to see differently, to make better-informed decisions and to engage and connect with consumers in a deeper and more meaningful way.

The master course gathers the best strategy leaders from the best agencies and brands around the world to engage a selected group of students in an intense 12-week process. Since the first international edition, students from 25+ different countries worldwide have joined us in Hoala Amsterdam.

Each week, a new session about a key strategic topic is led by a different lecturer with the objective of sparking insightful conversations and debates. During each session, every student is expected to participate and add to the conversation. The entire course is conducted in English, and skill and confidence in English is a specific admission requirement. The course demands online attendance.

Attending students include strategists and planners, freelancers, creatives, account directors, independent professionals, brand managers, entrepreneurs and corporate employees. Represented agencies and brands include Adidas, Google, McCann Erikson, 72&Sunny, Ogilvy, J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi&Saatchi, BBDO, TBWA, Publicis, DDB, Y&R, Isobar, among others. For a more complete list of companies and alumni, visit this link

Admission to the Hoala’s Professional Course in Brand Strategy is by application only. To apply for the Hoala Amsterdam online master course, please send your LinkedIn profile to:amsterdam@hoala.eu

Take a look at the alumni testimonials section and to the course content. Find out more about course specifics here.

Important dates to note:

May 3rd, 2022 – Applications open
August 1st, 2022– Applications closed or until all vacancies are filled.

Course start date: September 9th, 2022.
Course finish date: November 25th, 2022.

Very easy. Read these FAQs for any doubt you might have and please send your LinkedIn profile to: amsterdam@hoala.eu.
We will come back to you with next steps.

The course is structured through 11 online sessions where world-class strategy leaders from the most renewed agencies in the world will provide you theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as their professional experience with the brands they work for.

The master course has an online format, so you will be able to combine the course with your professional duties. The weekly sessions are have 3 hours long and will be run on Fridays afternoon, from 17:00-20:00 hrs, CET. Conscious of time differences and depending on where in the world the lecturer is at, Hoala can carry out modifications in dates or time that will be communicated beforehand to all the attendees.

In addition to this, these 3 hours online sessions will be complemented with 2 online one-to-one private sessions with the lecturers of your choice. The selection will be done in strict signing order in the course as each lecturer has a limited number of sessions they can be part of.

Now that we are done with the boring stuff, we are proud to share with you our content program and calendar for the new Hoala’s Professional Course in Brand Strategy:

WEEK 1: September, 9th
Martin Weigel on Account Planning - What planning is and it is not about.
A strategy for strategy - the insightful vision from one of the most respected international planners in the world about the actual role of planning in agencies, clients and brands and about what being a planner actually means today.
Lecturer: Martin Weigel, Head of Planning at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

WEEK 2: September, 16th.
The positioning strategy: past, present and future.
How to position a brand today? The role of purpose in the positioning strategy. Find the real difference for a brand. Positioning toolbox. The role of the positioning strategy within brand management. Case studies and examples.
Lecturer: Tom Suharto, Head of Strategy at Forsman&Bodenfors, New York.

WEEK 3: September, 23rd.
Unearth and discover the best insights.
Use research and investigation techniques to discover the best insights. What is and what is not an insight. What we should expect from insights and how can they unlock creativity. How research is approached at the best international agencies. Case studies and examples.
Lecturer: Lucy Jameson, Founder at Uncommon London.

WEEK 4: September, 30th
Cultural Strategy: navigate the intersection between people and culture to build truly relevant brands.
How culture can be the most powerful element to make a brand relevant. Consumers and culture. How to detect waves and cultural movements and connect them with brands. Anthropologic and sociologic dimension of consumption. Case studies.
Lecturer: Rob Campbell, Chief Strategy Officer at Colenso BBDO New Zealand.

WEEK 5: October, 8th.
Creatives vs. Strategists - Strategy looked from the eyes of creativity.
What a creative needs from a planner and what a planner needs from a creative under the eyes of one of the most successful creative directors in the world.
Lecturer: Caprice Yu, EVP Global Executive Creative Director at McCann Erikson, New York.

WEEK 6: October, 14th.
Experience Strategy - How and why include experience in your brand planning.
What if anything can the digital age teach us when creating brand strategies and should strategies refer only to communication or take the leap into Experience? Applying key concepts of experience design to brand thinking. Brand experience (BX?) and implications for audience definitions, how campaigns are planned and how we measure success. The role of technology in all of this and why design thinking may be the answer.
Lecturer: Bogdana Butnar, Growth & Experience Strategy Practice Lead, Accenture Interactive, London.

BREAK: October, 21st.

WEEK 7: October, 28th.
How to write the perfect and most inspiring creative brief.
The planner as the catalyst of creativity. The real value of a creative brief. How to write better and more inspiring creative briefs. The main mistakes when we write briefs. Presenting your creative brief: the briefing session. Examples and case studies.
Lecturer: Harry Roman, Chief Strategy Officer at Droga5 New York.

WEEK 8: November, 4th.
Communications Planning - the complete guide.
How to detect, prioritize and activate the touch points between brands and consumers. Brand planners vs. Comms planners. Design the perfect KPI’s for the campaigns. The Consumer journey. Communications framework. Examples, tools and case studies.
Lecturer: Michael Goldstein, Head of Communications Strategy at DDB New York.

WEEK 9: November, 11th.
Diversity and inclusion: from lip service to effective strategy.
Making change in your work and in the industry is one of the most important tasks for strategists, although it ca be hard if you don't have the right terms and strategies, the confidence and tools to ensure you're making things better not worse.
Lecturer: Shelina Janmohhamed, Vice President, Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy, London.

WEEK 10: November, 18th.
The art of presenting a strategy.
How to successfully present a strategy to clients. Strategy best practices. Case Studies, tips and examples.
Lecturer: Marcus Collins, Head of Planning at Wieden+Kennedy New York.

WEEK 11: November, 25th
Effectiveness as the key ingredient for strategic planning.
The science behind effectiveness. How to judge and reach effectiveness for a brand. Planning as the key for effectiveness. How to build an unbeatable effectiveness case. Examples and case studies.
Lecturer: Toby Harrison, Chief Strategy Officer at Ogilvy Australia.

In order to continue with the personalized and close training style that Hoala is famous for, we introduced for this online edition 2 one-to-one private sessions for each attendee with the lecturers of their choice. This selection will be done in strict signing order as each lecturer has a limited number of sessions they can be part of.

Choose the 2 lecturers from this year’s program you would like to talk with and prepare those questions you have always wanted to ask. Interested in positioning strategy? Choose Tom. Comms planning maybe? Michael is your guy. Research perhaps? Lucy will for sure blow your mind. Regardless of who you choose, get ready to receive guidance, tips, formed opinions and uncomfortable answers!

Each one of the 2 one-to-one sessions will be 30 minutes long and will be arranged in sync with the agenda and availability of each chosen lecturer.


Agustín Soriano, Co-founder of Hoala Amsterdam, will personally answer all the questions you might have regarding the program, the enrollment on the course, your motivations, what to expect, etc. You can write him at amsterdam@hoala.eu. Use him without moderation.

The objective of the course is not only to provide you with a powerful strategic theory base, but also with a vast practical implementation focused on the actual day-to-day tasks of a strategist. You’ll learn concepts and be able to immediately put them into action when you go back to your workplace on the next Monday after each session.

Each one of the lecturers has taken as a starting point the most important areas of knowledge for a strategist and developed them into 11 tailor-made modern strategic sessions. These sessions have been built to give you a set of skills that will enhance you into: a strategist with evolved tools and intuition to identify and solve brand communication problems, a communication professional able to transform the information from the research phase into inputs that accelerate and inspire the creativity, a brand expert able to read the new media landscape and the new way brands have to start and maintain conversations with consumers in the digital arena, an idea communicator that inspire work teams and clients, a planner that deeply understand consumers giving a special weight to research and investigation to detect insights and, last but not least, a hard-worker enthusiast that will receive world-class strategy knowledge.

Now it is the turn of what we expect from you. We expect you to be involved, to give response to the input from the lecturers in each session, to be able to get feedback from peers and grow from their comments, to provide constructive criticism, and to be part of a global community that is truly passionate about constant learning and growing. Don’t expect a “monologue/conference” kind of course where you adopt a passive role and the lecturer is the only one who talks. This is why the Hoala’s philosophy places debates and discussions at the very center of the learning process - something that can only be accomplished in a professional environment like the one you will find in this course.

This course is for people who want to grow and believe that, regardless of the experience and the title on their visit card, the task of a strategist requires a constant learning and recycling effort. If you think you already know everything about strategy, this course is not for you. Probably strategy isn’t either.

This course is specially built for strategic planners, account executives, creatives, designers, communication directors, brand managers and professionals who need a solid strategic process to develop their work. But regardless of industry or job function, this course is for open minded people, willing to learn, live experiences, listen new point of views and fearless to the unknown and new.

It is not a mandatory to hold a university degree to attend this course.

Is the course right for you? Hear from our students who have been with us through the years.

In a nutshell, Hoala exists to provide the best strategy knowledge in the world, whatever it takes. As simple as that.

At Hoala we don’t consider ourselves a creative school. We are a place of collaborative learning where attendees learn from lecturers, lecturers from the attendees and attendees from other attendees.

We believe there is not a magical book or formula to teach and learn strategy. Strategy is learnt by experience and by listening to other’s opinions and points of view. And that is what we will bring to you – the best strategy minds in the world with the best experience and approaches to strategy. And we want you to show them wrong.

That’s why we will demand from you an active involvement during the sessions. We don’t support a “monologue/conference” style where you adopt a passive role and the lecturer is the only one who talks. This is why the Hoala’s philosophy places debates and discussions at the very center of the learning process and therefore, the selection will be done based on what kind of experience you can add to the group.

At Hoala we are not after the best CV, the biggest amount of awards or the highest achievements. Not even after years and years of practice in strategy. Our only goal is to secure for you high-level discussions and debates during every single session of the course. And that can only be accomplished if you bring your valuable experience to the table each week as well as your motivation and hunger to learn. Previous editions have always showed us that the quality of a course is not only about offering a content program run by world-class lecturers. Learning strategy is also about having the right attendees that can spark good debates and discussions and can challenge the lecturers in every single session.

We don't have a placement program; don't make any promises of career success or a new job. Instead, we are focused on helping you see new opportunities, making better decisions and leveling up in all the areas that matter to you. If this sounds like it might be part of the change you’d like to see in your life and career, we hope you’ll apply.

Check out this nice poster we made with our amazing line-up of lecturers.
For a description of every session of the program, please visit this link.

This amazing course is a no-brainer little investment. €3.500. But keep in mind it’s not just the money; it’s the time and energy you’ll invest as well.

The main reason behind the price is that in order to offer you an environment where you can learn, challenge and be challenged, we need to invest in people. Every lecturer we bring to Hoala is a world-class top-notch head of strategy from the best agencies out there.

Last but not least, our goal isn’t to be for everyone. We prefer to be small, just for a few. The course is limited to 20 people, so we can all sit around the same “virtual table” and have a reduced size so you can feel confident to speak your mind and receive a personalized attention by every lecturer. We might be small in size, but huge in our decision to create a difference with the best strategy program there is out there.

The course is limited to only 20 seats. So in order to block your seat and secure it for you, we will ask you in the moment of the enrollment for a deposit of 500 €. Once the payment of the enrollment fee is completed, your application process will be finalized.
This enrollment fee is not refundable and will be deducted from the total amount of the course.

We are not after attendees with the best CV, the biggest amount of awards or the highest achievements. Not even after years and years of practice in strategy. Our only goal is to secure for you high-level discussions and debates during every session and we can only provide you that with attendees with valuable experience in the brand communication industry as well as people with the right personality and motivation.

Previous editions have always showed us that the quality of a course is not only about offering a content program run by world-class lecturers. Learning strategy is also about having the right people that can spark good debates and discussions and can challenge the lecturers in every single session.

So we’re seeking people of all ages, from different backgrounds, who share a desire to improve or renew their strategy skills. Every person we admit to the program has to raise the average, producing a community that will provoke, amplify and reward discussions and debates.

The requirements to apply are straightforward and our demands are quite precise too. So if you have the spirit to join us to a course like this focused on how you can impact your fellow attendees, you will be very welcome.
Besides, if you're the kind of person that cares enough to read a FAQ section, you're probably the kind of person we want to get in.

This course is intense and requires a commitment of time and money.
We’re thrilled to support and help people with an employer who can support the time and money it will take. Because if you think about it, it is a great deal for both sides – you will get the best strategy training in the world and your company and clients will gain a strategy talent on steroids.


At Hoala we put a lot of effort into creating an environment where attendees support one another constantly. You can count with that support as much as it is your responsibility to give it back to others.

You will also have our people helping you with every question, doubt or existential problem you might have before, during and after the course. In that respect, Agustín Soriano, our content director for Hoala Amsterdam will always be at your reach.

In addition, there is a Hoala private Slack group where all the attendees from previous editions form part. There are tons and tons of inspiration and help in that amazing place. In need of references for your presentations or a second opinion about your strategic approach? Just post there any question or request and the Hoala family will help you out.

Despite of this being an online course, the lecturers and other attendees of the course are counting on you to be fully present. See our course calendar for the details.

We ask each attendee to allocate the time to take this course as seriously as the rest of us.

If you suffer a force majeure situation that doesn’t allow you to attend a session, we will find a solution together with you.

The online edition of this master course is limited to 20 people.
Keeping the class small allows us to provide you a personalized attention and a powerful experience during every session, as well as getting the perfect group size to provoke the best debates and discussions.

Besides the class hours and if the lecturer considers it necessary, you will be requested to develop some “homework” during the week such as reading articles or books, prepare briefs or conduct small research.


The program fee gives you the right to attend the 11 sessions of the course plus the 2 one-to-one sessions with the lecturers of your choice.

In addition to the course itself, perhaps our biggest goal is to build a powerful alumni network. Fellow members of the Hoala family, pushing each other to continue growing. After the course, support for/between/by our members goes on through a private Hoala Slack channel. In need of references for your presentations or maybe you need a second opinion about your strategic approach? Just post there any question or request and the Hoala family will help you out.

Besides, we will give you exclusive access to the Hoala Google Drive that contains every single document that has been and/or will be used in every Hoala’s Professional Master Course in Brand Strategy around the world. Yes, you are hearing right, you will have access to all the documents from every edition of Hoala Amsterdam and all the future editions of this fantastic course, regardless of where in the world they are held.

There are no hidden fees, add-ons, individual tariffs, tolls or other surprises.

We will bill you or your company, so money transfer is the only payment type we work with.

Yes, but it is already taken.

We work with the amazing people of POCC . POCC is a creative network that works for Black, Brown and ethnically diverse communities so they can access to a better and more representation in the advertising industry. At Hoala, we wanted to make our part too.

As a result of this partnership, we will have 2 lecturers from POCC in this year's program as well as a scholarship for one person from the POCC community that Hoala will give to for free.


HOALA means “wake up!” in Hawaiian. Hawaii is famous for its tropical beauty, but it also harbors great inner energy because of its 5 volcanoes. We were hyped by thinking that HOALA wakes up the volcano that is inside every one of us, being the trigger to hopefully inspire and stimulate you, allowing you to erupt like a volcano does (without the mess that usually comes with it though).
At HOALA, you will be exposed to tons of new things and thoughts, high-level knowledge will be shared and experienced between you and the best strategy minds in the world, in order to help you evolve and improve your professional capabilities.
The logo has been designed by the amazing people at  Rosebud .