To continue the process of developing their products, the International Emerging Leaders spent the morning rotating through a series of workshops to help them consider branding, taglines, and displays before the DesignPitch tonight.

Charley Foley, co-owner of Scout Design, based in Richmond, joined the Ambassadors to discuss the branding of their products. Mr. Foley explained the importance of the product’s name, logo, and tagline. Emphasizing the primary role of branding within an audience’s understanding of the product, Mr. Foley said, “Anytime [a product] is out in the world, and you are not there to explain it, the brand has to explain [the product] for you.” Mr. Foley encouraged the Ambassadors to make their branding “meaningful, distinctive from the competition, and simple,” thus aiding the product’s accessibility to the public. Furthermore, Mr. Foley spoke to the International Emerging Leaders Conference participants to consider the product’s need for both emotional and rational appeal, urging them to think, “What is the emotional pull [of my product], and what is the stuff that I can talk about [regarding my product] that will appeal to people’s rational side,” adding, “Branding must appeal to both [emotionality and rationality]”.  

Stacy Adams, author of nine novels and Associate Director of Communications at Collegiate, joined Mr. Foley to discuss her experiences with branding at Collegiate. Using the Sharp Academic Commons’ logo as an example, Mrs. Adams described the thought process behind developing a brand. “You want to think of the end user, the results, as well as what [the product] does,” Mrs. Adams said as she illustrated the Sharp Academic Commons’ logo of overlapping flames, designed to symbolize the learning and thinking taking place within the Commons.

In the Craigie Board Room, Dana DuMont, Collegiate’s Director of Visual Arts, inspired the Ambassadors with visually creative ways to explain their product. “The purpose of a visual pitch,” Mrs. Dumont clarified, “is to explain to viewers… what the process [of making the product] was and how the team got to the point where they are today… [The visual pitch is] like a trade show booth, to explain: here’s how we got here, here’s the importance, here’s the prototype. I see it as pitching to a manufacturer.”  After her description, Mrs. DuMont provided poster-making supplies and helped the various groups make their visual pitch as clear, memorable, and compelling as possible. Working to ameliorate acid rain, Tori Spivey said that her group’s goal with their visual pitch is for it to be  “Easy to read for young and old… [We are] really trying to spark an interest in people.”

Implementing another room in the Sharp Academic Commons, the International Emerging Leaders listened to a talk by Christine Branin, Collegiate’s Director of Auxiliary Services, offered the Ambassadors several tips for their overall pitches tonight. Her first tidbit of advice was for the Ambassadors to learn as much from their audience as possible, for “In the real world, when you are making a pitch, you really do need to learn about your audience, because you need to leverage that [knowledge] to your advantage.” Next, Mrs. Branin guided each team to work backwards to build their case; in other words, to understand fully the foundation and fundamentals of their product’s purpose, implementation, and importance. In addition, Mrs. Branin suggested that the Ambassadors operate by the “less is more” mantra, with the reasoning that “If you really want someone to listen and to hear what you’re saying, don’t put a million words on the page.” Moreover, Mrs. Branin encouraged the participants to apply their knowledge of leadership identities learned on Monday to fully understand each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, saying, “There is a group of you, and you all have different strengths– you need to leverage those strengths.” Likewise, Mrs. Branin warned the groups, “the use of creativity and something very tactile and simple,” but not to let an over-abundance of creativity distract from their product’s practicality and accessibility. Lastly, Mrs. Branin ended her workshop by highlighting the necessity for passion during the DesignPitch, encouraging, “If you’re passionate, the people and the audience are going to feel that passion, and they are going to remember that.”

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful Richmond-based leaders for bringing their extraordinary talent to Collegiate’s Sharp Academic Commons and sharing their helpful advice with the International Emerging Leaders!