Recently my Strategic Brand Concepts class at the VCU Brandcenter welcomed a fantastic guest speaker, Elizabeth Talerman, who was recently the VP, Senior Director of Marketing, Merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Elizabeth walk the students through the art and science of crafting a brand platform and bringing it to life, using her recent launch of a new Martha Stewart line at Macy’s as an example.

Elizabeth’s combination of words and images to build a compelling manifesto set the tone for creative executions to follow, which included both traditional media and unconventional acts like changing the awnings at Macy’s 34th street flagship, Martha Stewart blue.

I’ve collaborated with Elizabeth for many years on the VCU Brandcenter board and I’ve seldom met anyone who brings more creativity to the art of brand building. Her strategic work has helped shape powerful brands like IBM and Yahoo! But her real gift is to simplify complex subjects and demystify the sometimes-murky world of brands. This talent made it easy for students to grasp the steps involved in the process of building a great strategy. A special gift to our students, wrapped up in a tasteful blue ribbon.