“Clarity trumps persuasion.” - Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Director, Meclabs
You are in an elevator and in the thirty seconds you must eloquently explain what your organization does to stir interest – go!
In my short time with FIND I quickly discovered that explaining the organization I work for was quite challenging. Had someone pulled a stopwatch out and given me thirty seconds to concisely explain FIND, I would have responded with perplexed eyes. Whether I was amongst peers at a chic birthday party of a friend of a friend or in front of the reservations lady at the hotel or on the phone with my mom, I found myself rambling in explanation.
Our first NYUAD Institute
Talk propelled me to hammer down a concise yet simple elevator pitch. If we were to present to the public, we better be able to explain the project under bright lights. As a team we knew that some phrases from an original description seemed to be on message, but saying them was a bit like trying on a Gucci dress that looks amazing on the hanger but doesn’t exactly fit in all the right places. The description was intellectual but not down to earth.
After round table discussions with NYUAD Public Relations and conversations amongst the team we discovered that yes, while FIND is a cultural laboratory and research project, it seemed dry to describe the project in this way. In our brainstorming sessions we teetered on words such as:
• Greenhouse, too grassroots
• Collective, didn’t indicate structure
• Studio, no indication of scale
• Farm, too transparent
• Collaborative, lacked purpose
• Factory, drier than dry
• Initiative, no indication of our partners
Finally we fell upon alliance. Alliance is a noun meaning, "a formal agreement or treaty between two or more…to cooperate for specific purposes; a merging of efforts or interests by persons…or organizations." FIND is a group of individuals and sometimes organizations that work together for a purpose. In one word it felt like an exact fit. We had just brought the Gucci dress and tailored it to a dime.
The second section of the elevator pitch had to outline our purpose of how and why we are bringing individuals and organizations together. We came up with phrases such as:
• Painting a portrait of diverse communities
• Bridging crossroads
• Creating a dialogue from the inside out and outside in
• Through a lens of artists, scholars and technologists
Somehow through numerous conversations and discussions about the definitions of words, we were able to agree upon, "…to explore and make projects about the diverse landscape of the UAE and its connection to the larger world." Explore and make projects served as a simplified way of highlighting that FIND supports art, scholarship and digital and community initiatives. The second half of the sentence also indicates our work with the different communities and cultures with the words "diverse landscape" and subtly hints at creating a dialogue between the UAE and the rest of the world.
"Marketing isn’t magic. There is a science to it." – Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist, Hubspot
Working on the elevator pitch for FIND has me reminiscing about my college years when writing a page and a half essay was much harder than a ten-pager. When dealing with concise branding statements there is no room for fluff. Each word needs analysis and evaluation. Each word needs to be looked up and defined. Words are like a tailor’s stitches—essential in highlighting a figure without giving too much away.
FIND (Forming Intersections and Dialogues) is an alliance for artists and scholars to explore and make projects about the diverse landscape of the UAE and its connection to the larger world.