Branding and Marketing for Peace & Fluidity Designs
Branding and Marketing for Peace & Fluidity Designs

A self-designed independent study syllabus for credit that simultaneously created an integrated marketing campaign for an actual client in eight weeks.

Student researcher: Kelsey Cowan, senior advertising major

Faculty mentor: Marcel Jennings, associate professor, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture


KELSEY COWAN: Needing one more credit to graduate coincided with my sister’s yoga company needing a complete branding and marketing strategy. I combined both needs to design my own independent study program that took me from zero to finished project in eight weeks. Everything from the initial brand audit to logo development, competitive research, market and lifestyle analysis, photo shoots, e-commerce Web design and implementation, and retail networking was included in my step-by-step curriculum. I did a lot of learning as I went, but being in the advertising program at VCU really prepared me to do the work, and I think do it well.

MARCEL JENNINGS: Having had Kelsey in two classes, I knew she had the work ethic, drive, level of finish and passion for the business required to crush this project. I wasn’t surprised when she told me what she wanted to do. I only provided creative direction, feedback and guidance — she set up the entire syllabus from start to finish on her own and completed it while also having a full class schedule. Kelsey always over-delivers, and this project is no different. I think doing a real project for a real client is critical for my students. In the classroom it’s all blue-sky theory and anything’s possible. But real assignments with budgets and deadlines give students a vital experience that, for the most part, you can’t teach. Kelsey already had a high bar; now it’s even higher.

THE RESULTS: It was an amazing experience to take what I learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-world client situation, where questions of differing style, taste and perspective have to be addressed and resolved with the client — on budget, within deadlines. I developed the brand voice and made sure that there is consistency across all media, from print to Web, in-store, events and social media. It definitely upped my professionalism, and I’ve ended up with a much more solid portfolio that can take me to the Brandcenter and beyond. Perhaps my client (and sister) said it best: “Kelsey will be taking Peace & Fluidity Designs to new heights, so get excited!”