A Call To Action
Open to Debate, previously known as Intelligence Squared US, is a leading debate-driven media platform where people can engage with those holding opposing views on complex issues in a respectful, nuanced, and thought-provoking way. Odgis + Co had the opportunity to rename and rebrand them. The problem that forced the rebrand was that Intelligence Squared US (a not-for-profit) had the same name as the for-profit UK debate company that owned the .com. Business was becoming increasingly web based, and therefore they needed to achieve domain authority to avoid confusion. Intelligence Squared US had a different mission that conflicted unfavorably with that of their namesake.
The scope of this project included the creation of a full brand strategy platform and messaging, as well as a visual brand platform. Janet Odgis, who heads the award-winning woman-owned design firm, explains: “After interviews with key stakeholders and a team brand workshop, we presented our findings. As part of this assignment, we created their brand story, brand values, and brand character. As a result of this process, and after much internal debate, the name Open to Debate was decided upon and trademarked. Our next step was to design a new logo, brand architecture, and color palette, as well as the visualization of the key assets and look and feel of the website.”
Open to Debate produces and curates thought-provoking debates and conversations for radio, podcast, online broadcast, television, and digital video. Founded in 2006, it has hosted 220 debates bringing more than 660 influencers and experts to the fore. A particular note of pride for the organization: On average, 32% of the audience has changed their mind from one side to the other after a debate.
“The name Open to Debate better reflects what we bring to the public square,” said Chairman Robert Rosenkranz. “A healthy democracy needs citizens who are open minded and willing to consider opposing views. It needs more critical thinking and less emotion. It needs more analysis and less ideology. It needs a contempt free zone for public discourse. On the critical issues of the day, it needs to be Open to Debate.”
Adds CEO Clea Conner: “Renaming our organization has been years in the making. We worked with experts spanning education, policy, behavioral psychology, and mainstream media to address two serious problems facing America: new, extreme levels of polarization, and the historic erosion of trust in our institutions. Open to Debate is a call to action and an invitation to listen, learn, and work together despite our differences. We’re at an inflection point in this country and hope this new brand engages more Americans in being Open to Debate.”