At my Corporate job, we’re preparing for a Brand Refresh so I thought it was time to do my own Refresh on my website. The funny thing is, I’m now inspired to do the Brand Refresh on myself. Let me explain.
What’s a Brand Refresh?
When I was a student at California State University, Monterey Bay, I gave a presentation on “Reinvent Yourself to Stay on Top of Your Game!” That’s a lofty title, but it perfectly describes a Brand Refresh. Over time, sometimes a long time, a brand starts to feel stale and outdated. Corporations that want to stay ahead will look at changes in the company, as well as current and future trends, to develop a “fresh look” – therefore, a Brand Refresh.
You’ve likely done it in your life. A radically different haircut. A complete change in personal style. Deciding one day that it’s time to move. These are all ways of reinventing yourself. I started doing these types of things with intention when I was in high school and carried it on throughout the years. In fact, about every three years I would get fixated on making changes and updating myself. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a real REFRESH in years. The reasons are for another story.
Getting Back in the Groove
For years, say 21 years, I’ve been widely known as The Gothic Gourmet, which I love and will until I die. But recently, I’ve started to market myself as Beverly Van Pelt. Now you’re probably thinking, “Of course, silly! That’s your name!” And you’d be right. But not since my Real Estate days have I marketed myself as… myself.
In the analysis of it, I have found that it was easier for me to promote one character rather than dedicate a lot of scary energy into promoting the living, breathing, working person that I am. That realization has caused me to wake up and say, “I have relevant experience, knowledge, and ambition so why not get it out there?!”
Storyteller = Artist + Strategist
As I looked at my activities, I found that almost all things I do, tell a STORY. Whether it’s for a Corporate Showcase Display, designing a meal (Yes. I design meals), building Upcycling outfit, directing a play, or anything at all… even how I post on Facebook is a Messaging Story. This wasn’t really a surprise. I mean, I’m always telling a story. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. What was surprising was the “break-down” of what makes me a Storyteller.
In the beginning…
I loved to paint and draw, hence I drew on the walls and under my parents’ furniture. I painted a mural at my elementary school and I even won a Water Company poster contest with the theme of, you guessed it, “Water Conservation”. I still remember that poster. I apinted two fish in a lake with a very low water level. One fish said, “Where did all of our water go?” The other responded, “Down the drain”. All of this by the second grade.
Where’s the strategy?
By the time I was in 4th or 5th grade, I was starting to get the idea of how to make all of the pieces fit. It was in the Girl Scouts. I was a Junior and we were tasked with putting up a play. A hush fell over all of the girls. In a moment, I had a complete story but I waited before offering it up. I waited and waited. It seemed like forever that I waited. I finally blurted out, “I know. We’ll do SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES… IN SPACE!” The title alone got all of my friends excited.
The troop leader looked relieved. “Great! What do you need to do to make the play?” Make? “Huh!” I mused. “I’ll write the story and direct it. I’m the only one who knows how it’s supposed to go.” This was met with more relief and the girls started to jockey for roles. I wrote down what everyone wanted and added, “But I have to play Grumpy.” (Back then, I fancied myself to be a very grouchy person but subsequently, I have heard I was quite joyful!)
At that point I was the playwright, the director, and an actor. But wait! We each had to come up with our own costumes. Suddenly, I was a costume design as well.
I can’t honestly remember how the play went. Strange. I remember all of the planning, the details, the rehearsals, the tears (we were young girls after all), but the end result eludes me. And that’s okay because in my mind it means the whole thing was a smashing success!
You see, I used my artistry but there was strategy involved too! To quote the oft over-quoted T.S. Eliot, “It’s the journey not the destination that matters.” At that time, I also started to recognize that the only way to control the story (outcome) was to control the process.
Over the years I have been nearly obsessed with telling stories so it is only natural that STORYTELLING is at the center of my personal Brand Refresh.
How to Start Your Own Brand Refresh
Ask your mother, brother, friend, anyone you trust to name three words that describe you now. Are these words a true description of you? Do these trigger other words that better describe you?
Start a “Look-Book”. A Look-Book is a visual collection of inspiration photos gathered into a collection. When you think you’ve located enough inspiration, you go back into the collection to see overall theme that you were most drawn to. This is easily done in the Pinterest App since this is essentially the whole idea behind it. Or one can cut out photos from Magazines, or take photos with a cell phone. The whole point is to have visuals. I use a Look-Book when I am formulating my ideas for costume design, updating my wardrobe, Christmas shopping. It’s really an invaluable tool for Visualizing.