The Importance of an Authentic Brand Voice

In brand writing, it is often tempting for companies to fall into a trap of industry jargon and to attempt to use the most savvy, “SEO-driven,” “social media-friendly” language as possible. And while there is an undeniable strategy for crafting copy that checks each marketing item on a list, there is also an undeniable need for authenticity in a brand’s presentation.

Every couple of years, as technology changes and consumerism evolves, there is a shift in marketing expectations. What companies need from their marketing staff or consultants changes. The job description pivots. Activities like cold-calling are archaic; blanketed mass emails also seem impersonal and ineffective. According to Simply Measured, “Engagement” (e.g., likes, shares, etc.) is considered the most important metric for evaluating social media marketing success, with 80% of marketers identifying it as one of the top three metrics (the other two include, udience size (61%) and website traffic (56%)).

Part of the participative engagement process is customers’ need to hear a good story. They don’t want the same generic, feature-driven language. They want to hear about the impetus behind the brand, to hear the vulnerability and the passion in the founders’ voices, to read all of the vibrant and real human interest nuggets that go with the story. It is not something that can be faked, it has to be legitimate and experienced.

“Be yourself. The world worships the original.” – Ingrid Bergman

People are really good at sniffing out copy that lacks true enthusiasm and consistency. Just like we are hard wired to screen calls from unknown numbers, we are also getting better and better at denying companies that don’t speak from the soul.

One of my favorite writing projects this week has been developing brand copy and messaging points for Natalie Fox – NYC – a collection of luxury, knitted bags for ambitious, on-trend city women. The founders have worked tirelessly to bring this collection to market, but they do not want to hurry or scramble the copy development so close to the finish line. The founders know exactly the type of woman they have designed the bag for, and have done hundreds of hours of research, development and strategy over the past year. This intrinsic understanding takes time, patience and reflection. You would not rush the development of your product or service, so don’t rush the foundational messaging.

The next time you sit down at your computer: visualize the people you wish to speak to, take time to craft the language to truly resonate, and communicate without pretense.

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“Heirloom Anthology” Collection Bridges Jewelry and Art

Rather than allowing beautiful, vibrant old jewelry to languish in boxes, jewelry designer and artist, Christine Hilbert, wants to give it new life and inspiration in her collection “Heirloom Anthology”.

Hilbert debuted “Heirloom Anthology” at Leona Ruby on Thursday, June 23rd. Each necklace and pair of earrings was created with different vintage artifacts and accompanied by a matching framed print.

“These things are treasured and often kept in a box somewhere,” said Hilbert. “I wanted to create something that commemorates the treasure but doesn’t mess with its integrity… From Grandma’s jewelry to, say, 900 of Grandpa’s fishing lures.”

The “Heirloom Anthology” jewelry and print collection is available online at Prints are $19-50 and jewelry prices are available upon request.

This story was also featured on dsm Weekly: July 19, 2016.

"Heirloom Anthology" jewelry and art by Christine Hilbert, 2016


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2016 Give a Damn! Fashion Show & Pre-Caucus Party

Early 2016 rang in the best way possible: in an over-caffeinated flurry of excitement, champagne, and pre-caucus hustle. The Iowa Caucus media cycle was in full effect, along with political events, campaign rallies, and so many parties and fundraisers. I found myself in the middle of a quick-and-dirty fashion show planning cycle right up until the day before the caucuses — Give a Damn DSM: The Final Pre-Caucus Party, co-hosted by The Des Moines Register and The Des Moines Social Club. What I really loved about this fashion show was the unique challenge of combining fashion with politics.

Event Coverage

“Models strutted down the runway wearing outfits inspired by various former presidents or periods of political history. Women with their heads half-shaved modeled dresses in the style of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, followed by bearded and mohawked men showing off a Teddy Roosevelt-inspired menswear collection. The finale consisted of models carrying masks featuring each of the 2016 presidential candidates. Ted Cruz’s model twerked on the platform.” – Olivia Becker, Vice News, “Here’s How Young Voters in Des Moines Are Getting Ready for the Iowa Caucuses”

Plus… The Des Moines Register, “ICYMI: ‘Give a Damn’ models hit the runway in politically inspired attire”

and… Yahoo! Politics, “On the eve of the caucuses, a political catwalk”

Special Thank You’s

While a fashion show’s lifespan is fleeting it takes an enormous amount of time and energy to put together a high quality production. Cheers to the wonderful team involved in making this happen!

  • Jeff Naples for being the best-husband-ever // creative and co-producer
  • Zach Mannheimer for always bringing everyone together at the right time
  • Bethany Arganbright and the Des Moines Social Club crew for endless, obsessive hours
  • Libby Crimmings: GAD boss lady, enough said
  • Amalie Nash and The Des Moines Register for their vision and support
  • Mayim Yael, our Lead Stylist, plus the styling team that got everyone dressed and runway ready
  • Joelle Blanchard for exceptional model/talent recruitment
  • Amanda Snell and Lauren Elizabeth, the show’s official hair stylists (and for flawless execution of Jackie Kennedy-volume)
  • Dominique Braun, the show’s official MUA
  • Mike Draper, Taylor Frame and Lauren Pearson from RAYGUN
  • Renee from Atomic Garage
  • Sarah Dornink from Dornink Couture
  • Aaron and Joel Clutts from b.vander
  • Van Holmgren and Anna Frederick for their infinite creative abilities
  • Jeff Eaton for creating an ambiance through exceptional music
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