Oct 7, 2016

Making Life Mean More, Making Brands Mean More


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“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” ― Fabienne Fredrickson

In the truest sense, a child running into your arms with an overpowering, exultant smile is the greatest simple joy, in any language, any place, any time.


Two of my greatest passions are communications and nonprofit work, especially service aimed at bettering the lives of impoverished children. I started going on mission trips at age 15, which sparked my desire to become more involved in helping and immersing in new cultures, and ultimately led me to Nicaragua for annual student-led mission trips in college. I became fascinated by the stories of individuals both locally and in El Trapichito village, which fueled an interest in pursuing stories of all kinds.

Exploring a variety of cultures and getting to know people from different walks of life has allowed me to observe the different ways people create a community of happiness. This interest in the psychology behind human thoughts and behaviors in various communities has garnered a similar curiosity in the realm of communications. It has created a lens of searching for “the why” in my own environment.

Visiting a foreign country in which I was challenged to interact with children who only speak a foreign language forced me to reconsider my own view of communication—the essence of my studies at the time and my subsequent career path. On my first trip, I was amazed at the different ways people learned to communicate with one another, and my amazement continued as I experienced relationships grow as we returned to the village each year. The ability to create such strong human connections, despite the language and cultural barriers, really speaks to the power of people.



My curiosity spanned to an interest in what brings joy and happiness to different individuals based on their cultural environment. In Trapichito, there was no plumbing, limited food, and no houses; at least not in the way we define houses. But there were homes, built not with brick and mortar, but instead by strong bonds and a sacred sense of community. The strength of the village was best communicated to me when I heard children who weren’t related calling each other “hermano” or “primo”. While an initial outside point of view might consider the village to be poor, my interpretation was a village of great wealth— a community rich in relationships. These are the cultural learnings that make life mean more.

As I came back to BrandJuice to work full-time a year after my internship, the idea of “making brands mean more” stuck out to me as a chance to create meaningful work by immersing in a variety of industries. To me, instilling my experiences outside of work, into my work, is how I try to incorporate making life mean more into “making brands mean more,” everyday. Though I may not be fundraising anymore—whether for children’s shoes in a third-world country, meals for impoverished elementary students on the weekends, or children’s presents on Christmas morning—I am able to take these experiences with me, as each one has shaped me in some way.



What these experiences have collectively taught me is not only how to tell a brand’s story, but how to tell it well by being deliberate and genuine in the way you present every detail to the target audience. When purposeful strategy aligns with visionary creative, a brand can win the hearts and minds of the audience.


“True cultural connection is the Holy Grail for brands if they want to create an enduring emotional relationship with people.”- Adam Chmielowski

Every individual has unique needs and drivers, and no matter the brand or the product, it has to resonate with the target audience in a way that fits into the story of their lives. At the end of the day, it’s people and their stories that matter most. As brand builders, how do we communicate the story of a brand in a way that resonates in the hearts and minds of consumers? Questions to ask as you shape the experience of a brand:

  1. What challenges are the consumers facing?
  2. What are the consumers’ aspirations and motivations?
  3. What is the language of the consumer? (Not confined by Spanish or English, for example, but the personality, the tone, the nonverbal cues)
  4. What are the cultural motivators and inspirations of the consumer?
  5. What does the consumer value?

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