What’s In a Name?

These days it seems that everything is being branded: products, people, places, diseases, lifestyles. I grew up without television, no commercial toys, a DIY dad, and a home cook from scratch mom. I think my first brand loyalty was perhaps the lack of branding.

In high school I remember a friend asking if my parents were hippies. They were not, but they were cautious and educated consumers. Despite this ‘anti-commercial’ upbringing I remember a few brands in the house: Bon Ami for cleaning, Tissues were always Kleenex, plasters were always Band-Aid, dad was a huge Dettol fan, tea was PG Tips. IKEA was our go to furniture if dad did not make it. Chocolate was always Belgian. President’s Choice that was originally ‘No Name’ was often in the pantry. Cars were always Toyota. So hippie or not, we all gravitate towards certain brands.

Am I selling out?

Just like a well written book that evokes emotion and momentarily removes you from your reality transporting you to another one, a well crafted movie, television show, or advertisement will do the same. I have always loved the movies. I especially love shorts and advertising festivals. From watching The Big Snit at school to seeing the International advertising festivals at the Princess Cinema, I truly appreciate the art of a perfect punchline, tagline, something short and sweet that sticks with you. I love the art of advertising. I also appreciate that most of us are creatures of habit.

Despite what we say our actions often show that we don’t like change, innovation, ‘new and improved’. I am probably an extreme case of this. When we moved to New York, I brought my shampoo in from Canada for years because I refused to switch to one of the hundreds available in the US. Working with brands is not just about convincing you to buy something.

I’m amazed at how little we know about the products we use. I’m
shocked at how little information I can find on a particular vacation spot despite the amount of money spent on advertising, number if blogs and travel sites out there. For me, working with brands is about getting to know a product or place better. It is about highlighting the details that are important to me: a mother, a wife, an off-beat traveler, a down to earth food snob, a coffee lover, a crowd hater, a youth hostel – luxury resort and nothing in the middle vacationer, a nature- lover, book worm, movie-lover, a fashion lover who doesn’t fit, a dancer and dance fanatic, mom if an adventurous omnivore and a picky potato-famine boy.

Why do I work with brands?

My background is an odd mix of philosophy, ethics and early childhood education (and that ‘s just my formal education.). I began blogging as a way to write about the things I was up to. I was writing for myself, my family in New York, England and Canada. I was writing for the moms in my new mom’s group, and the others in my virtual community mom groups. I was compiling information shared online and I was sharing my thoughts and insights. I’m a compulsive researcher. I love to get out and about with my family, solo or just with my husband. I love to cook. I love a good meal out. I love to shop and I love a good bargain.

I have started working with brands for a variety of reasons. Let’s begin with the obvious. Working with a brand provides some income for my time working. If you know me well, you know I’m pretty stubborn, go ahead, you can say it, pig-headed would not be an understatement. I am not easily swayed and you can rest assured that a free product sample for review or compensation for my writing time is not going to change that.

So, why do I work with brands?

Like everyone I tend to stick with what I know and what I like, but I am open to innovation, updates and that which is truly ‘new & improved’. What I’ve learned is that advertising is not only dramatically changing but most ads are are entertaining at best yet rarely convince me of much.

I am a compulsive researcher. I read about look at, pick up and touch, check out, try out, Google, read the blogs and ask my peers about everything from sunscreen and makeup to the best cocktail for a Halloween party. Then I share my findings with my colleagues, peers, friends, and readers who have neither the compulsion, nor the desire to do the research, but like what I have to say and share.

So when I work with brands, what I am saying is lay it all on the table and show me what you’ve got. I want to be convinced. I want to be educated. I want to know not only what your innovations are but the who, what and why of it all too.

If I like what I see, smell, taste, and experience then I want to share, tweet, Instagram, Pin, and shout from the rooftops. Even as a child I always loved giving gifts more than receiving them (It is not just a cliché.). Once I’ve had a great meal somewhere, before I have placed my napkin on the table I’m already planning who I will come back with to share the experience. When I travel I do the same. I want everyone to experience the joy, awe, beauty that I had the chance to experience. I savour the moments but the joy grows exponentially when I can share it.

My opinions cannot be bought, and are darn hard to sway. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. All posts include disclosures when an item has been offered for review. If you have questions or concerns don’t ever hesitate to let me know. The comments section is always open.

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