When people ask me what I do now that I've graduated, I often find myself unable to succinctly answer the question. At a recent reunion, I ran into several of my old peers. I couldn't help but notice that all of them knew either a.) how to describe what they were doing, or (for those who weren't formally working yet) b.) how to label the field they were going into. ASC dips into a lot of categories, so I'm left with using as broad a term as I can allow. ASC does involve consulting - in a big way, but I find myself the most invigorated by the Brand Generator.
For fun, I write literary short fiction (with black female protagonists in hope of widening the scope of our representation in pop-culture) and Branding is the closest I come to that specific type of storytelling in my work. Any writer or admirer of literary fiction can you tell you that it's an endeavor to tell the truth - the truth of any sort. Fiction is the opposite of truth because it defies absolute truth in exchange for a relative one, and it succeeds in this substitution by its ability to evoke real, human emotion. It was so sad, I cried. It was so funny, I laughed.
Lately, the reception of advertising and marketing has changed. Viewership is down across several key demographics and the result is so widespread that there can be no secret of the cause. The internet widened the highway, and now, even ads that are tailored to the tastes of the viewer go unread and unnoticed. The saturation of the market has led to the most skeptical generations in history. Millennials, myself included, are turned off by ads on Snapchat and Instagram. We're tired of our timelines being skewed to train our eye in specific directions. We're tired of not-so-subtle ads at the top of our Google searches, and we're even tired of Yelp. Lately, viewers want to be courted and seduced. They don't want your content popping up unwanted on their newsfeed. They don't want your emails, and they don't want to feel obligated to rate you online. The internet is saturated with catcalls and taunts, trick links and flashing popups. When I need a recommendation, I ask people I know in real life.
Here's where these lines converge. Human beings, from every demographic, are looking for something to believe in. I know that, because I feel myself engaging in that longing. It's this common ground that governs my methods of branding. I wait for people and businesses I believe in, and I only brand stories that I believe to be invested in the truth. That way, no matter what story I end up telling, it touches people in a real way. Instead of knocking at their door, they're knocking on mine - telling their friends and sharing with their loved ones whatever it is I've helped them find. Brands should be spread by the people who believe in them, by the visible proof that they've had a positive impact. Brand a true story, and you'll never regret carrying it out.