For my enterprise story I wanted to write about the struggles behind building a brand, since college students quickly have to develop a successful strategy for marketing themselves. I wanted to focus on something more abstract than branding a product, and looked for a story about the successful strategy behind branding a person or organization.
Deb Peterson, the chief development officer of The Leonardo, offered me the opportunity to see the unique challenge of branding the museum. She offered great insight behind their strategy and the challenges they face, and explained some of the brand partnerships they’ve established.
The Leonardo currently hosts an exhibit featuring LEGO, and I was able to interview Mariann Asanuma, a LEGO master builder, who travels the world, marketing herself as the “first freelance female master builder.” She brought great insight into how LEGO has used the LEGO movies to reinvigorate the brand with a younger generation, and showed me how her social media presence helped build her personal brand.
The main obstacle that I encountered was trying to find the right sources, and gain access to them in the given timeframe. I quickly learned that in any large organization only a few key people developed the brand strategy, and they usually had pretty hectic schedules. I was able to engage with Deb Peterson through professional connections, and she was then able to get me access to any information I needed.
At the end I had a lot of great information about The Leonardo and the challenges of building its brand. The hard part was to distill the information to stay within the boundaries of the story. The Leonardo, LEGO, and the strategies behind branding are all great topics, and when writing about them collectively I had to focus on the common threads in order to not dilute the story.
The biggest lesson I learned was to always ask myself if I’m still focused on the original story, and what can be added or taken away to clarify the message for my readers.
I hope to turn my passion for communication into a career focused on brand strategy. I have a great appreciation for the science behind verbal and visual communication, and I’m passionately interested in how social media ties into this field.
Before coming to the University of Utah I spent some time in the military, and worked in Iraq as a political and foreign influence analyst for the 101st Airborne Division. The work was fascinating and sparked my interest in professional communication and brand strategy.
I’m currently a sophomore student at the U, with a double major in business and strategic communication. When not in class or at work I spend my time at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute where I love working with startup companies on their brand identities.
During the next few years I intend to develop my ability to elegantly tell the stories that fascinate me and tie into the industries that I’m focused on, hopefully in ways that reward and fascinate my audience.