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When I learnt about branding from a papier-mâché dinosaur.

Or, discovering authenticity in an unlikely place and standing out in a sea of same...

a painty piece of craft with the text 'what Iearnt about branding from a paper cache dinosaur, how to stand out in a sea of same' on it

Sometimes, life's most profound lessons come from the unlikeliest of teachers. For me, that unexpected guru was none other than a glitter-smeared papier-mâché dinosaur christened "Elsa." (I can literally hear you raising an eyebrow right now.) But go with it… because behind Elsa's vibrant coat of pink paint and shimmering sparkle lies an invaluable lesson about authenticity, uniqueness, and the literal transformative power of branding.


A Tale of Unconformity

Let me paint the scene for you. It's half-term, and my youngest is handed the seemingly innocuous school project: craft a dinosaur. Simple enough, right? Well, throw into the mix a fierce aversion to the stickiness of glue and an unyielding spirit of independence (yes, she's got that from her mum). I mean, it was what you might expect, standard issue yogurt pots, cereal boxes, loo rolls and the clever use of a bumper sized egg box, held together with a wing and a prayer and as much glitter and pink paint as she could get her mitts on. Not sure if it was from the Jurassic era, but it was fabulous.


But then came the gut-wrenching moment...


First day back, I follow my proud daughter pleased as punch carrying Elsa the dinosaur into class, when my heart drops. As I look down at her face, my daughter can see it too. ALL of the other dinosaurs look like… Dinosaurs! But I mean, proper dinosaurs. There they were, fierce T-Rexes, majestic Triceratops, each one meticulously crafted, bearing the telltale signs of parental...uh, 'assistance' and amidst them all stood the rogue of the bunch, Elsa, not conforming, not blending in, very much made by a four year old and shining brightly in her unique glittering glory, and all my daughter could see was that hers wasn’t like the rest.


The Beauty of Authenticity

But, in that room full of impeccable, by-the-book creations, Elsa stood out, not in spite of her differences, but because of them. You see, in a world saturated with T-Rexes and Brachiosauruses created under the watchful eyes (and hands) of eager parents, Elsa's individuality shone like a beacon.


a photo of a child's craft model with the text 'stand out because of your differences, not in spite of them' on it

Authenticity has a raw magnetism that is difficult to replicate. It wasn’t the flawlessness of Elsa's design or the precision of her features that caught everyone's attention; it was her genuine essence. This papier-mâché dinosaur, glittery and unabashedly pink, became a testament to the fact that true creativity, no matter how unrefined or quirky, has the power to eclipse even the most meticulous imitation.


In branding, as in life, there's an undeniable allure to genuine uniqueness. It’s that unquantifiable factor that makes you pause, look again, and ultimately remember. Elsa was a stark reminder that in the pursuit of perfection, we must never lose sight of authenticity. Because it's authenticity, not perfection, that truly captivates and leaves an indelible mark.


Branding and the Elsa Paradigm

In the vast sea of brands vying for attention, it's surprisingly easy to fall into the alluring trap of conformity.

It starts innocuously enough; a glance over the shoulder to see what the competitors are doing, a gentle tweak here and there to "fit in." But before you know it, you're just another face in the crowd, lost in the maze of lookalikes. The tragedy? In trying to fit every mould, many brands lose their own unique silhouette.

Elsa's journey echoes a lesson every brand should take to heart: the unyielding power of authenticity. True, embracing what sets you apart can feel like a gamble. The path less trodden always seems fraught with more risks and uncertainties. But remember Elsa, standing proudly amidst a throng of 'proper' dinosaurs. Her unabashed originality was her strength. Similarly, a brand's genuine essence, its unique story and voice, can pierce through the noise, creating resonant connections and lasting impressions.

So, if you find yourself on the brink, teetering between the safe embrace of the familiar and the thrilling unknown of authenticity, channel a bit of Elsa's spirit. Dive headfirst into what makes you 'you'. It might just be the most rewarding risk you ever take.


The end of the story

And do you know what happened to Elsa at the end of that first day back? Smiley teacher comes over and tells me, “we simply had to give her FIRST PRIZE, this dinosaur absolutely stood out from the crowd, it’s clearly got bags of personality and grabbed all of our attention the minute we saw it!”


And there it is. The branding lesson to learn. Right there from a glitter smothered egg box…


It’s not about being the best version of what everyone else is doing, it’s about being the best version of who you really are.


It's not about being perfect or fitting a prescribed mould; it's about embracing the quirks, the idiosyncrasies, the elements that make you distinctively 'you'.


So, as you reflect upon your brand's identity, ask yourself: Are you merely blending in, or are you daring to stand out? Embrace your Elsa moments, lean into authenticity, and remember that sometimes, the truest path to success is to simply dare to be different.


Set yourself apart and shine...

I’m not telling you to run off and dip yourself in pink paint and glitter (although it didn’t hurt Barbie’s marketing much) but if you need a hand finding the thing that is allllllll you, that’s where we can help - don't hesitate to reach out. We promise it’ll be just fabulous.






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