Exposing our hearts to the world is an intimidating experience, so the thought of branding our project ideas initiates a crucial and decidedly precarious leap of faith in our journeys at Groundswell. Impressions are everything.
This last point was an important lesson as well for Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice; his own self-branding as a misanthropic and prideful aristocrat did him no favours in his courting of the head-straight Ms. Bennet.
How is this narrative from arguably one of the English-speaking world’s greatest romances relevant for our week in Groundswell? If anything, branding is nothing but romantic. Revealing vulnerabilities and asserting, even advertising, the core features of our projects, and by extension, ourselves, is a lesson not to be taken lightly and hinges highly on the development of reputations. Attracting others and convincing them to pay attention is at the essence of any courtship, one that involves meticulous and strategic planning. Without a strong reputation and market presence, our projects might as well have as great a chance of succeeding as Darcy’s courtship from novel’s beginning.
Thus foreshadows the menagerie of emotions that defined our experiences the last several days at Groundswell as we focused on the basics of how to catalyze an image for our projects. Reilly Yeo presented the basics of Website Creation 101, as our deliverables for the following two weeks included the construction of websites for our brands and a social-media presence.
As participants worked to create that flawless online identity, it quickly grew apparent that desire for that perfect sense of creating and establishing character and uniqueness comes with the same costs as romance, the anxiety of inadvertently misrepresenting your brand, creating a false impression, or even presenting an unflattering or ineffective visual gaffe.
Anxiety abound, we tackled the collective mood of vulnerable fear the following Wednesday evening with a group brainstorming session facilitated by Groundswell participant Annah Mackay. The task: ideate some branding taglines for everyone’s project. It was yet another bonding opportunity for us Groundswellians and an important reminder that we are in this together. Each project reputation, ultimately, contributes to the Groundswell reputation as a whole.
In fact, moulding reputations together is the first step in putting yourself out there, so to speak. It was Darcy’s tactful and shameless contribution to salvaging the reputation of the Bennet family that ultimately won over Elizabeth’s heart, by whom he grew “properly humbled.” Humility, perhaps, will await us all if we engage in the courage of not only creating our brands, but sharing them and acknowledging our flaws and owning our images and identities in all their beauty.