Dare to do Cartwheels. (No Tumbling Please.)

Cartwheels are one of the basic moves in gymnastics. Practicing cartwheels tends to strengthen your upper body and helps you learn other tricks like handsprings. Firstly, you need to kick your legs into the air while pushing on the floor. If you are less confident, then use grass and a slight slope. – www.wikihow.com

I find there’s something exuberant about watching anyone doing cartwheels. It makes you stop, pay attention, gasp. After all, no one likes to see anyone tumble. Ditto brands.

I’m about to reveal a personal story with readers about my brand doing cartwheels. I am pulling the curtain, so to speak, on Zing Your Brand & Co., and allowing you to get a peek behind the scenes. This is, of course, in the hope it might inspire and/or propel you into the exhilarating World of Brand Cartwheeling.

In a nutshell, this is about rethinking your brand through a visual lens, and doing a complete overhaul. Or, as my New Zealander-designer-friend-who-lives-in-Australia calls it, a giggly-up.

In full disclosure, I’ve been playing with my brand lately. I’ve been longing for a different kind of visual energy – a more advanced creative metaphor, so to speak, for my brand. And, because I’m a visual storyteller, I expected I could make this happen in a flash. It didn’t quite work out that way.

What’s more, I’ve always believed in the power of symbols but this journey was taking me longer than I thought. I turned to my New Zealander friend, a brilliant visual thinker and, in fact, my design soul mate for over 16 years. (FYI He’s based in Sydney. He no longer takes on new clients, and asked me specifically not to give out his contact details. You bet, I’m sorry.)

Here’s what I’ve discovered in the process of doing cartwheels with my brand, and hope it will dare and inspire you to do the same. Ready?

1) Exuberance: Every brand can benefit from a dose of exuberance. Even though Zing Your Brand & Co. always carried a certain kind of energy, I wanted a bigger dose of exuberance – a bigger bolt of energy. More drama. (After all, I was a drama major.)

So this was my design brief for a new visual symbol: I told my Kiwi friend-designer how often I ask clients these two questions: When is the last time you checked the pulse of your brand? Is your brand showing vital signs?
He responded with this exquisite red object. He calls it ‘this round blob.’ Its original intent was one of questioning, and it was showcased recently, for the first time, as part of my Dead Brand Walking presentation in Las Vegas. So this symbol basically emerged as a question-motif for a keynote presentation. Lesson: Dare to be exuberant.

2) Agility: Every brand can benefit from agility and nimbleness. ‘This round blob’ resonated with me. It called me, and I knew intuitively that instead of just being a symbol for Dead Brand Walking, I was going to transform into a bigger metaphor for ‘zing-potentiality.’ Four weeks ago, I moved quickly and incorporated it across my site www.zingyourbrand.com. FYI The symbol is now currently in the process of being trademarked as part of the company. Lesson: Move quickly.

3) Living Outloud: If it feels good, it’s good for you and your brand. This visual metaphor speaks to people. Since this red symbol showed up on my site, business cards, the lot – there’s been a remarkable response. One person liked it so much they thought they’d like to adopt it for their own business! Another wants to see this on a t-shirt so she can wear it all over town. You see, a visual symbol speaks to people, in different voices and in different ways – that’s living outloud. It’s what puts a twinkle in the eye, and a spring in the step! Lesson: Dare to live outloud!

On a final note, I salute my Boston-based friends and colleagues, Nick and Nikki Smith-Morgan, who dared me to do some serious cartwheels! www.PublicWords.com

This article was first published online on Dan Schawbel’s PersonalBrandingBlog.com on April 10, 2011

Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter.

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