Somewhere in my parents’ cabinets lurks a dusty stack of home videos on VHS. There may be copies at my grandma’s house as well; she is the one who would tape my siblings, cousins and me as we’d perform plays written during the late-night hours of our sleepovers there.

Wherever those tapes are, there they can remain. They are painful to watch: My sister’s plots about Principal Watkins (played by a cousin with a furry pillow poking out of the top of his polo), et al., are actually quite clever, but we were not the least bit skilled in performance arts.

As evident by the “celebrities” three and four letters down the alphabet and hostesses who have a nail polish named after them (OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress), acting is hard. So if you are a brand: don’t.

The best brands extend naturally from their creator. They aren’t try-hards, posers or copycats in design or messaging. Their successes come from their authenticity. How can brands be themselves? Read through Labor of Love to see one brand’s mindset and principles in practice. 

Keeping it real has a positive effect not only on your brand but also on those around you. Flip to Don’t Take the Bait to see why treating others the way you would like to be treated builds stronger client/agency relationships and produces the best work for your brand.

 You still have time to experience many brand owners’, agencies’ and research firms’ advice and perspectives on branding, design and trends in person at The Drake hotel in Chicago, Oct. 12-14 if you register today ( We are looking forward to having you there!