Branding Your Message
With a background in corporate and personal branding and 20 years of marketing experience, it would be no surprise to anyone who knows me that everything about my message leading up to, and during, Mrs. International 2020 Pageant Week, including the details I put into it, was thought out ahead of time and had significant meaning to us, our platform, our journey, our why, and the brand we were trying to cultivate. (When I say us/our, I’m referring to my husband, Andrew, as this journey is equally his as it is mine.)
As titleholders, we all represent platforms that have special meaning to us. Some of those platforms are represented by organizations with established, well-known brands, while others are represented by personal messages with brands that have maybe not yet been cultivated. Whichever type of platform you’re representing, it’ll be represented by more of a corporate brand. Because titleholders may often represent a similar, or even the same, corporate brand for their platform, it’s important to cultivate a personal brand as a titleholder; a brand that will help you share your platform and your overall message in a way that is unique and meaningful to YOU; even if that platform is similar to someone else’s. There are many factors that go into cultivating a personal brand. Today, I’m going to share just three very basic factors to consider.
1 - Your Mission Statement
As a titleholder, your personal brand starts with your mission statement. In roughly a paragraph or two, your mission statement will help establish the initial perception of WHO you are as a titleholder, WHAT you stand for, and WHAT you have to offer to the world around you. It will provide an initial introduction to WHAT your platform is, insight into your WHYs, and an overview of your HOW. This mission statement will provide a glimpse into your personal journey with your platform, while establishing a foundation for your personal brand and the message associated with it. Once you have your mission statement established (and your WHO, WHAT, WHY, and HOW clearly defined – not discussed in detail in this post), you can then add additional detail to your personal brand.
2 - Colors with Meaning
Colors are a basic, yet an important part of any brand, as they represent meaning and can create an emotion that you want associated with your brand; not only for yourself but for your audience. It’s important to understand why you choose certain colors, and, more importantly, what those colors represent; in other words, what unique meaning do those colors have to you and your message? Each color that I chose to help brand our message had significant meaning to us, as each color represented a different part of our journey. As a couple who has been impacted by infertility, it was our journey through adoption and then foster care that ultimately called us to launch the BE A FOSTER Movement; my official platform as Mrs. International 2020. Each stage of our journey offered its own unique challenges, and each stage led us to where we are today. Our story would not be whole without each stage individually; Infertility, Adoption, FOSTER CARE! Therefore, each stage is incorporated into our overall message and is represented in our brand by a specific color.
It all began with the color pink, the awareness color for Infertility. For us, pink represents the start of our journey and all the women and couples, like Andrew and myself, who have been (or will be) impacted by infertility.
Then the color white, the awareness color for Adoption. For us, white represents the adoption of our little man, Micah, all the children who are waiting to be adopted into their forever homes, and the families who have been (or will be) called to welcome them into their families.
And finally, the color blue, the awareness color for Foster Care. For us, blue represents our three foster kiddos, all the kiddos in the foster care system, their birth families, the professionals who support them, and the foster families who have been (or will be) called to open their hearts and homes to love and serve the needs of the more than 2.7 million children in foster care globally.
Throughout my time at Mrs. International Pageant Week, I strategically incorporated each color into my wardrobe, and I wore each color proudly, as each color represented an important part of our journey that kept me focused on MY WHYs throughout the week. I chose to wear pink and blue for my every-day wear, which included the outing day to the Second Harvest Food Bank and lunch at the Allandale Mansion, the Wine and Wedges Reception, the Girls Inc. Gala and Silent Auction, and, of course, rehearsals! I also chose to wear blue for contract signing on Sunday morning! I then chose to wear white for orientation and for my competition wear, which included Private Interview, On-stage Interview, and Evening Gown.
3 - Attention to Detail
Besides my three colors, I also incorporated bows (and ruffles) into certain outfits that I wore throughout the week. For us, the bows (and ruffles), which are a type of ribbon, represented the awareness ribbons that are typically worn for Infertility, Adoption, and Foster Care. Every time I put on a different outfit that week, I was reminded by the color and by the ribbon of a different stage of our journey that led me to where I was in that very moment in time. Each outfit helped to create a different emotion, which helped me to keep my thoughts focused on my WHYs!
These three colors, along with the ribbons, were also incorporated into my paperwork. From the headshot I submitted, to my platform sheet, my autograph cards, and my ad in the program book, everything was consistent, cohesive, and true to our message. I also incorporated my colors into my contestant gift that I gave to my fellow sister Queens at orientation, which consisted of a pink, a white, and a blue nail polish, along with a note card explaining the meaning of each color and a simple prayer to say when each color was worn. And, of course, the package was topped off with a bow.
Again, everything about my message leading up to, and during, Mrs. International 2020 Pageant Week, including the details I put into it, was thought out ahead of time and had significant meaning to our platform and our message, which, ultimately, helped to cultivate my personal brand that I was trying to achieve.
Whatever colors you choose to wear, and whatever significant details you choose put into your message, make sure that it all has special meaning to you, your platform, your journey, and your why. Remember, you might be representing a similar platform, and you might even be wearing the same color as the woman next to you, but the reason WHY you’re representing that platform and the reason WHY you’re wearing that specific color is what will set YOU apart, as it will represent a message and a personal brand that is unique and meaningful only to YOU!
Ashley Rae Klinger
Mrs. International 2020
The Need is Great - Make an Impact - BE A FOSTER
"Encouraging families to make an impact in the life of a child and be a foster."
A Special Request
When you wear or see the color pink (the awareness color for infertility), may you pray for all the women and couples, like Andrew and I, who have been (or will be) impacted by infertility. May God help them to become the parents they long to be, whether that be through conception, adoption, foster care, or kinship care and may they find peace in God’s plan for their lives and for their families.
When you wear or see the color white (the awareness color for adoption), may you pray for all the children who are waiting to be adopted into their forever homes and the families who have been (or will be) called to welcome them into their families. Let us remember it’s not as much the blood, as it is the love, that makes a family.
When you wear or see the color blue (the awareness color for foster care), may you pray for all the kiddos in the foster care system, their birth families, the professionals who support them, and the foster families who have been (or will be) called to open their hearts and homes to love and serve the needs of the more than 2.7 million children in foster care globally.