Tell a Good Brand Story, and Never Receive a Bad Present Again!

KOTAW Off the Clock - Adventures of the KOTAW Girl Gang laced with mini marketing tips

Tell a Good Brand Story (And Never Receive a Bad Present Again!) | KOTAW Content MarketingI made a brand promise to introduce KOTAW’s readers to anything that earns my KOTAWesome stamp of approval — and also to offer you a sneak peak into my “off the clock” adventures. This blog keeps both those promises.

What’s KOTAWesome?

Anything that makes me smile, makes me laugh, inspires me, or makes me want to show “Here, here!

And that definition explains without a doubt why this blog is dedicated to artist, designer and my very good friend, Jennifer Broderick.

It All Started With a Letter

I met Jennifer two years ago on Google Plus. Jennifer is not only the first person to send Ivy, KOTAW Content Marketing’s Pit Bull Brand Ambassador a handwritten letter, but also the first person (besides my daughters and me!) to give all furry members of the KOTAW Girl Gang Christmas presents.

Two Christmases ago, Jennifer wrote handmade cards to both Ivy and her Poodle Doodle LuLU, and made them each handmade scrapbooks that my daughters — and business partners! — regularly use to recount all of Ivy and LuLU’s special adventures.

And this past Christmas, Jennifer wrote a heartwarming letter to Ivy, LuLU and our adopted kitten-cat Doosis, telling them that their “well wishes, wagging tails and sweet purrs” helped her grieve for the loss of her family’s loving dog, Pez.

I read Jennifer’s card to Ivy, LuLU and Doosis and Ivy wagged her tail and kissed me, LuLU smiled and lay down right next to me (she LOVES story time and was ready to lay there all night to hear lots more nice things about her!) and Doosis purred and rubbed her kitten-cat head all over Jennifer’s card to show her kitten-cat appreciation.

Jennifer also gifted Ivy, LuLU and Doosis with their very own Jennifer! Designs cards! Ivy and LuLu both have cards with adorable doggies and bedazzles on them and Doosis has her very own kitty card!

Bri and Kelsey are going to use these stunning cards to write special Ivy, LuLU and Doosis memories in.

The Perfect Gifts

Jennifer also gifted my daughters and me with gorgeous gifts from her Estrenlittore design collection in her Society 6 Shop: a mug for Bri, Kelsey and me, a tote bag and a set of stationery cards.

And of course she wrote us a beautiful message in one of her very own Jennifer! Designs cards that we will keep and treasure forever.


I met Jennifer shortly after I first started KOTAW Content Marketing and my daughters and I decided to use KOTAW as a platform to rebrand Pit Bulls as the sweet and loving dogs they are.

I remember Bri and Kelsey jumping for joy when Ivy received her very first letter at KOTAW Content Marketing headquarters here in Los Angeles.

It was a big deal that Jennifer addressed a letter to KOTAW’s Pit Bull Brand Ambassador. It meant our Pit Bulls & Personal Branding mission was working!

Cut to two years later, and Ivy has inspired dogs to be adopted and fostered and has turned former Pit Bull discriminators into Pit Bull lovers (not an easy feat!) Ivy is truly changing the world, as KOTAW Girl Gang member Bri wrote so beautifully about in a blog documenting the brand storytelling advice she gave a high school student who wrote to KOTAW asking for help to “rebrand the Pit Bull’s image” for her school’s extracurricular DECA program.

The KOTAW Brand Story, Wrapped in Pink and Tied With Bows

Each and every card and handmade letter that Jennifer has written to various members of the KOTAW Girl Gang aligns perfectly with KOTAW Content Marketing’s visual branding.

Thanks to Kelsey’s KOTAWesome visual brand storytelling, Jennifer knows exactly what will make the KOTAW Girl Gang smile — whimsical bow adornments, polkadots and anything colorful (particularly in pink hues!) And stickers — lots of stickers (particularly doggie-themed!)

When Jennifer sends the KOTAW Girl Gang presents, she knows we will love them because she knows our brand — that we’re storytellers with spunk, writers with a playful attitude and a serious purpose. (And that we’ve never met a polkadot we didn’t like!)

Jennifer even sent us one of her Jennifer! Designs tote bags specifically because she remembered that we donate books to a miniature library that looks like an oversized birdhouse at one of Ivy and LuLU’s favorite parks. She figured the tote bag would be perfect for carrying all our books to donate — and she was right!

Gifts to the KOTAW Girl Gang from Artist and Designer Jennifer Broderick

Make Your Brand Storytelling Your Personal Online Gift Registry

I think all of us can relate to getting a birthday card from a friend that is not at all in our style and thinking, doesn’t this person know us at all?

Or excitedly opening a Christmas gift from a relative and feeling your heart sink as you realize you have to feign appreciation for something that couldn’t possibly be less you.

Why not think of your personal brand story as your online registry to anything and everything your style?

For instance, when my daughters and I came across a “doggie doodle pen” at Barnes & Noble (a silver wiener dog that stands up but is also a pen for doodling!) and a 3D drawing pad with 3D glasses at World Market, we knew we had to buy both for Jennifer.

Why? Because Jennifer’s personal brand storytelling is her online registry to anything and everything her style!

Which is just another way to say that she does a KOTAWesome job telling her brand story.

My daughters and I knew Jennifer would appreciate a doggie doodle pen because she had just completed her “One Doodle a Day for One Year” project (which is exactly what it sounds like, except her “doodles” are actually museum quality works of art — displayed at the Miami Art Biennial art exhibit and sold on pillows, shower curtains, throw blankets, duvets, rugs and more through her Society 6 shop).

And we knew how much Jennifer loves dogs because of how much she loves Ivy and LuLU and because of all the joy in her social media posts about her family dogs.

We also knew from Jennifer’s Twitter posts that she appreciated 3D art — and that she shared our quirky sense of fun so would likely enjoy drawing while wearing 3D glasses!

And we were correct!

On Jennifer’s Facebook page she posted a collage of our gifts and wrote:

“What’s better than gifts? Personalized gifts, a handmade card and a handwritten note, of course!

“I was tickled to receive a super cute snowman envelope stuffed with beautifully wrapped goodies, tailored to match my personality from six special friends – Three humans, two canines and one feline.”

AKA: The KOTAW Girl Gang!

Does your social media marketing and brand storytelling showcase your personality and style so well that you may never get a bad present again?! Make that your goal!

Deborah Lloyd, Kate Spade’s president and chief global officer, has fans who know her taste so well that she routinely receives every possible color and combination of her favorite baked good — macarons! — in the mail.

What does YOUR personal brand story say about your taste and style? Please tell me in the comments section below! OR — tell me your favorite bad gift story! (I could always use a good laugh!)


  1. monika says:

    How unbelievable sweet is this! I’d like to wrap this blog post up with a pink bow and remember everything that is written.
    Thank you #KotawGirlGang
    ♥♥♥ Monika

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Awwwwww, thank you, Monika. We share a fondness for pink and cats and shabby chic…the list could go on and on, I believe.

      Here are pink hugs for you!

  2. Adrienne says:

    Hi Katherine,

    Well that’s so very sweet of Jennifer to have done that for you all and of course that definitely does stand out. Sounds like she’s a very talented person and to go on and help spread the word about pit bulls is awesome. I bet all the kids enjoyed their special gift and I have a feeling Jennifer enjoyed writing those especially for them.

    I’ve done better this year of being more consistent with my brand across social media. Those that visit my Twitter profile KNOW I’m a brownie lover and I had a friend I’d met there send me some one year. Boy you can’t go wrong with that gift.

    That’s a great story and of course we do need to be consist with our brands and who we are across this huge web….

    Love this story and you are definitely an ambassador for better story telling. We all need to all take notes from you my dear.

    Have a beautiful week and say Hi to the girls.


    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Hi, Adrienne,

      I replied to your lovely note yesterday, but it got lost somehow after I hit the “reply” button.

      What I wanted to say then — and will try to say now — is CONGRATULATIONS!!!

      I am thrilled that you recognize the success of your rebranding. I’ve noticed the power of your rebranding for months but held back commenting. The power, I knew, would be greater if it came from within. But now that YOU know and believe, I am delighted to join the celebration.

      HERE, HERE to taking the risk of rebranding and enjoying its successes.

      Take a bow, Adrienne! And, since bowing is a form of exercise, help yourself to an extra brownie too!



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