Unbreakable! 3 Strong as Hell Tips for Rebranding Success


Blog by Bri, KOTAW Girl Gang member at KOTAW Content Marketing, boutique branding through storytelling studio
3 Strong as Hell Tips for Business Rebranding Success | KOTAW Content Marketing, brand design in Los Angeles

In the Tina Fey produced Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the lead character (played ingeniously by Ellie Kemper) says that in order to get through a rough situation, you just have to take it ten seconds at a time.

Her character should know. She got through many, many MANY ten second increments of unpleasantness while being locked in an underground bunker for 15 years. (And yes, the show is a comedy, so don’t get depressed and stop reading!)

When Kimmy Schmidt and the other women trapped with her in the underground cult are rescued — in the opening credits of the premiere episode! — Kimmy has to decide how she wants to live the rest of her life: Complain that at 29 years old, the last book she read was a Baby-Sitters Club mystery (and she essentially missed most of her teen years and 20s.) Or positively embrace the new chance at life she was given.

Kimmy chooses the latter. Just like my unbreakable Poodle Doodle LuLU!

Destined To Be a KOTAW Girl Gang Member

A little over a year ago, my mom introduced you to Lucy, the persnickety poodle who forced herself into the KOTAW Girl Gang’s lives (and hearts) by escaping from her house to ours dozens of times a day.

No matter how many times we returned her to her house, three houses away from ours, she would often be back in our living room before we were — THAT’s how sneaky and smart she is.

We complained to her owners — it’s not safe to have her running loose (what if she made a pit stop on her way to our house and tried to cross a dangerous street?)

They didn’t seem to care, so we built a ten foot barricade to block the area of their yard where Lucy was getting out.

And she STILL ended up back in our living room before we did. (Which is why she has now earned the nickname “Mensa Poodle.”)

LuLU is the KOTAW Girl Gang's Unbreakable Poodle | KOTAW Content Marketing

It’s LuLU! We love our Unbreakable forever Poodle Doodle with all our hearts ♥

A Grand Plan and Endearing Manipulation

Once when Lucy was locked inside her house so couldn’t escape her yard, we heard her wailing and wailing, RAN over to her house with Ivy to see what was going on, and found her on top of her roof!

Lucy threatened to jump off the roof if we didn’t “rescue” her and take her for a walk, then smiled a devious smile when her manipulative plan worked!

As my mom says, “It was frustrating, embarrassing and…kind of endearing.”

We started picking her up every morning to play with Ivy and returning her in the evening, asking that she be locked in for the night. We thought this would be a good solution for two reasons: 1. So we wouldn’t have to interrupt our work (or sleep!) to bring her home every 10 minutes. And 2. We figured if Lucy knew we would routinely pick her up every morning, she would be less likely to threaten to jump off her roof!

Lucy was OK with that plan for a while but, to use my mom’s words again, Lucy “started treating every walk home as if it were a trip to the guillotine.”

She would bite us when we tried to take her home and dig in her heels adamantly and REFUSE to budge.

Pernisckety, persnickety, persnickety!

The very last time Lucy escaped from her yard (about a year and a half ago) she refused completely to return from whence she came — and became a permanent member of the KOTAW household.

Her former family moved away, and she is now no longer Lucy. She’s LuLOOOOO!

Poodle Unbreakable!

Not too long after officially adopting Lucy, we started calling her LuLu.

Our social media friends and followers quickly caught on, wishing “LuLu” a happy weekend or saying how adorable “LuLu” is in all her pictures.

But if you’ve been paying close attention to our most recent KOTAW Content Marketing posts on social media, you may have noticed that we are now spelling “LuLu” with a capital “U” at the end. LuLu has become LuLU!

Why?

Because LuLU LOVES an extra “OOOOH” sound at the end of her name!

LuLU is not the same persnickety poodle she once was. She is most definitely “strong as hell,” which is why the Kimmy Schmidt lyrics fit my Unbreakable Poodle so perfectly. But she has rebranded, and that’s why this blog is dedicated to her.


If you’re considering rebranding your personal or corporate image, consider these three tips from my Unbreakable Poodle Doodle LuLU!


1. Decide How You Want To Live Your Story — and Take the Necessary Steps To Make it Happen!

When my mom and sister and I first met Lu (another favorite nickname of hers!) she was skinny, arthritic, skittish and prone to snapping. By the time we adopted her at age 11, she was going on two mile walks with Ivy and TROTTING the entire time!

Last summer, we celebrated LuLU’s 2nd birthday (logic being that we adopted her a year after she first started escaping to our house and had then lived with us on a permanent basis for another year).

And the thing is, no one who knows LuLU as she is now would ever dispute her being two!

My mom and sister and I are often asked if she’s a puppy. Lu has more energy than all of us KOTAW Girl Gang members combined. She NEVER gets tired on her walks and my sister and I often imagine her as a children’s book character who walks around the entire world without ever once stopping (except to sniff!) because she is always having so much Poodle Doodle fun.

LuLU is the KOTAW Girl Gang's Unbreakable Poodle Doodle! | KOTAW Content Marketing

Unbreakable LuLU is sweet-as-can-be, yet strong-as-hell, just like the rest of the KOTAW Girl Gang!

Authoring Your Happily-Ever-After

LuLU has plumped up to her proper weight and enjoys the luxury of being able to eat fancy dog treats daily. Her teeth are so pearly white and perfect we wonder if she’d ever eaten treats before becoming our Forever Doodle.

Nevertheless, LuLU’s taste palette is mysteriously refined to like only the best-of-the-best. She turns up her nose at random treat samples from Petco — like Madeline when she says “pooh pooh” to the lion at the zoo — but does her Poodle Doodle tap dance for US-made freeze-dried chicken breast treats that per serving cost more than most meals my mom and sister and I eat!

LuLU deserves it. She is our unbreakable Poodle Doodle because she didn’t let the first decade of her life turn her permanently persnickety.

In fact, she has yet another nickname — and it is LuLOVE!

LuLOVE and is now prone to giving non-stop kisses for a full half hour straight. And if you move at all to re-position yourself when she’s kissing you she just clings onto you like a magnet (or a Koala Doodle, which is yet another one of her nicknames!) kissing and kissing away.

LuLOVE LuLU did what she had to do to create a new life for herself — not letting a roof, barricade or ANY obstacle get in her way of finding love, happiness — and gourmet dog treats!

LuLU Mensa Doodle made some very calculated decisions in order to start her life anew.

Just like LuLU, YOU are the author of your own story. And you can be just as pro-active as Lu is in order to write — and live — the story of your dreams. No matter what your past, no matter what your age and no matter what adversities you may have faced.

So what story do you want your business to tell? And what steps are you going to take to follow in LuLU’s paw prints to make that story a reality?

2. Be Authentic!

As long as you’re genuine as you go about rebranding yourself or your business — and as long as you tell good stories along the way! — your audience will happily go on your rebranding journey with you.

KOTAW’s social media audience had no trouble adjusting to “Lucy” becoming LuLu. No one asked why the name change or asked if LuLu was a different dog than Lucy.

And I’m sure LuLU (with an extra “OOOOH”) will have no trouble getting our loyal KOTAW followers to capitalize the “U” at the end of her name when they refer to her! (She always counts on being very Poodle Popular — and how could anyone resist the adorableness of the Poodle Doodle-way she likes her name inflected?!)

There’s no reason not to believe that Lucy would often growl at my mom and sister and me if we tried to pick her up when she didn’t feel like being picked up. Or that LuLU will let us cuddle her as closely and tightly as a stuffed animal — all night long! — whenever we need comfort. The two are not mutually exclusive, nor are they separate brands.

People grow. Businesses evolve. A “rebranding” sounds technical and complicated, but it’s really just being aware of who you are right now and what your story is. If you keep telling your story and refining it as your brand goes through changes, your audience will keep up.

Because if you have a rapt audience paying attention to your brand story — your social media posts, blogs and visuals— your audience actually becomes part of your story.

People write to the KOTAW Girl Gang all the time to say how involved they feel in our lives.

So much so that they want to join us on our adventures at doggie beach and bake cookies and butter tarts with us. They especially want to wiggle with our Pit Bull Brand Ambassador Ivy and tap dance with our Poodle Doodle LuLU!

3. Be Loyal (To Those Who Deserve It!)

LuLU with a capital L-U is loyal with a capital L-O-Y-A-L!

Every so often on our nighttime dog walks, Kelsey will decide to pick up takeout from a restaurant along the way.

While Kelsey’s in the restaurant, I’ve tried walking Ivy and LuLU back and forth on the block of the restaurant — so Kelsey will easily be able to spot us when she gets out and so the pups can continue their walk — and I’ve also tried walking our regular route back towards our home, so Kelsey can just catch up with us when she’s gotten her food.

LuLU rejects both of those choices. She absolutely REFUSES to continue on without Kelsey.

She has dug her claws into the cement in the middle of crossing a street, refusing to budge even as a car is coming (forcing me to pick her up and run across the street with her in my arms and Ivy on her leash!)

She has begrudgingly continued walking with me, Ivy happily leading the way, then without warning PULLED with all her might in the opposite direction, dragging both Ivy and me back to the restaurant so we’d be right outside waiting when Kelsey came out.

If that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is.

When rebranding your personal or corporate image, maintain LuLU’s level of loyalty to all your customers, clients and supporters. If you’re as loyal to your audience as LuLU is to Kelsey (and the rest of the KOTAW Girl Gang!) your audience will continue to support you during your rebrand. And that’s what you want — brand loyalty. Or zombie loyalists, as marketing and PR expert Peter Shankman calls fans who are so in love with your brand they’ll do your marketing for you!

On a side note, LuLU is so loyal to my family that for months after her previous owners moved away, she vehemently opposed walking in the direction of her old house.

It was only after she could smell that new owners had moved in that she finally allowed us to walk that way again.

I also like to think that she finally knew we would never take her back there because she could feel in her heart how loyal we are to her. And that she knows with certainty that she is our Forever and EVER Poodle Doodle!

If Your Brand Isn’t Unbreakable, Rebrand!

Make your brand Poodle Unbreakable! Because Poodles, like females, are strong as hell.

If it takes a rebrand to accomplish “unbreakable” status for your brand, then so be it!

Your brand can survive a smart rebrand. What it can not survive is being boring, outdated or impersonal (three things, by the way, which Lucy-Lulu-LuLU, Mensa Poodle, Mensa Doodle, LuLove, Koala Doodle or even LuLamb — yet another affectionate nickname — has never, ever been!)


So tell me, has your personal or corporate brand ever undergone a rebrand? What was the compelling force inspiring you to rebrand?

I’d love to hear your rebranding story and any advice (or cautionary tales!) you’d like to share with KOTAW readers! (Psssst! You can read OUR rebranding story here!)

Looking to rebrand your company but not sure where to begin? Ask any and all questions below! Or feel free to contact the KOTAW Girl Gang privately.

PS: As I’ve mentioned, LuLU thrives on being Poodle Popular! So if you’ve found her Poodle Unbreakable blog helpful, please share her rebranding story on your favorite social platform!

Comments

  1. Monika says:

    What a lovely story and lessons…..Bri….
    I think I need some re branding, I tried to tell a story just yesterday on FB, but not sure if that will work.
    Just not very good at it. This blog is “maaaavelous”….
    (((((hugs))))) xx Monika

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      It’s so nice to see you here again, Monika, and thrilled that Bri’s wonderful piece on Unbreakable Branding brought you back. I loved the story you told on FB about how your wartime experiences shaped your interest in mosaics. Even though I’d heard the story before — and this is the beauty of storytelling — I smiled to reread it.

      And as Bri (and LuLU) point out, your audience will adapt to changes in your brand as long as your story is compelling. Life — and branding — is full of plot twists. Keep letting your audience see the artist behind the mosaics, and your audience will follow you with baited breath (and open pocketbooks) to get the next installment.

  2. Bri Prooker says:

    Hi Monika,

    Thank you SO MUCH for this incredibly kind comment. It made me smile and warmed my heart to see that you had read my blog and taken the time to say such nice things!

    I read your story on Facebook yesterday and loved it. If you could share a story to go along with each and every piece of art you make, I’m sure you would build up an even bigger audience. Because the reason you fell in love with mosaics — as a child trying to put together broken china plates you found in the dirt in the aftermath of WWII, and your memories of your dad helping you put them back together with flour and water — is truly a powerful story.

    People connect with stories. I will always remember why you fell in love with mosaics, for instance — and if I hadn’t seen that story to go along with your mosaic creations, I probably would have smiled to see your post and then forgotten it. Not because your mosaics aren’t beautiful — simply because there are so many pretty things in my social feed. But because you told a story to go along with your post, I will never forget it.

    Your story connected with me on an emotional level and if you’re thinking about a rebrand, I would continue telling your stories. Because I would love to keep reading them!!!

    Thank you again for reading MY stories about my sweet Poodle Doodle LuLU! She has a lot of lessons to teach us all. :)

    Sending big hugs to you and lots of gratitude. I’m so thankful to have met you through my mom. You’re such a beautiful and thoughtful person.

    xx, Bri

  3. Dearest Bri

    Move over, Ivy. I think I am going to cuddle with LuLU for a while ;)

    What a charming tale of a charming dog, dearie #HUGSSSS I could envision you grinning as you wrote and published another fun, funny, and fabulous blog post <3

    The roof story makes me laugh – every time. What an endearing weirdo <3

    Dearest DESTINY child – I can't wait to get licked by you for a half hour straight. #HUGSSS PLEASE teach my cantankerous pup, Oreo, how to lick and cuddle with his Mama ;)

    LOVE YOU, BRI (SO MUCHHHHHH #HUGS)
    Kitto

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Thank you so much for showering Bri (and LuLU) with love!

      I’m delighted to see Bri’s witty, insightful prose on the KOTAW blog, packed with valuable advice such as this:

      “People grow. Businesses evolve. A ‘rebranding’ sounds technical and complicated, but it’s really just being aware of who you are right now and what your story is. If you keep telling your story and refining it as your brand goes through changes, your audience will keep up.”

      Keep telling YOUR story, Kitto, and take all of us along on your compelling journey.

      xoxox

      Katherine

    • Bri Prooker says:

      Dear Kit,

      Thank you so much for reading my latest blog for KOTAW — and for contributing to LuLU feeling extra Poodle Popular with all your shares! I truly appreciate your support and kindness.

      Lots of love to you from Ivy Pie, LuLOVE, sweet Doosis and me!

      xoxox

      Bri

  4. As you know I love this post! I love your rebranding tips and LuLU’s lovely rebranding journey, but I have to say a big THANK YOU for introducing me to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! I finally took a break this weekend and logged into Netflix and saw the first two episodes. It’s now one of my favorite shows! It took a lot of control not to watch all of the episodes. I’m going to treat myself with episodes. I can’t wait to see them all. xoxoxo

    • Bri Prooker says:

      Hi Elizabeth!

      Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment for me on my blog — even after you already left such kind words about my blog on Facebook! I’m so grateful and it really means so much to me.

      Also, it makes me SO HAPPY that I inspired you to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and that it’s now one of your favorite shows!! I’ve probably got the theme song stuck in your head forever now too but the hilariousness of the theme song opening and the KOTAWesomeness of the episodes makes it worth it! Especially if you sing the “Unbreakable Poodle” version in your head like I do to mix it up! :) “‘Cause POODLEs are strong as hell and UNBREAKABLE!” :)

      Make sure to treat yourself often so you can keep watching the episodes! I love that you’re savoring them though — makes the wait for when season 2 premieres in April not so long!

      Love that Kimmy Schmidt is now just another thing we have in common! One day I definitely want to join in on your pact with my mom to order Happy Meals wearing Eliza Doolittle hats! xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Awwwwwww, Elizabeth, I’m thrilled (but not surprised) that you LuLoved Bri’s poodle-perfect rebranding tips!

      It’s a bonus that you’ve learned to love Kimmy Schmidt, too!

      It’s quirky, just like the #KOTAWGirlGang, and it’s unbreakable message is one we wholeheartedly subscribe to.

      I can’t wait until April, when we can chat about the new season. :)

  5. […] 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 […]

  6. […] instance, It was scary and depressing when I was physically unable to walk Ivy and LuLU two summers ago. But now I can, and we regularly go on one to two mile walks together, which brings […]

  7. K. Lamb says:

    I loved hearing LuLU’s story! Animals know where they belong and have an innate sense of where “home” lies. LuLU obviously knew it was within the walls of YOUR home with three “strong as hell” women.

    I enjoyed reading the advice on branding/rebranding. Great tips as always. One cannot remain stagnant in an ever-changing world if they are not being properly represented.

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Isn’t LuLU’s story fantastic? I admire her determination — and fearlessness — when it came to getting what she wanted.

      I learn so much from animals — I believe they rescue me as much as I rescue them. And they are wise about the art of adapting (or rebranding). They trust their instincts, which never fail them.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Your words always give me a lift.

      xo

      Katherine

    • Bri Prooker says:

      Thank you so much, Kristen, for reading LuLU’s story. I wrote this right from the heart. I’m so very grateful LuLU chose our home as her forever home (just as both Ivy AND Doosis did — individually!) I learn so much from my sweet Mensa Poodle every day and will never get over how strong her will and determination is. She inspires me more than words can say. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and making me smile with your kind words. xox

  8. […] Stand Up For Pits Foundation. Yes, the KOTAW Girl Gang uses this app on all our walks with Ivy and LuLU and the app tracks each walk we take, then donates to the Stand Up For Pits […]

  9. […] PS: Lucy has rebranded… Learn why she is now LuLU –and get her Mensa Poodle tips on how YOU can rebrand! — here. […]

  10. […] love for Ivy and her “type” and on behalf of our other rescues (and KOTAW Girl Gang members!) LuLU and […]

  11. […] of the furry members of the KOTAW Girl Gang — Ivy, KOTAW’s Pit Bull Brand Ambassador; LuLU, our Poodle Doodle-marsupial hybrid and Doosis, our magical kitten-cat fairy… mixed in, of course, with exciting writing and updates […]

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