Lake Itasca, Minnesota , the source of the Mississippi

In luxury real estate marketing, creating a brand is an exercise of finding your essence as an individual or a company. It must authentically reflect your core values and what you are passionate about. Ultimately, your brand must express, explicitly what is distinct and inimitable about your identity.   Here is an example that illustrates this point.

The University of Minnesota (one of Alexandra’s alma maters) sends a quarterly journal which often features a story that illustrates life on campus.  The latest issue tells of a fine arts student who devised an ingenious program as part of her master’s thesis.  In the process she discovered her unique voice, carved out a new distinctive, uncontested niche as an artist, and thus established her personal brand. Anna Metcalfe is a passionate artist as well as an environmentalist.  She combined both of her passions in her master’s thesis and created a newsworthy story that is both heartwarming and creative.

Inspired by Mark Twain’s classic,  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on the Mississippi  River [the Mississippi also flows through Minneapolis] she enrolled 50 teenagers who had summer jobs through an organization known as the Green Team, to join her on an adventure exploring life on the Mississippi.   

When she met with the teenagers, they discussed the importance of the river and its function in their lives: watersheds, transportation, pesticides, the health of the river, and how it connects millions of lives in the United States.  She also asked them to write their own stories about the river with drawings.  These stories were silkscreened on porcelain boats that Metcalfe had molded and fired.  Some students told illustrated stories about their first boating adventure with maps of the river. Others included stories about indigenous river plants that they were growing in the Conservation Gardens.  One of the most poignant stories was about a student’s family escape across the Mekong River in Thailand contrasted with their crossing of the Mississippi River into a new land of opportunity.

The students met to launch their boats in the Mississippi.  Later, the boats were gathered and exhibited in a studio, where the teens were encouraged to regale the visitors with their stories.   Metcalfe says.  “They were excited to see their drawings turn into objects.”

For the students it was a defining moment in their lives as they may never look at the Mississippi in the same way.  For Anna Metcalfe it was a remarkable expression not only of art as a means of communication and enrichment, but also as a definition of her unique brand.

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