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Fearlessly Fabulous Brands Win

November 14, 2009

Strong brands win big.  On Thursday night one of my brand creations won a Pillar Community Innovation Award. The Fairy Godmother Project won and won big. In 2003, I helped launch Diann Vail’s great initiative to give women who wanted to make a difference a way to get off their assets. The story of this win is the story of a great brand.

It all started with the lovely brrrring of my Disney Fairy Princess magic wand and Diann’s hundred dollar cheques.  Five women attending Diann’s women’s conference took the challenge  to find co-sponsors, resources and people to launch their own community projects. They came back and told their tales with tears and laughter. A tradition was born. From that point on conference attendees were invited to contribute project funds. The amount was divided into $100 increments and new Fairy Godmothers took flight. Six years, 99 Fairy Godmothers and almost  $200,000 worth of projects later we have a winner – an authentic winner, an inspiring winner in a time of despair.

I have often been the voice of the Fairy Godmother, a responsibility I took seriously with a really light heart. I saw the Fairy Godmother project as the opposite of terrorism. Each project was love in action. We have enough knowledge, food and medicine to cure all the ills of the world; what we don’t have enough of is love. What we forget is to harness joy.

Thanks to Diann and the generosity of the Women’s Conference participants, Fairy Godmother Projects have been launched here and around the world: suicide prevention projects, anti-bullying initiatives, educational materials for schools in South America, a computer for a disabled Paramedic here in London.  Thousands of can openers for the foodbank, a trip to a hockey game and the hockey hall of fame for a young boy with cancer and hundreds of backpacks stuffed with school supplies for kids who understand recession all too well. Funds were raised for Africa’s Go Go Grannies who are raising their children’s children because moms and dads were killed by AIDS (some might say killed by the west’s indifference). Every project was done with joy because that was and always will be the essence of the brand.

I am delighted that the Fairy Godmother Project was recognized. After a year and a half working on the project I mind mapped the concept on a scrap of paper to generate a better brand (a free trial software program for mindmapping is at www.mindjet.com). The ridiculously smile inducing twinkly sound of optimistic fairy bells was everything. The magic wand was the brand’s DNA.  From there I mapped out ideas until the Fairy Godmother arrived.  Then the brand exploded.

Bring on the sequins, a tiara, sparkly shoes, wings and of course a huge puffy, 1980s Pepto-Bismol ball gown (Thank you Garber’s Bridal Wear. We were all surprised (not) that no one had bought the pink wedding dress with a white bow the size of a Cadillac parked on top of my very gluteus maximus ). Eight-year-old girls thought I was the prettiest lady in the world. I love eight-year old girls.  The attendees at Diann Vail’s conference laughed to the point of needing mini pads. The image of a grown woman dressed as a Fairy Godmother made for great media and print coverage. And I acted the part. My KPI (key performance indicator) goal was to generate a laugh a minute. It wasn’t hard. The project made news because joy is so rare.

We’ve taken saving the world far too seriously and no one wants to play. The Fairy Godmother Project is a playful brand, that gives an experience of joy. Joy gives people hope against despair.  Being over the top and dressed in a pink ball gown and tiny fairy wings brings on giggles and guffaws. Laughter opens hearts and wallets faster than statistics and seriousness.  Having been and coached numerous Fairy Godmothers, I know from my tiara to my pink sequined slippers how little it takes to make a big difference. Congratulations to Diann Vail and all of us who have been and continue to be Fairy Godmothers.

Senior Fairy Godmother, Louise Karch

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Louise B. Karch