Clueless is my favorite movie and I don’t feel bad about it

Clueless is a timeless classic. Cher, the main character 90210 beauty that everyone wishes they were, is one of my favorite movie personas ever. What I learned last night made me love her, and the movie, even more.

Clueless is an adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Last night, shortly after midnight, when I was exploring my bookshelf for something to occupy my sleepless mind, I stumbled across a gift my mom bought me last year for Christmas. It’s the smallest ever summary of all of Jane Austen’s books. This is a nice complement to the present my sister bought me a few years back, the complete extensive anthology of all of Jane Austen’s books. I read a grand total of one of her stories before real college classes set in and I lost anything that even closely resembled free time. I’ve always wanted to continue exploring the detailed lives of the characters Jane created, but honestly those books require a lot of commitment, and I don’t have the time to devote to her right now. Sorry Jane it’s not you it’s me.

To veer back towards my main point, after reading through the tiny summary, I discovered that Clueless was actually an adaption of Emma, Jane’s 1816 classic. This took away any shame that I had previously felt by my peers (those “intellectual,” clearly superior women that like movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca), who scoff and politely laugh when I proudly announce my favorite movie. Now when I reveal my fave movie in public, I can back it up by explaining the themes and characters that have translated so beautifully through time, from 19th century England to the 1990s in Beverly Hills. It’s like art.

Honestly, as dumb as Cher can come off as in this movie, my biggest takeaway has always been how happy she is. And yeah sure, the gigantic mansion and closet full of designer clothes is nothing  to be sad about, but she’s happy about other things. She’s happy to help an outsider fit in. She’s happy to help two people find love. She’s happy to give back to those less fortunate. And while she does it in her own, slightly airheady way, she knows exactly who she is and what’s important in her life. So I’ll continue to admire her generosity, work ethic, positivity, and ongoing effort to better herself and the world around her. If you’ve seen the movie and overlooked these character traits, watch it again without thinking of the gender roles it’s offending, or the underlying messages about social classes in the U.S., and look instead at the character traits of Cher friggin’ Horowitz, the coolest Emma to ever exist.

Future Plans

If one more person asks me about my future plans I will die. Or politely respond that I’m still unsure. Probably the second option but that fake smile that says “thanks so much for asking” is getting harder to and harder to create.

Here are our options (and I say our because I could use your input honestly):

Agency Life:

I could go work in a marketing/advertising agency. Here the long hours and uncertainty are countered by the exciting variety and fun work atmosphere (if I find the right place). I’ve heard both good and bad about agencies, so this is kind of up in the air. I think I would like the flexibility but hate the lack of free time.

Corporate Zombie:

I could go corporate. Wait every two years to get promoted. Map out my next 40 years and watch it all fly by me. Work the same workday every day. If I find the right corporation I know this wouldn’t be the case, but it still terrifies me. When I was considering the fast track at Target, I hated how everything was so set in stone. In 18 months you’ll become this and then in another 18 months you will die of boredom probably. I need some excitement. A fun atmosphere that encourages creativity and new ideas. If I did go corporate, I’m wondering what I’d even do. I enjoyed working in New Product Development last summer, so maybe I would choose this over straight up marketing. But who knows.

Teach Abroad:

The Teach in China program is looking more and more attractive every day. Travel, new things, excitement – those all seem like huge plusses to me. However, it is on the opposite side of the world, and it is a huge commitment. Although in the long scheme of things I know a year is nothing, I still worry about how this program might set me off-track. I’ll come back to the U.S. being one year behind all of my peers. I’m also worried that a lot of people view these teaching abroad programs as a way to put off making real decisions. Which yes. But I don’t want that to reflect negatively on me. I’ve also looked into teaching down in South America, returning to the countries that excite me and challenge me. That would be almost familiar, but still enough of a difference that I know I would enjoy my time.

Work Abroad:

I want to work in Buenos Aires. That is the beginning end and middle of my plans for next year. I would also accept anywhere in Spain or maybe even London. However, I’m not quite sure how to make that happen. I’ll be 22, fresh-faced, and often youth is not necessarily seen as a plus abroad. I want this experience before I go to get my MBA, and before I settle down and trick a boy into marrying me. But how to make it happen is the difficult part. And how to continue working on my Spanish when I’ve run out of eligible classes here at Drake is also troubling.

What do you think? While I still have zero ties, I want to get out of the US and explore the world. So obviously the second two options are of biggest interest to me. But how do I even get there is my biggest question. Next year is confusing but I know next semester I will be able to figure it all out… somehow it will all come together I think.

Flight Risk

If you ask anyone in my family where I’ll be next year, they will be just as clueless as I currently am. However, with 100% certainty they will tell you I will not be in Iowa. I love to travel and explore, whether domestically or internationally. And I have been blessed with the money management skills to be able to adventure every once and a while.

My experiences domestically have shown me just how different people, attitudes, environments, and behaviors are just in this one country. Last year I visited the U of A in Arizona and got to experience the beauty of the great (Southwest) outdoors. Here in Des Moines, you have to make a serious effort to spend time outdoors, and hiking isn’t really a viable option. It’s not just geographical placement, however. Chicago, in Iowa’s neighboring state, is starkly different than my home town. They have been able to keep some of the classic midwest “niceness,” but in a more business oriented, city slicker type of way.


Internationally, I don’t have as much experience as I wish I did. The experiences I have had, though, have shown me just how much the world has to offer. There is so much to learn, so many stories to hear (& to create), and so much life to be lived outside of the U.S. Beyond that, I have also learned that just because I was born in the U.S. doesn’t mean this is the country I will be happiest in. Denmark is named the happiest country in the world – maybe I should explore that a bit. The week I spent in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was one of the most blissful of my life – I wouldn’t mind at all going back there (and am actively seeking job opportunities for caucasian Americans with some Spanish proficiency and great English skills).

Overall, I know that travel opens doors and minds. Many people get stressed out during travel. But I am the most happy when I am on the road, or in the air, or stepping over cobblestones searching out the perfect cafe. This is how I know I won’t be settling down anytime soon.

My trip to Spain this Spring is looming and I’m anxiously excited. My plan was to fly into Paris, swing my Germany, and then head down to Salamanca for my three week Spanish course. With the recent events in Paris, however, I’m not sure I want that to stay the plan. I usually shrug off my mother’s travel advice, because she is a natural worrier and I naturally think of adventure as my first priority and personal safety as my last. However, what happened in Paris on Friday was not a silly riot that I could avoid by staying out of the bad side of town, or a one time unfortunate event. It was an attack on Paris, and an attack on each and every Parisian’s feeling of personal security. While I hope to visit the city of love someday, I’m not sure the environment I would be entering would be one of love, but rather one of paranoia, fear, and nerves. So I’m going to take my mother’s advice (we are all surprised but please try to stay calm) and attempt to switch my flight. Paris will be there in a few years, and hopefully that means we will be a few years closer to the extinction of terrorism.

Paris aside, I cannot wait to add a few stamps to my passport. Europe has so much history and art and beauty to offer, and I am fully ready to soak it all in. Where will you travel next?

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Garment Industry

As part of my personal branding blogs I’m keeping you up to date on a few of my classes. Marketing is fun because it comes easy(ish). I.S. is boring because computers/the inner workings of e-commerce do not interest me. Globalization is perfect in every way – how lucky am I to go to a school where I actually learn new things daily and have fun doing just that.

Finance though. What finance professor has their students write a 20 page paper (SINGLE-SPACED, 1 INCH MARGINS, 11 POINT FONT). Like if it was an English paper maybe. Even like psych class, maybe you’d expect that. But finance?

However, my paper is on Corporate Social Responsibility, which I chose after seeing the crazy videos our professor showed us at the beginning of the year (see my blog on Heavy Topics for my reaction to those). As an International Business major, I find it incredibly interesting to look at supply chain management, cultural differences, and CSR practices in multinational enterprises. As a Marketing major, I have seen the incredible importance of the positioning of your product or brand in your consumer’s mind, and the impact positive CSR practices can have on your public image. So basically I’m saying these two majors coincide perfectly to make this subject extra interesting to me, along with my unique combo of a capitalist drive and compassionate heart.

The articles I’ve read so far basically look at CSR implementation and the best ways to make that happen. It also looks at supply chains and how subcontractors often get the worst of these human rights violations because they can’t take advantage of these companies’ CSR initiatives. But why even bother with CSR? Gap has been caught again and again with human rights violations that they claimed to never even know about, and people still empty their pockets to buy a pair of boot cuts.

CSR is important for multiple reasons. On the capitalistic side – CSR is good for business. Responsible brands are trusted more, they’re respected for going the “extra mile” to ensure responsibly sourced clothing (or whatever). On the human rights side – CSR should be so duh. Labor laws exist in the U.S. for a reason. U.S. companies go abroad for the cheaper labor opportunities, but immediately ignore the laws they and their ancestors fought so hard to gain here. From this perspective, CSR is not the extra mile, but rather the minimum amount of care you’re required to offer up to qualify yourself as a decent human being (or corporation in this case).

So whether you’re a brand manager, a CEO, a laborer in Bangladesh, or a decent human being — CSR affects you. Pay attention to this. Because you know that some companies do not responsibly source, but you can never actually know the pain that the person who stitched your short sleeved button down (throw it away anyways) may have had to go to so that you can be clothed today. And if you hear that and think “man I better not buy anything from these irresponsible companies” but you don’t put any research into it, then you will continue to buy from them.

Hope this all makes sense and maybe makes you feel guilty. My term paper is about how to successfully implement these CSR practices worldwide, but this blog post is a little bit about how to successfully spread the word so that you stop buying things that an 11 year old boy wasted his childhood making for you.

How to be the right kind of girl. This post involves boys and rules.

Always go after what you want, but make sure it’s actually an attainable goal, sweetie. 

Always go after what you want, but make sure you play hard to get.

Play hard to get, but show some interest or else how will he know you’re interested.

Stand up for what you believe in, but don’t be a b*tch about it. 

Dress to impress, but don’t show too much skin, but also show enough skin to get noticed, but don’t forget to respect yourself as a human being.

Be yourself – boys like when you look natural, so make sure you put on enough make-up to really perfect that natural look. 

Be yourself – be your silly fun outspoken self, but also be coy, laugh at his jokes even when they’re not funny, don’t correct him when he’s wrong. 

Be independent and powerful and strong, but when dealing with boys, play dumb, because they don’t exactly like to be shown up by a girl.

Don’t be fake, but be nice to everyone even if they suck.

Don’t be fake, but wear synthetic eyelashes, get acrylics, dye your hair, tan your skin, and plastic surgery is never out of the question.

Do well in school, even though no matter what you’ll make less than the boy who copies off of your work for 4 years.

Reach for the stars, but if you fall it’s okay to cry because that’s really expected of you, girls do tend to let their emotions get the best of them from time to time. 

Be happy with who you are, but read this magazine to find out ten ways to get your dream body. 

Be happy with who you are, but why can’t you look like her?

Why not text him first – this is the 21st century after all, but make sure to maintain a little mystery, you have to play the game you know, boys don’t want what they don’t have to chase. 

Wait for the right boy, but when a woman reaches a certain age, darling, it’s probably time to suck it up and settle down. 

I’m writing this because I am fed up with all the rules and regulations of being a 21 year old girl in the 21st century. It’s really no wonder I walk around with this confused and angry look plastered onto my face, because I honestly don’t know how society wants me to act anymore. Don’t be too forward or too timid, don’t be too bossy but don’t let yourself be bossed, have an opinion but keep it to yourself, make yourself look presentable but don’t try too hard, don’t text him first but hey there’s no rulebook just text him first. It’s impossible to keep up with. And how do I succeed at this stupid game if I can’t figure out the damn rules, or if people keep denying there are rules. If I cut out the other players, maybe I can change the game. But something tells me that other 50% of the population can’t exactly be cut out.

So instead, I’m going to have to just make my own rules. Honestly, I’m tired of figuring everything out as I go, which is how most of my blog posts end (with me promising to keep working, to figure my life out, to sort out my mess of feelings and thoughts). I really know exactly who I am, where I want to go, what I want my life to be like. So this time, they (society, boys, my friends) can figure it out as I go.

4 Lessons Learned from Working Abroad

Let me tell you a little bit about my summer internship in Santiago, Chile. I worked in new product development at Principal Financial, and learned a few key things about working abroad and about myself.

  1. Chileans take their time. I found that out on my first day, when I waited in the lobby for 2 hours before someone came to show me to my cubicle. This lesson continued to cement itself into my brain when they gave me 3 full days to learn about the products and offerings of Principal Chile, and were confused to find me sitting bored in my cubicle after the first day. This big difference in culture led to a lot of downtime for me. I’d go so hard and so fast, as has been engrained into my work ethic, and then have full days where there was nothing for me to do, as they had allotted much more time for me to complete these various tasks. However, this was also their very first U.S. college intern, so I’m sure they didn’t know exactly what to expect and they handled me very well under those circumstances. In general though, everything in Chile is a little more laid back. Even as you see people run for the busses (because they are already late) and lean into their desk for 3 hours (because they maybe missed their first deadline), trust me they are laid back.
  2. In Spanish, I’m an introvert. This summer I spent most lunches alone. If you know me, or if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, then you know I love to talk. Sure sometimes I like to chill by myself (for instance right now I’m enjoying the spot on music selection at Ingersoll’s Caribou Coffee all by myself and I’m happy about that). But for the most part, I like to be with people. I had to adjust that a bit this summer, because I didn’t know Spanish well enough to understand what everyone was saying, or to communicate my own thoughts even. No one wants to sit with the confused looking gringa for an entire lunch period. Which was hard for me because I am rarely the quiet one at the table. I handled it though. If anything, that experience just pushed me harder to learn this new language.
  3. The whole world does not know English. My bosses all did. And they let me even present my second project’s findings to them in English. But their first language is Spanish. So it kind of sucks for them to always have to cater to HQ’s unilingual staff, and I hated making them switch to English for me, too. I didn’t hate it enough to ask them to stop though- I cannot tell you how much it saved me that my direct supervisor liked to practice his English with me. If you’ve ever been to a foreign country where you can’t understand the language (as much Spanish as I know, I’ll always be grasping at straws trying to master Chilean Spanish), then you understand how encouraging it is to find someone that will speak your language with you. The overarching theme of this bullet point is that it is important to learn another language. Which is why I’m going to Spain for a class in January, and why I’m taking Spanish Film next semester.
  4. Work office hierarchy was real. This part was weird for me. I know the U.S. has some degree of power distance, but I have always firmly ignored that. As a rule almost. I’ve made friends with my teachers and school administrators since elementary school. At the university level, I feel completely comfortable going to a professor’s office just to chat and catch up, probably cracking a few jokes that Chileans may not deem appropriate for one’s superiors. Even at my previous jobs, I’ve always felt comfortable approaching my bosses with new ideas, completed work, questions, etc. Here, however, it was always a wait. I’d ask my boss who would wait a few days to ask his boss who would have to send an email to her boss. If someone would’ve just given me the top guy’s phone number though I could’ve taken care of it in like 2 minutes. Not in Chile though. They keep strict boundaries in the office. However, outside of the office everyone seemed to be friends, although the lines were still lightly drawn. This is true everywhere in Chile (the class divide is much more apparent than I had thought prior to my summer there), but was especially interesting for me to experience within the office setting.

This experience also taught me that, while I did have some lonely lunches, I am stronger than I always give myself credit for. I’m great at being alone, which I would not have figured out if I had stayed at home with all of my friends and family for the summer. I choose not to be alone generally, but at least I know I can do it.

I would love to have the chance to work abroad again. Maybe not in Chile, but in a new setting, with new challenges and new adventures and places to explore. I think this incredible opportunity really showed me more of what I want from life, which is to always be learning, climbing obstacles, and making relationships.

can you post a blog without a title I wonder? (no)

A short excerpt from this weekend:

me: kim do you think we would be friends if we weren’t sisters?

kim: no

me: oh

kim: why, do you think we would?

me: oh absolutely not, I was just expecting a little more hesitation I think

Kimberly Askren is my sister (blood not KKG). She is a 25 year old pharmacist, wife, and mother of 0 (and don’t you dare ask her when/if she’s having children because it is not your business). She is strong, motivated, clear-headed, fairly quiet, independent, and driven. When I tell older pharmacy students that she is my sister, they tilt their heads in an attempt to grasp not our facial resemblance, because that’s there, but rather the resemblance of our personalities. This part of us is different, and kind of the same, and here is how:

Kim walks past a pile of leaves and steps on them because she likes to hear the crunch and is secretly still a child.

I walk past a pile of leaves and immediately plan the giant leaf pile that I am going to make with my friends when I get back home in order to both relive my childhood and also kill 2 hours while I procrastinate doing real work.

That is just one example but shows a few key differences and similarities. We both like to have fun. But my idea of fun is a little louder and larger, while Kim is a little more laid back in that area. She can quietly crunch her leaves and smile to herself and be happy with that. I’ve always been the sister than needs something a little more (yes we do have another sister and I may analyze her at some point this semester as well). Kim is an introvert, I am an extrovert. Kim is also more focused than I am. We are both successful and smart (although her ACT score beat mine by 1 point and I will never forgive her for that), but Kim has always known exactly who she was and what she wanted to do. For me, if you maybe couldn’t tell, I kind of wander around life, admiring the pretty things around me and hoping my life’s purpose will eventually fall out of the sky, into my lap. We are lucky to have been born from the same womb because, as different as we are, we’re good for each other.

My fall break adventure wasn’t just spent in Lacrosse though. I first went to Milwaukee to visit a dear friend of mine. She goes by Cooper and loves chicken fingers. I wanted to visit Milwaukee to see if maybe that was the type of city where I could see myself living. It was. The downtown, the suburbs, the tiny communities that popped up randomly, the lake, the universities. I loved it. Cooper’s mom suggested I look at Kohl’s for a possible job. I told her I had also worked retail and was aiming a bit higher. She meant corporate Kohl’s though and then I felt dumb. Apparently, they’re supposed to have an awesome work environment for millennials. So I think I’m going to look into it. I just keep picturing myself next fall, my old Northface vest and my new Badgers sweatshirt (which is a requirement if you’re going to live in Wisco I think), reading a book on a bench by the beach (<<<poetry). The beach and chilly weather remind me of Chile. And I was so happy in Viña del Mar. I think it could be my place.

But how is anyone supposed to make this decision at this stage of life. Sure, if I choose MKE and hate it, I can move. But how many people actually do that.

As well as exploring two new cities, I was also able to spend a whopping 14 hours in the car with nothing but my radio and my Spanish speaking Siri to listen to. And I loved it. I like being alone with my thoughts and belting every song that comes on and feeling the wind and seeing the fall colors and speeding down the open road (just a little bit, because I like to beat Siri’s predicted arrival time). What if maybe I should just take some time and travel. See the country. Rent some books on tape and just go. I don’t know. I’ll figure it out.

this is not on my editorial calendar

The hard thing about allowing a class to take over your personal blog is that it somehow becomes less personal. And, if I can use the word personal about 8 more times here, if I’m trying to represent myself and my personal brand honestly, I don’t need to be professional and write about industry related topics in every post. I mean that’s almost impersonal. So in this short post I’ll present to you a little more of my personality.

Men are the worst: this has always been true and always will be true. This statement excludes all of my male family members because they are bomb, but includes every male my age that has ever spoken any type of words to me. After talking with one of my only takeaway friends from my time abroad about her bitterness – towards men, towards society, towards her “rotting heart” (she’s literally the most genuine//generous woman I know so that is actually a joke) – we decided men are the root of our unhappiness. We reminisced back to a time when we were independent and powerful and in control. And now senior year has arrived, and I’m dreading our family Christmas where I once again have to report back that no, Uncle Rog, I am not seeing anyone and yes, Grandma, I know I’m getting to be that age. That age where all of my female family members were already married by, including both of my happily married sisters whose husbands I adore. But this message of urgency is outweighed in my mind by the message I used to hear from them – that you should never ever settle for less than what you deserve. Not that I deserve a prince or anything (although if you know any…), but if I haven’t found what I’m looking for then I am not just going to shrug my shoulders and grab the nearest manchild who looks my way.

That’s my rant about boys. But it’s strange because, contrary to popular belief, women can b*tch about men and still care about changing the world. Yesterday was Columbus Day. Which go ahead and watch this video if you’re unsure of the controversy that surrounds this holiday (it’s risqué at parts, fair warning, the message is there though):

Columbus Day is a terrible holiday. Yes, it’s the reason that many of us are here in the US, as he kind of opened the European floodgates to the Americas. But I’m sorry I just can’t get on board with celebrating a man that slaughtered entire groups of people for the benefit of himself and his sponsor nation. I read an article yesterday though that made me so happy though, which is about Minneapolis rebranding Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day. This is so perfect. We celebrate so many cultures in the U.S. and the indigenous, from my perspective, always seem to be the ones to get left out. It’s even better that they’re creating this day in place of a holiday that celebrated the eradication of their culture, something that just makes you think “well yeah, finally, why were not doing this before.” I’m not sure the rest of the country’s stance on this but I hope that this positive change continues to spread.

Back to personal though: this weekend is Drake’s fall break. I get to go explore a little bit of Milwaukee with one of my best friends, and then visit my sister in Lacrosse. Lacrosse I have been to, and no offense Kimberly, could not really see myself living there. However, I’ve heard awesome things about Milwaukee, and while I’m trying to figure out where to live after graduation, I think this visit will be so cool for me. And I get to met Nappie. napi

That’s it. Sorry Professor Fleming that this was a bit off topic but sometimes you just need to vent and everyone needed to know about Columbus Day and Nappie.

I am also considering a live feed of all the boy-related questions I receive at the Wheeler Family Christmas so look out for that in a few months – I’d love for everyone to follow along and commiserate with me. TY, xoxo.

Classy Gal

Taking 18 credits is terrible. Everyone will tell you it’s manageable which like, I mean I haven’t passed out from exhaustion or anything (yet), but it’s definitely not a fun time. However, taking 18 credits of classes you’re interested in makes it a little more bearable.

International Finance is one class that I was not looking forward to taking, but now I actually really don’t mind it. Exchange rates still confuse me like a lot, but it’s getting easier and it doesn’t seem as hard as everyone made it out to be. It also helps that I’m taking Globalization and Global Marketing at the same time. They all kind of overlap – for instance, we covered exchange rate systems in all three classes within the same two week span. So when I had 4 tests in one week, it helped that these three kind of matched up. Globalization is probably my favorite class right now. Professor Kappen has been some sort of advisor to me for the past three years, and it’s fun having a real class with him. The subject matter is always interesting, although I’m learning more about politics than I had really expected. Politics is too much like history and therefore not a subject I’m interested in. Global Marketing is actually a harder class than I had previously thought, mostly because the test we just had covered some super obscure facts and figures that I had not reviewed, and our professor finds some strange joy in not giving any As on his exams. However, he’s a real fun time in class, and makes most 8 am days start out nice and chill with a few laughs.

Consumer Behavior is a sweet class. As a marketer, this is a pretty crucial topic – you have to know how your consumer behaves, thinks, and makes choices. There are so many different factors that go into it (like personality, motivation, etc.). Luckily I’m in this class with some fun ladies and the best professor I’ve ever had (Edrington). She covers everything so, like, succinctly. I’m not sure if that’s the right word but I just really like the way she lays everything out so simply. She makes sure you understand with relatable examples and group exercises and the material is stuff I know I’ll use later on. I’ll be sad after this semester when I don’t have any more classes with her.

Then there’s E-Commerce. I don’t actually enjoy this class that much. Maybe because it’s at 3:30 (when I should be napping) or because the power points are black and white and the topics covered really aren’t. I just get bored. Tech related subjects are not really my thing. Unless it’s about marketing tech related subjects. Like the new apple iphone commercial where “the only thing that’s changed is everything” but like actually nothing:

I hate that commercial because at the end of it I’m left wondering why on earth anyone would upgrade to a phone where the only thing that’s different is that you can preview an email. Which, like, cool I guess. Anyways E-Commerce is a required course and that’s really all I have to say about that.

Lastly there’s Internet Marketing. That’s the class that is forcing me to write blog posts again in order to communicate my personal brand to all my fans (or future employers). It’s very interesting because I get to hear how all my classmates have their lives figured out and how I’m pretty much the only one who still doesn’t have a clue. A fun weekly reminder. I really do like the class though because marketing strategy is what I’d like to go into and internet marketing is something I’ve already thought a lot about. I love social media and this class is a really cool complement to the Integrated Marketing Communications class I took last semester.

All in all I’m loving learning more about the global economy, marketing techniques, the spread of culture, social media strategy, and the foreign exchange market. So 18 credits is fine for now.

Easily Influenced

My most embarrassing flaw is how easily marketing strategies influence my purchase decisions. Even now, while I’m studying the sneaky, strategic tactics used by these clever marketers, I see the wonder mop on tv and my first thought is always “this is EXACTLY what I need.”

I’m like a marketer’s dream. If everyone were like me, marketing would be a breeze. All I need to see is one semi-unique feature, a short clip of someone similar to myself using the product, and some kind of “one time deal” offer and I’m sold.

This also makes me the most basic girl in the world. Not just because of my loyalty to As Seen on TV products, but also because the company I am the most influenced by is Starbucks. Aka the most basic place around if you ask any wannabe social media influencers. But honestly I don’t mind being wrapped around Starbucks’ corporate finger. Their Instagram account makes me happy. Their tv ads relax me. Their loyalty program excites me. So as basic as they may be, they know what they’re doing. And they know their audience.

Starbucks has always been one of my favorite companies. You know it’s real because I follow them on LinkedIn. When I worked at Target I begged to become Bux certified, and the day that came to fruition was one of the happiest in my life (pls understand the mix of sarcasm and sincerity in that sentence or stop reading this post). Their training program emphasized quality products and super customer service. Which is a great representation of their brand, and my own to an extent.

In my consumer behavior class the other day we did an analysis of Starbucks’ brand personality by personifying the company, and let me just tell you we have a lot in common. We’re both just average gals who enjoy the finer things in life. If we were an animal, we’d be one of those kind of prissy cats that still like to snuggle sometimes. If we were a color we’d be something bright and fresh. If we were in the same room you wouldn’t be able to tell us apart. Our brand personalities are pretty similar, except for the area of humility and sincerity. I strive to make those a few key factors in my brand, but Starbucks doesn’t really take that route. Bux is like the older sister you look up to, who knows her stuff, is well put together, is friendly but not overfriendly, is super popular, and who has a great corporate social responsibility strategy in place (there wasn’t a metaphorical way to say that). It makes sense then, that as the youngest of 3, Starbucks is the cool older sister I’ve always strived to be more like.

I also look up to this brand because it kind of shaped my major here at Drake. When I was abroad in Chile, one of the first things I did was try to figure out if they had a Starbucks. They did. Two. Which was encouraging after reading all about Chile’s coffee culture, or lack thereof. I frigging love coffee, and the fact that they only offered nescafe most places was heartbreaking for me. It was nice to know I’d still have a little taste of home.

While there were other US companies and restaurants present in the area, Starbucks was the one that really stuck out to me. This is because they were able to stay completely true to their brand, while making small changes that helped them better market to their Chilean audience. The store set-up was exactly the same – it was a meeting place, a study spot, a relaxing go-to. But the menu was tweaked a bit – dulce de leche lattes, Bux brand alfajores , and jamon y queso croissants. It was the perfect mix of U.S. and Chile. I sat upstairs drinking my latte, working on my group project, and staring out at the beautiful blue ocean framed by palm trees (that was seriously what my view was). As a part of my international marketing class, we had to observe marketing techniques in our new city of Viña, and analyzing Starbucks’ tactics made me realize how interested I was in marketing, especially on an international scale. I came home to Drake, added my marketing major, and never looked back.

To sum up this mess of thoughts

  • marketing campaigns interest me because they work
  • international marketing is an exciting challenge, and as a result, where I want to end up working in the future
Starbucks Chile

After I became friends with the barista this past summer – note the correct spelling of my name that, every time before this, was spelled “Mary.”