Origins Of a Big Tent Brand (part 1)

Jan 19

As part of my plea for your vote as finalist the Tastiest Brand awards, I thought I’d share the origins of the Circus Serene imagery and concept, as originally described back on MindTweaks, just about two years ago.  My method? A combination of metaphoring, helper-mousing, and just a touch of piracy – enjoy!

It's A Flourish!


I’m Running Off To Join The Circus!

(Pretty much as published on MindTweaks, with a few minor… erm… tweaks)

Yes, yes…  I know it’s St. Patty’s Day, not April Fools day.  And no, I didn’t get totally confused by the switch to Daylight Savings Time last weekend.   My run-away plans will all make more sense by the time I’m done explaining…  at least, I think they will.

But meanwhile?  I’m running off to join the circus.

This whole business is related to the renovations going on in the background of the site,  and it fits with my “Places, Everything!” theme for the year, too.  But mostly, it’s about the Metaphor Mouse stuff that Havi Brooks has been writing so much about over the past few weeks.   You can ignore the mouse part for now, if you like, and just focus on understanding the metaphor business.  After all, the mouse is…  just a metaphor.

See, Havi’s brain seems to get stuck on things, a whole lot like mine does. We both trip over random ickiness associated with various words – words like coach, and marketing, and — well, you get the idea. Her way around it is to find metaphors, and substitute other words … words that (at least to her) mean the same thing, but reframe the idea in a less icky way. For instance, instead of marketing her business and products, she “biggifies” them.

Think that’s wacky? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Metaphor Mouse To The Rescue!This past summer, Havi declared that she doesn’t even run a  business; she runs a pirate ship.

Yepp.  Metaphor Mouse helped her discover that she’s secretly a pirate queen.

The people who work with/for her? They aren’t personal assistants, bookkeepers,  or web masters,  but First Mates, Navigators, and  she even has a Ship’s Monkey.  Rather than doing business plans and accounting, she charts courses, keeps a Captain’s Log, and makes treasure maps. Oh, and no more boring team meetings – Her crew has drunken pirate councils instead.

How cool is that? Who wouldn’t want to be a pirate queen, collecting treasures and wearing cool hats while coursing bravely (and drunkenly!) through uncharted waters? It was just about the most awesome metaphor I’d ever heard of, and I wanted to steal her metaphor SO badly!

After a night or two of fussing, I realized that I didn’t need to feel guilty about stealing it, because stealing is what pirates do.  So I brazenly told Havi (in her blog comments) that I No Pirate Ship. Sigh.was going to pirate her concept.  ARRRGH!!

There was just one problem.

I didn’t have a pirate ship.

So although the pirate metaphor is the most awesome (or is that aarrrgh-some?) thing I could imagine…  I couldn’t see it working for me, not in the long run.

Oh, sure, I tried dressing up as a pirate queen…  but it felt like wearing someone else’s clothes, mostly  because I was wearing someone else’s clothes.

Someone else’s metaphor, anyway.

Now, I don’t really like wearing other people’s stuff.  It doesn’t fit right and I’m always worried about spilling mustard on it.

So I set out to see if I could coax Havi’s Metaphor Mouse into finding me a metaphor of my very own.

Want to know what happened, and how I’ve ended up joining the circus?

Check out part two, coming soon! (Yes, you have to wait.  I know. I’m evil, aren’t I?)

And yes I’m still just as evil as I was when this post was written… because you’ll have to wait to see the actual metaphoring, and how my creative whim is turning into a Big Tent brand.

It's Another Flourish!

Tastiest Small Biz Brand AwardWhile you wait for part 2, you can go amuse yourself by voting in the Tasty Brand contest, and wandering around the rest of Tea’s site to see how she’s incorporated  metaphors into her own brand.

Mmm. Tasty.


  1. I wanna join the circus! And run away from home! And become a clown so nobody knows who I am!

  2. Tori Deaux /

    @Christy… here, have a clown nose and a spotlight!


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