For Ashley Devereux, a new mom and fan of drag queen performances, the highest rewards of brand strategy come when the work makes a positive community impact.
Ashley, you’re a “brand strategist” at Brand Federation. What does that mean?
It’s about helping brands and organizations discover who they are and how they show up in the world. Getting there always starts with a deep dive into research, then taking a step back to see what story it’s telling. As a brand strategist at the Brand Federation, it takes strategic thinking, analysis, and collaboration to uncover those compelling stories that lead to powerful brand platforms.
What do clients find most valuable about the work you do?
A collaborative approach to brand building. I make sure clients are part of the process, every step of the way, and that their ideas are heard, questions are answered, and concerns are addressed. If we’re all on the same page throughout the process, there are no surprises and brand strategies develop with client support, interest, and enthusiasm. Clients also value an outsider’s perspective and thinking that helps them see things differently.
What about the role do you find most rewarding?
I love seeing brands come to life after clients embrace the strategy. It’s most rewarding when that strategy has a positive community impact, not just a business impact. Our work with Virginia community colleges to research and manage a name change process for institutions named for slaveholders, for example, is bringing meaningful change to the communities they serve. Our work with a local retail association is helping its small business members thrive, and a client recently shared that we almost “brought tears to her eyes,” thanking us for a process they have never been able to do. Knowing that our work has that kind of community impact is hugely rewarding to me.
Why did you choose to work at Brand Federation?
The people! The people I work with are smart, talented, and come from both amazing career and personal backgrounds. But beyond that, they’re genuinely nice, caring, and supportive people. That’s not always the case in this industry. Everyone works hard, but everyone, no matter the role or title, looks out for one another. I really appreciate that, especially as a new mom.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Easy. RuPaul’s Drag Race. Drag is an art form. From the way they paint their face, to how they present themselves on the runway, or in their comedic performances, that’s art. And it sends an important message that it’s OK to be yourself. As a former volunteer with Side by Side, an organization that builds supportive communities for LGBTQ+ youth, I saw how important that is for so many young people, and as RuPaul says “If you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love anyone else?” The show is such a celebration of art and individuality.
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