The Portfolio of Brandon B.Wonder Thornton
Brand Strategist/Cultural Influencer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
The Mind of Wonder
If someone asked you what the one most important thing in your life was or if you could keep one thing in your life and have everything else perish, what would it be?
For me that response is simple. My mind and my ability to think is the most important thing in my life and is the one thing I would never let perish. To some this may seem like a strange answer, but it is the absolute truth.
More than what I earn, more than where I live, more than anything I may have or I may gain, more than anything I may lose.
More than anything I may accomplish, more than what anyone may think of me. More than any relationship or network that I may build.
More than any circumstance or obstacle that may come against me. More than any success that may benefit me.
My mind and what I think is more important to me than anything else in my life, simply for the fact that what I think will determine all of these.
With my mind, I can always find or create the solution.
These following pages are a glimpse into my most prized possession - my mind. The mind that is always seeking to find and create new opportuni-ties, new perspectives, new solutions and new perceptions. The mind that is always looking to learn new things. The mind that has no limits or boundar-ies. The mind that loves the unknown and that is always looking to knock down the walls of conformity and the unconventional. The mind that always questions. The mind that never settles for the easy way out.
The mind of wonder.
If soMeone Asked you whAt the one Most IMportAnt thIng In your LIfe wAs or If you couLd keep one thIng In your LIfe And hAve everythIng eLse perIsh, whAt wouLd It be?
Each and everyday people encounter situations and people that spark strong emotions, passionate reactions and deep thoughts. Many of these emotions, reactions and thoughts are powerful things that can influence the ignition of change in the world and those around us. However, very few people take these powerful elements seriously and fail to embrace them and do anything with them. They fail to ponder, analyze and question. They simply let those thoughts, reactions and emotions of change, challenge and transformation drift off into oblivion and continue to accept a world in which they simply exist.
Wonder is what I experience when I notice things in the world. I wonder why things are the way they are. I wonder why people settle when they can work for better. I wonder what I can change. I wonder how I can be an example and an inspiration. I wonder what new information I can learn and what new doors I can open. I wonder how I can challenge myself to be a better person. I wonder how I can challenge those around me to be better people. I wonder how I can challenge the world I live in.
In crowds, I wonder. In my dreams, I wonder. In my solitude, I wonder. I wonder because I want to take action. I wonder because there are so many unanswered questions. I wonder because I want to be remembered. I wonder because I do not want what has the potential to be something powerful to simply drift away into oblivion.
whAt Is wonder?
A lot of people feel I am a conceited, self-loving, ego-maniac, but I be-lieve that is how anyone is labeled who is different or misunderstood or simply refuses to let anyone or anything get in the way of their goals and dreams.
People have a need to place others in boxes. I refuse to be put in one. I hate boxes.
Truth is, if you relate to me, you feel me as a person and what I stand for, not for who I am or what I do.
I am a down-to-earth person, I just happen to see the world a little dif-ferently than everyone else.
At the end of the day, I know life is much bigger than me and what any-one thinks. I think and I wonder about how to get the most out of life everyday.
My life goal is to travel in space and build a spaceship. (It is yet to be determined if this will actually hap-pen.) I want to be a world traveler.
I am ambitious. I am always thinking and trying to figure things out. I love to learn new things. I love to question. I love to teach. Most of all, I love to share these new discoveries.
Rarely do I like to be told the cor-rect answer. Sometimes Id rather figure things out the hard way. I am far from perfect. I do not want to be perfect. I am difficult to deal with at times.
I am passionate. This works to my advantage at times and against me at other times.
I have a big heart even though I do not feel it or show it all the time. I can be cold. I can be warm. I am still working on who I am. I believe we all are.
I am learning to love life because I am learning that life loves me.
I am an artist. I love basketball. I love music. They are my best friends.
A lot of people do not get me; sometimes I barely get myself. I hate when other people think they get me.
I have a very open mind. I hate con-formity. I am scared of very little, which scares me a whole lot.
I love to think. People should think for themselves. I am a grinder. I always go hard as I can. I love com-petition.
who Is wonder?
My mind is a circus at times. I am wrong a lot. I admit when I am wrong. I like real people. I like enemies. They teach me a lot.
One day I want to help a great amount of people. I want to be re-membered for my character. I want to change the world. My mind is a circus at times.
I love myself. I know a lot about myself, and there is still much to learn. Thats just a little bit about myself and there is still more to come as I continue to learn, grow and evolve.
From my experience interning, freelancing and attending the VCU Brandcenter, I have learned and practiced the strategic elements of business and marketing as well as gained real-world experience creating research and working with creative teams to develop strategies that solve business problems and align with the brands truth and promise to its consumers.
Some of the brands I have had the opportunity to work on include the X Games, Method, The Muhammad Ali Center, Goodwill, The Connoisseur Magazine, The Virginia Diner, The Jane Goodall Institute, Coty Cosmetics, Read To Them, and Christopher Newport University to name a few.
The following pages include case summaries of some of the favorite brands and projects I have worked on and shows the approach I took toward the business problem, situation and challenge to develop an authentic, ownable and action-able strategy that could produce results for the brand, engage target audiences as well as inspire strong creative work from creatives.
the work of wonder
TargetThe X Brand has three different targets to appeal to in order to develop the 24/7/365 brand; Curious Onlookers, Mainstream Sports fans and Action Sports fans.
the X brAnd: stAyIng true to A cuLture
SituationThe X Games had a long history with its core consumer: the action sports fan and actions sports participant. In recent years, the X Games has pursued endeavors to become more than just games, but a total brand. Along with shifting the perception of X to be more than just game in an attempt to develop the brand comes a whole challenge of remaining authentic to a target that is extremely critical of selling out, while at the same time appealing to a whole new audience with a growing interest in X.
ChallengeTo create a universal brand identity that unifies X web, gear and event offerings and expands X into a 24/7/365 brand experience.
OpportunityDevelop authentic engagement opportunities that brings the X brand to the ground level for all of its current and potential consumers:
Curious On LookersCurious On Lookers: Fans who are aware of the X Games and action sports and the buzz surrounding it, but have never really followed the sport or pursued any interest.
Action Sports FansThese fans are the core target group - Skaters, Snowboarders, BMXers, etc. They are the faithful participants in the action sports world and hold the key to the culture that they protect. X was created for this group, and the brand would not survive without their guiding light.
Mainstream Sports FansFans of the more traditional sports such as baseball, football, basket-ball, etc. They are aware of action sports, may participate on some level and may know some of the big stars, but may not really consider action sports a sport.
Each of these targets play a key role in the X brand as well as the sporting world. Considering how these different targets currently relate to X and how they interact with other sports, leagues and games, it was clear that each of these targets were essential in developing a successful brand for X. From research, it was found while each of these fans were different and contributed to the sporting world in their own ways, the common thread was that they were enthusiasts and passion pursuers. The X brand had to appeal to this common thread.
InsightThe public knows about X and is familiar with its offerings, but no one feels it is for them.
X had an unclear audience and a clear perception problem. Fans were receiving mixed messages. Actions sports fans were beginning to believe that X Games was created to get other people involved with the actions sports world and was a true representation of their culture.