Today we’d like to introduce you to Tori Gay.
Hi Tori, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Like many people, 2020 challenged me to rethink why I was working. I was cooped up in a tiny Chicago condo, working constantly for a large food brand. Partially, I was working long hours to feel purposeful when everything felt unknown. But if I’m being honest, I chose to work those long hours even before the pandemic.
In September 2020, I was sitting on my window sill drawing charts to take an honest look at what fills my time. In that moment, I realized that if I wanted to live fully, I needed to stay true to who I am, or I’d never know what’s worth my time. “Who am I?” naturally, was my next question.
That led me to leverage my experience in brand identity to seek answers to my own identity question. I realized that language is the basis for understanding identity. Without words, there is nothing to define – no shared understanding of experience or character to be had, and that’s what brands lack.
I spent the next year drawing out a process for claiming words about my identity and using them to grow things that mattered most to me – my relationships, initiatives, and experiences. It changed my life!
At Jane Doe, our process is called Claiming Identity, and it helps brands claim an identity that’s full with distinct qualities, values, and quirks. Through guiding brands to define who they are in plain language; they can stay true to who they are no matter what challenges or opportunities arise.
The result has been both steady and viral growth for brands among their audiences, but most importantly among their internal team who lives out the brand. Today, we’re still claiming identity!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My business mentor just told me, “We seldom experience growth when things are going smoothly.” I can confirm that statement!
I’ve learned that I need to be grounded in my purpose because brand communication is unknown and undervalued. I learned I need to trust my vision as an entrepreneur. Because this is my opportunity to add value. I need to be based in reality, including how I care for people and how I respond to my own needs, too.
Those lessons came from many bumps in the road. We learned the hard way to stick to internal processes and to keep things simple. I’m thankful that because of Claiming Identity, our foundation remains the same no matter what challenges arise.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m celebrating my 10th year working in brand communication! I’ve had roles that challenged me every day within advertising agencies, a coffee brand, and a fermented food brand.
I call myself an Offbeat Expander. I’m most proud that no matter what situation I’ve been in, I’ve expanded – my understanding, teams, and brands. I can say that with confidence. I’m extremely honest, and that’s what makes me “offbeat.” I’m willing to take assertive steps to lead processes forward and stick to objectives that add value to many lives.
I specialize in Brand Organization and Communication. I’m based in Cincinnati because this city is special – its neighborhoods are strong and there are so many businesses looking to work purposely for the people of Cincinnati.
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
In 2020, I was living in Chicago, where protests were common and often. This was a major driving factor to start my own organization.
I saw brands make decisions that were ungrounded in response to social unrest, causing more harm than good.
I decided I want to be the person that guides brands to focus on dignifying their team and audiences in difficult times. My dream is to help influential people and organizations establish plans that are based in a true identity rather than a reactive jolt of energy and fear.
- Claiming Identity for Individuals – $250
- Claiming Identity for Brands – Based on Objectives