Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle

4 minute read

Significant others, in case you haven’t noticed, everyone’s favorite holiday is upon us: Valentine’s Day. I hope at this point your dinner reservations are made, flower orders placed, chocolates picked out, and valentines all filled out. I plan to distribute these:

Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle

Some may have less than romantic intentions for spending their Valentine’s evening, and that’s okay. Some may even curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a girl’s favorite makeout film, Sleepless in Seattle. If anyone knows how to turn up the heat when you’re feeling icy, it’s Hanksy and Meg Ryan – the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore duo of the generation before mine. Hanks and Ryan engage unknowingly in a cross country pre-relationship via Hanks’ nosy brat and a desperate-for-tummy-butterflies Meg. The boy and his even more nosy friend set up an Affair to Remember scenario for hooking Hanks and Ryan up. That’s the gist, we all know how it ends, yada-yada-kissy-kiss. Now, let’s look at it in a completely different and unromantic way: The reinvention of oneself.

Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle I North by Northwest Boise

Sam and Annie are both at a crossroads of who they are now and where/who they want to be in the future. Sam is stuck in the past, fearful of letting go of his deceased bride, and Annie has settled for what appears to be a good match in Walter. Depth and starry-eyed meaningfulness have nothing to do with their relationship, and as Annie begins to obsess over the man on the radio, she longs for the magic missing in her life. We all reach points where we need to make a decision: What kind of career do I want, where do I want to be, and how can I change?

When we decide to let go of what we are now in order to change (change can be scary for some), we’ve taken the first step. Harvard Business Review outlines five steps for reinvention, with this being the first. Write out your goals, what steps need to be taken and which skills learned, and create a game plan for yourself. Next, figure out your “Unique Selling Proposition.” Yikes. It sounds rough, but it’s simply identifying in yourself the “thing” that people will remember most.

Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle I North by Northwest Boise

The tragedy in Sam’s life allows him to create a richer narrative for himself as he looks for a companion. HBR says you need to, “you need to develop a coherent narrative that explains exactly how your past fits into your present.” For example, as Annie decides to give herself a deeper story than she’s currently living, her narrative would revolve around the moment she realized there could be more than her relationship with Walter. She would analyze the way she had been approaching life, and then talk about the way she wants to live her life from here on out.

Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle

The fourth step is reintroducing the new you to old contacts and peers. When Sam decided to get back out into the dating world, he was armed with his new narrative and vision. HBR refers to this stage as a “reeducation” of friends and colleagues. In order to teach, we must share tools to learn. Change your LinkedIn profile to reflect your new path, and then send them a friendly note letting them know about your redirection.

Finally, we have the really hard work: Proving your new self. If you’ve decided to switch careers, here is where you show you’re serious. Prove to contacts old and new that you can handle the new job, new responsibilities…whatever your reinvention may entail. This was Sam saying hello to Annie at the beach. Sam going on dates with that annoying woman that Jonah hated. Annie choosing to break it off with Walter and go the Empire State building, waiting to start her new life. This is where it happens or doesn’t, and it’s the choices you make that affect your reinvention.

Movie B-School: Brandless in Seattle I North by Northwest Boise

Ahhh to be in love. Now make like the queen of reinvention, her highness Madonna, and show off the fabulous, focused, you.

(Images via, via, via, via, via, via)


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About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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