Blog Hero: Living a Brand

Living A Brand

Tonight, I sat at a favorite bar in a brand new boutique hotel in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, named after the same river that meanders east, west, north and south throughout Williamson County—the Harpeth. After a few choice cocktails, I had to make a quick exist to the lady’s room. As I peered in the mirror, I took note of a book being read over the intercom. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was, although clearly a southern novel of some heft. After returning to the bar, I asked the young bartender what was featured in the ladies’ (and I assume mens’ room). She said, “Widow of the South!” I must admit her statement made my heart swell with pride. “Widow” is one of my favorite books. It, and the other personal stories of Franklin during the Civil War, fascinate me. Just as we were toasting this unique branding experience, the author of said book walks into the bar. [Two Nuns and one author walk into a bar…] Because we’d spoken in the past (several times as I do love that book as well as his follow-up, “A Separate Country”). I was able to speak to him about how exciting it was that the Harpeth Hotel would be thoughtful enough to incorporate his prose as an artistic expression of local history. He shared that one of the owners of a local hotel with a terrific new bar and restaurant named 1799 is a direct descendant of Carrie McGavock—the namesake of the book in question (aka “Widow”). In fact every room in the hotel features a copy of his book. You have to admire a new business that is willing to embrace a brand and extend it beyond merely a name or a logo. When a brand seeps into the walls and the very air of a space, making every customer stop, listen, and feel, you’ve created a truly memorable experience. As far as marketing is concerned, that is about as good as it gets. The Nuns give it an A+! The conversation with Robert Hicks was just icing on the cake! Robert has become a Franklin staple, a skilled writer who has generously supported the restoration of The Carnton Mansion with his words, his time, and treasure. And that is just one of many reasons I love living in this place. We often say that living in Franklin is like being a perpetual extra in a Hallmark holiday movie. But at the end of the day I don’t think I’d change a thing. Looking out upon the town square from my perch in the Convent, the Christmas tree and holiday lights twinkling around the cannons, I’m reminded that it is good to be a Tennessean. Here’s to Ms. McGavock, who long ago opened her home and life to the wounded and dying on a very cold November night, and for the remainder of her days watched over the graves of the nearly 1,500 men who would never leave she or Carnton.

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