Serene Tan

Why "Good Brand Story"?

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:4

I love the word “good”. It’s a simple word that means so much. As a believer, I know God is good and this goodness is pure, life-giving and soul-sustaining. This idea is the inspiration for “Good Brand Story” because not only are we creating and celebrating brand stories that are good, this is also a company that strives to be an illuminating force for good.


10 Things About Me

1. My name is Serene. I imagine my parents gifted me this beautiful name because they hoped their firstborn would be calm, graceful, poised and untroubled, even as she walks through the storms of life. Here you see me, in Lisbon, stuffing my face with the best Portuguese egg tart in the world, looking like I have a good appetite – for food and for life. I’ve been asked many times if I’m really serene – just like the adjective for peaceful. Peaceful I am, but perfect I am not. I guard those I love fiercely, like a loyal Rottweiler, so think twice before you mess with my tribe.


2. I fell in love with stories way before I could read. My mother would take the simplest stories and turn them into the most captivating tales, and she still does that now for her grandson. I would like to think that my penchant for storytelling comes from her.


3. I live and breathe words. Writing is the best way for me to express myself and it has been this way since I was a child. I penned my first novel at age ten. It was the world’s most exclusive story because the only audience was my sister. My novel was so gripping that it kept her up all night. Ah, sweet childhood memories. We still laugh when we talk about this now. This little seed of love for writing grew through the years, blossoming into school essays, blogs, thick stacks of diaries, a short-lived e-magazine founded with college friends… and now it has brought me here, to Good Brand Story.


4. There are only a few things in life that make one happy, and I think I am very blessed to call one of these things my job. Branding and writing for businesses is not just my bread and butter, it bestows me with a sense of purpose, fuels me and gives me joy. In fact, the intersection of business, writing and creative work is where I excel, which is why the concept of Ikigai resonates with me.


5. Zen philosophy aside, I would say my role model at work is Gandalf. Yeah, that old dude who has been around the office forever, always seen with his staff, constantly mumbling under his breath, talking about dragons and some gold ring. Like him, I consider myself a wizard, a mentor and a guide. Unlike him, I don’t dabble in magic, party with hobbits or consort with elves. My abilities are more down-to-(Middle)earth. I inspire clients to embrace storytelling for their businesses and wield the power of words. But hey! Words can move mountains.


6. As a writer based in The Netherlands, more specifically, Rotterdam, I work with local businesses as well as brands around the world. Need word-smithing in a flowery language? You’ve got it. Looking for serious writing that you can use for press release and media kit? I can help with that. I have given companies hope through the birth of their brand stories, guided clients to discover aspects of their brands that have been under-appreciated and uncovered unique traits that became their greatest strengths. I delight in the all-consuming process of conceptualising, pouring out ideas into words as well as tinkering with the boring bits like grammar and vocabulary. So it’s no surprise that I have single-handedly built up content for clients’ websites, helped entrepreneurs bring their visions to life, and assisted million-dollar startups with copywriting. It’s the most fulfilling feeling when I get to transform a client’s idea or draft into winning copy that sells, and a bonus when the SEO articles I wrote got ranked #1 on Google.


7. Unfortunately (or not), I am a dreamer. Upon graduation from university, I gave up other opportunities and decided to work in advertising with the glowing aspiration of becoming a copywriter. However, as a business school graduate, the only available job was in client service. I thought if I stuck around enough I would get a chance to try my hands at crafting copy. That did not happen. What I discovered instead was that while I could bear the long hours and hard work, I was not cut out for the shady world of certain industries and companies. On the sunnier side of things, the experience taught me a lot. I also realised that my love for writing and creative work can be applied in other areas and not confined within an agency.


8. I value style as much as substance. This applies to the businesses I founded, the things I own, as well as the writings I appreciate. There was an era when I delved into a very creative, colourful trade of design and completely revelled in it. While I’ve retired as the boss lady of an indie fashion brand, I have spent close to a decade immersed in the exciting and dynamic e-commerce scene to know what businesses need as well as what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.


9. When you love what you do, you never feel like you are working. That’s how I feel. It might not be good for business, but I’m happy to write for free, and I do.


10. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring the culinary scene in The Netherlands, growing pelargoniums in my garden, cuddling with my dog-child, re-watching The Office, cooking (and eating) up a storm and transforming Liberty fabrics into comfortable pants.

How can I help you with your business today?

Words have power, especially when put to good use. Intangible as they are, words can be woven into writings that move readers and change the world. Here at Good Brand Story, we empower companies to make a difference and build businesses of worth.