Twisting, Moving and Shaking Your Brand

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Imagine what would happen if you really dove in and started to twist and shake up your brand and business? That’s what visionary entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Gary Vaynerchuk do. Listen to the “OnBranding by BRANDFEVER” podcast of Amanda Serfozo’s and my conversation about the far-reaching power of a strong brand and ways you can dive in and add a little twist to strengthen your brand’s reach.

Listen to the interview at BRANDFEVER, HERE.

If you have not tuned into OnBranding’s interview series, you are missing out on an amazing resource. These are high quality, in-depth audio and video interviews with top industry leaders, businesses and entrepreneurs about branding and marketing.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Amanda for a rich, one-hour podcast. We covered how I became interested in branding, lessons I learned from Richard Branson during my history as VP of Brand at Virgin, how I became an entrepreneur and developed BrandTwist and Brand School Master Class, but most importantly – we dive deep and give insight that can really help you grow your brand and business right now, like: the difference between marketing, advertising and marketing; what’s important in branding today; tips on how to relate your story and social media; ways that brands can stay fresh and how entrepreneurs and business owners can generate new solutions to their business challenges and reach more customers.

Some takeaways:

  • Make sure there is an audience for your idea.
  • Rather than focusing on  innovation, focus on usefulness.
  • Put your consumer at the heart of your ideation. What do your customers need?
  • Ask your market what is wrong with today? What’s missing? What do you enjoy in other industries? What are you tired of?
  • Know your brand promise for leadership positioning and an edge-up over the competition.

Listen to the interview at BRANDFEVER, HERE.

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Essential Branding Lessons with Jennifer Love & Julie Cottineau

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Your branding questions answered!

I recently was interviewed by Jennifer Love, Founder of JenniferLove.com and Co-founder & CEO of NibMor, the yummy and successful organic chocolate brand, for her weekly video series on business building. If you are serious about your brand this is a session you won’t want to miss. You can watch the video chockfull of tips HERE. Read below to learn how knowing your brand well can help sky rocket your business.

As a followup to the video Jennifer and I answered branding questions in a Twitter chat, using the hashtag #Branding101. It was great fun connecting with Jennifer and the Twitterverse.  If you haven’t already connected with us on Twitter, please stop by for a little brand talk at @JCottin. You can connect with Jennifer Love at @JLoveBiz.

Here are some excerpts from our chat , we covered everything from the right time to start thinking about your brand to how to take a page from Richard Branson and rock your personal brand…and most importantly how great brands WALK THE TALK.

@JLoveBiz – Welcome! To get started today >> @JCottin Many have asked: How & where do I start developing the right #brand for my #business?

@JCottin - Start TODAY. If you are re-building your #brand or #business, start defining your brand promise right now.

@JLoveBiz – @JCottin YES!!! Great tip. Start today, start where you are. Also, know who your consumer is and get intimate with them.

@JCottin – Your #brand’s promise will be a decision-making filter, to help attract the right investors, employees & #customers.

@JLoveBiz – Entrepreneurs want to know: What mistakes are made when starting a #business & developing a #brand?

@bevisible – RT @JCottin #1 mistake #entrepreneurs make is not enough time & energy really defining their #brand.

@JCottin – If you spend enough time upfront building & understanding your #brand well it will help the rest run smoother.

@JCottin – Small businesses should add more personal story into their  #brands. That’s why people choose small. They want authenticity.

@JLoveBiz – “Rather than saying you’re a different kind of company. Prove it through every single touch point.” – @JCottin

@JCottin – Definitely @JLoveBiz brands are relationships and you need to know what your consumer needs, what keeps them up at night?

@JCottin – Your loyal consumers are your best brand ambassadors. Nurture those relationships above all else!

@JCottiin – It’s not enough to tell consumers what your product does, bring your #brand promise to life via actions and experiences.

@JLoveBiz – I’m often asked: What can building a #brand do for my #business?

@JCottin – A strong #brand gets people to ask for you by name, minimizes other choices, and attracts the best employees.

@JCottin – A strong #brand helps people get what you offer right away. Helps them see your difference and why they should buy.

@JLoveBiz – @JCottin great point. Standing out from competition is so important & a way to do that is by delivering a great experience.

@JCottin – A strong #brand allows you to charge premium price for your and keeps you from having to get trial by discounting.

@JLoveBiz – A frequent question @JCottin is: How does a personal #brand differ from a #business brand; do I need both?

@JCottin – Personal #brand’s is how you tell your own story, what makes you unique and it supports your #business brand.

@JCottin – The more memorable your personal #brand is, the more memorable your #business may become, too. Definitely need both.

@JCottin – #RichardBranson’s personal brand of having fun and challenging the status quo supports the #Virgin promise to shake things up.

@JCottin – #Personal brand matters:  you will have many #jobs over time  but you will always be you. Need to cultivate it.

@JCottin – A strong personal #brand adds credibility to a #business & helps in repairing glitches.We all mess up, even @richardbranson.

JCottin – Be careful. Your #personal brand is not you – warts and all. It need to be authentic but also managed.

@JCottin – Yes! @JLoveBiz the experience you deliver IS your brand.

@bevisible – Like this: The experience you deliver IS your brand. Think we try to reinvent when our strength is what we’ve been doing.

@JCottin – Your #brand is your #business. It’s an entrepreneur’s secret weapon!

@JCottin – Brand = more than logo, website or colors – it’s a reliable promise you deliver that customers can count on.

@JCottin – #Branding for small biz is the same for big biz, but smaller biz need to be smarter with resources. Use their brand everywhere.

@JCottin – Great #brands big or small solve problems. They are useful and help people get more done and feel better doing it.

@JCottin – Great #brands are stories well told. We want to read them over and over and they become best sellers.

@JCottin – Great #brands WALK the TALK!

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Build Your Business – Exclusive Offers for BrandTwist Friends!

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We are happy to share with you BrandTwist guest blog posts from innovative entrepreneurs and business owners that graciously share their business-building tips and takeaways AND have generously made exclusive offers available to Friends of BrandTwist. These articles, products and discounts are designed to help your business spring into action now that the warmer weather is (nearly) here.

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Solving a personal problem can lead to powerful innovation. Tired of winter snow and slush ruining your boots?  Cassandra Droogan, Founder & President, PYSIS Inc took her inspiration from her father’s galoshes and created an exciting new product with a TWIST. Read her guest post HERE - it might inspire you to pursue that idea you’ve been musing about. And make sure you see her special March offer for BrandTwist readers – you and your shoes will be ready for April showers.

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Finding the balance between your business’ visual and verbal communication is essential to presenting a solid brand identity and building consumer comfort and loyalty.  But how do you know which “tone” defines your type of business? You’ll find all the answers in this free webcast replay from BrandTwist Founder & CEO Julie Cottineau and Rebecca Swift, Head of Creative Planning at iStock: “The Ying and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories,” all about visual and verbal branding. PLUS receive 10% discount on any of IStock credit packs for friends of BrandTwist. checkout. Promo expires March 31, 2014.  Webcast replay and Promo code HERE.

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Did you know that when people Google your name, LinkedIn is one of the highest ranked sites? Do you want to know you how you can get more for your business out of one of the largest job searching and business networking, marketing and branding sites in the world? In this series on Linkedin, guest blogger, Leslie Hughes, Principal of PUNCH!media, Professor of Social Media and corporate trainer, shares her insider tips. Catch Leslie’s Linkedin tips and info. about her SPECIAL OFFER for Friends of BrandTwist HERE.

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How do you distinguish your brand and its products and services in a competitive market? One way is to develop a “video brand bumper” that accompanies your every presentation, video, or workshop.  Read Dr. Marina Kostina’s, co-founder of Bookphoria, guest post HERE. In it, she shares with you more about what a video brand bumper is, why every author, speaker and expert needs one, and a 3-step process to develop an effective bumper for your brand – and take advantage of their offer for a free consultation.

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BrandTwist ‘s Julie Cottineau had the good fortune of working at Virgin as VP of Brand for North America for five years and during this time she gained invaluable insight into best practices in branding, marketing, and corporate culture. Whether you are a corporate CEO or a recent grad just starting out your career, these tips are designed to help you learn from one of the best-loved brands on the planet, and one of its most successful entrepreneurs. Each tip contains valuable lessons from Virgin and food-for-thought for your own business. Receive our “Brand Like a Billionaire: 5 Tips I learned from Richard Branson” when you join for our email list HERE.

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Looking forward to summer? As you plan your fun in the sun, make sure to make some plans for your Brand too. Take advantage of the longer days of summer to re-energize your business with Brand School Summer Session.

This is a streamlined version of Brand School Master Class where you get the best of the Master Class core principles in less time so you can hit the ground running in the fall for better business results. Attract more profitable and loyal customers, tighten your brand story, create a more professional and distinctive brand… and more!  Enrolling now. Find out how to grab your seat HERE.

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The 3 Key Areas To Brand Yourself Properly On LinkedIn

Did you know that when people Google your name, LinkedIn is one of the highest ranked sites? Do you want to know you how you can get more for your business out of one of the largest job searching and business networking, marketing and branding sites in the world? In this series about Linkedin, guest blogger, Leslie Hughes, Principal of PUNCH!media, Professor of Social Media and corporate trainer, shares her insider tips. Read more about Leslie and her SPECIAL OFFER for Friends of BrandTwist, below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger, please contact Jamie@brandtwist.com

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What do Beyonce, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common?

They are all personal brands that stand out beyond their original company brand.

Did you know that when people Google your name, LinkedIn is one of the highest ranked sites?

As taught in Brand School’s Master Class: effectively telling your “elevator story” in 1 floor instead of 20 is essential for making a lasting first impression.

You want people to see that you care about your presence and you’ve taken the time to craft a really professional presence.

The 3 areas that you must focus on are:

  1. Your headline
  2. Your professional photograph
  3. Your LinkedIn Summary

Tip: Use Brand School’s exercise on crafting your pillars helps you to define what makes you unique.

Step 1: Your Headline

Your headline and photo create the one-two punch for a knockout first impression.

By default, LinkedIn updates your headline as your current position. Stand out from the crowd by laser-focusing on your 120-character headline to effectively explain your brand story.

Here are two examples:

Example 1:

Your name

Your title: Helping (insert your target audience) to achieve (insert specific results here)

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Example 2:

Your name

Your title: (Insert what yo do). *Your successful accomplishment)

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Step 2: Your Professional Polished Picture

Your bright and shining smile makes you approachable and may refresh someone’s memory if they’ve forgotten your name.

Ensure it’s a photo of you – alone. No pictures with pets, babies, wedding photos, or cartoon avatars.

Step 3: Craft A Creative Summary

Your LinkedIn Summary is the perfect place to share your accomplishments without sounding arrogant.

Here are some top tips:

  • Write your LinkedIn Summary in 1st person so you appear more approachable (ie. “I am” instead of “Leslie is”
  • Include relevant keywords in the copy and in the specialties section. This will help you rank higher when people search for someone in your field
  • Outline your key target audience. You want people to instantly recognize if you can help them
  • Focus on results and accomplishments. How have you helped people or achieved success?
  • Include a call-to-action: How do you want people to reach you?

Take action now: A 100% complete profile on LinkedIn will provide you with 40x more opportunities, and these three key areas will help you to stand out and become more noticed.

Once you leverage LinkedIn to position yourself properly as an expert in your industry, your profile views will begin to skyrocket and you’ll be sure to receive inbound leads.

This guest post about Linkedin from Leslie Hughes of PUNCH!media is part of our Social Media blog series. Leslie2014highresHeadShot

Leslie Hughes is the Principal of PUNCH!media, Professor of Social Media and corporate trainer.

With over 15 years in both traditional and digital marketing and sales, Leslie has helped clients such as The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Prozac (Eli Lilly), The Canadian Institute of Business Valuators as well as Guardian Life Insurance Company of America to showcase their brand properly, connect with quality leads and convert business.

From strategic Social Media development to crafting the perfect LinkedIn Summary for executives, Leslie and PUNCH!media helps you to build buzz for your business.

Would you like to know more about how build a stronger Linkedin profile to make a fantastic first impression and grow your business or career? Check out PUNCH!media’s Linkedin Training program, designed for the busy professional and gets right to the nitty-gritty of the essentials.  Leslie has generously made a special discount offer available for Brand School members and BrandTwist friends. To receive more about this special offer, click HERE today, and don’t forget to use the coupon code BrandSchool to receive your savings!

Leslie is a proud graduate of the inaugural first class of Brand School by BrandTwist and can be reached at leslie@punchmedia.ca.

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All Your Burning Brand Questions – Answered!

Sometimes the terms “brand” and “branding” can feel a bit vague or even overwhelming, particularly for those beginning a business, embarking on the entrepreneur track, or looking to refresh their current brand or business.

Branding is often overlooked as an important initial aspect of building a business or re-building an existing one. Many think that “branding” can be added on after the business gets rolling, but the real value of a strong brand goes beyond what the color, logo, or website offer. If you have a clear grasp on who your business is really trying to reach and what you are promising to deliver, you’ll quickly realize the many ways having strong brand can benefit your business, from taking the stress out of daily decisions, to charging a premium for your product or services, to being forgiven by your following for any blunders. You’ll quickly see why a strong brand can be an entrepreneur’s secret weapon.

But how and where do you start formulating your brand?

Do these questions sound familiar:

  • What is a brand?
  • How does having a strong brand help my business?
  • How do I start developing my brand?
  • I’m not a big business, how can I do what the big brands like Starbucks, Virgin and Zappos! do?
  • How can I make my brand work harder to grow my business?

I recently was interviewed by Jennifer Love, Founder of JenniferLove.com and Co-founder & CEO NibMor for her free weekly video interview series that gives tips and information on building business, sales, and product development. I thoroughly enjoyed  sharing answers to her branding questions and giving tips on how knowing your brand well can help in building your business. There are plenty of tips and takeaways in this fun chat, you won’t want to miss it.

As a followup to the video Jennifer and I answered your branding questions in Twitter chat, using the hashtag #Branding101. It was great fun connecting with Jennifer and the Twitter community. You can read takeaways and highlights from our chat HERE.

If you want to receive notification when Jennifer’s new videos go live, sign up at Jennifer’s site HERE, and you’ll also receive access to special information not available to the public.

 

 

 

Announcing: Brand School Summer Session

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Looking forward to summer? As you plan your fun in the sun, make sure to make some plans for your Brand too. Take advantage of the longer days of summer to re-energize your business with Brand School Summer Session.

This is a streamlined version of Brand School Master Class where you get the best of the core principles in less time so you can hit the ground running in the fall for better business  results.

Attract more profitable and loyal customers, tighten your brand story, create a more professional and distinctive brand… and more!

Brand School Summer Session includes:

  •  7 mission-critical Brand lessons over eight weeks.
  •  Videos that you can watch anytime/anywhere (poolside if you like!).
  •  Interactive exercises to directly apply these lessons to your brand.
  •  Access to an intimate, online community of motivated entrepreneurs.
  •  Live weekly office hours via easy-to-access teleconference.
  •  Two 1-on-1 sessions with an experienced BrandTwist coach.

Brand School Summer Session takes place over a concentrated 8 weeks, (Classes run from June 9th through July 24th with no class week of 6/30 for 4th of July holiday) giving you the best of the Master Class Curriculum to put into action right away. 

We are now accepting applications.

Space is limited so don’t wait; apply for your Free Brand Health Check today (all Brand School students must be pre-qualified through a Health Check). See if you qualify, HERE.

Blended Learning Model – Maximum Flexibility

Brand School Summer Session is designed to offer maximum flexibility for the busy entrepreneur. Each week you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the video and exercise for that week’s assignment. It is password protected to create a private, confidential environment for Brand School Students.

You also receive a weekly, live office hour session, plus you are entitled to two 30-minute, one-on-one phone or Skype sessions with a Brand School coach.

See if you qualify, today! 

A New Twist to Solve the Old Problem of Wet, Ruined Shoes

Solving a personal problem can lead to powerful innovation. Tired of winter snow and slush ruining your boots?  Cassandra Droogan, Founder & President, PYSIS Inc took her inspiration from her father’s galoshes and created an exciting new product with a TWIST. Read her guest post here, below – it might inspire you to pursue that idea you’ve been musing about. And make sure you see her special March offer for BrandTwist readers.

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It’s important to focus on branding from the moment a product or business concept is conceived.  But, I think that most often the final (& ever-evolving) DNA of a brand grows and takes shape as the business grows.  So, when I recently met Julie Cottineau and was introduced to her strategy of brand twisting, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  A great time to TWIST my brand just as we’re making our big “splash” in the market!

I began designing PYSIS (pronounced Pisces) – a new style of overboots (rain boots worn OVER shoes) to protect women’s high heeled shoes from rain, slush and snow – years ago.  I was inspired by my dear old Dad’s rubber galoshes that he wore over his dress shoes when I was a kid.  It always frustrated me that there wasn’t a similar solution for women’s high heeled shoes – something that we could wear over our wedges and pumps to protect them from the elements.  I wanted my favorite shoes to last and I wanted to wear them when I wanted – whatever the weather.

So, I set out to create a solution: A TWIST on the men’s rubber galoshes of yesteryear.  PYSIS needed to function for heels and wedges, as well as match a woman’s sense of style. This ultimately took the shape of an overboot with a patent exterior – inspiring the style name: “Posh Galosh” – and an elastic closure so it could open wide enough to fit a shoe inside and then contour to the wearer’s leg and hold the shoe securely in place.

Given that my background was in the corporate banking industry (following six years as a lifeguard, where I also prayed for rain on a daily basis!), this development process took some time.  So, my branding journey began while designing a prototype made in NYC’s garment district in 2008, and has evolved as design improvements were made, production was secured, costing was finalized and the product finally hit the market on www.PYSIS.com.  And now Amazon and Shoebuy.com as well.

I’d spoken to many women over the years about my overboots.  Some loved that they’d be able to wear their favorite shoes in bad weather (or the threat thereof!), some hated ruining a new pair of shoes each season and very often I heard excitement over eliminating the need to carry an extra pair of shoes and search for storage for heavy, clunky rain boots.  I would chat, demo the latest prototype, explain the latest challenge… and listen to each person’s reaction and what resonated with her.

But, there really is nothing like actual customer feedback to provide direction for a brand.  With the original “Posh Galosh” style now out there saving women’s shoes, PYSIS can TWIST its way through April showers and on to great things to come!  Our March Special Offer (www.pysis.com/SpecialOffer) encourages fans to share PYSIS with their Facebook friends and the first comment we received included a customer exclaiming how excited she is for a busy spring and to no longer have to worry about “the dash from car to party in April”.  We’re so looking forward to hearing more of our customers’ feedback and stories!

There is so much potential for this product and brand and I’m looking forward to continuing the evolution.  Now with Julie’s brilliant guidance, the prospect of TWISTing with some of the brands I’ve admired over the years is very exciting and inspirational.  What would Spanx do??  Hmmm…

 If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Cassandra Droogan, Founder & President, PYSIS Inc. Connect with her on Twitter: @PYSIS and on Facebook: PYSISINC

 

The Yin and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories – Free Webinar Replay

Finding the balance between your business’ visual and verbal communication is essential to presenting a solid brand identity and building consumer comfort and loyalty. The smoother and more consistent you are in presenting your brand’s promise the more comfortable your ideal customer will feel when interacting with you – and the more likely they will be to stick with you as a loyal brand ambassador.

But how do you know which “tone” defines your type of business? How do you map your visual images with your language to tell your brand story with the right feel and attitude?

Recently BrandTwist Founder & CEO Julie Cottineau joined Rebecca Swift, Head of Creative Planning at iStock, to present a free webcast, “The Ying and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories,” on visual and verbal branding.

They covered how to:

  • Get your brand noticed by creating a compelling story
  • Use pictures and language to engage your market
  • Search more effectively to find the perfect image
  • Arrive at a verbal and visual balance to help your business succeed.
  • Identify the three main “tones” that resonate with customers, and know which one is right for your business.

The positive responses and feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming and we send a big thank you to all who shared their comments.

We’re thrilled that iStock has generously made this free webcast replay available…. AND DON’T MISS OUT ON THESE TWO SPECIAL OFFERS:

 

SIGN UP AND SAVE.  Sign up on iStock for more webinars, inspiration and great visual content of your brand. Then save 10% on any of our credit packs using promo code YINYANG10 at checkout. Promo code expires March 31, 2014.  Sign up HERE. 

 

 

 

 

Win a FREE BRAND ASSESSMENT. You could win one of 10 free Brand Health Checks from BrandTwist Founder & CEO, Julie Cottineau just for viewing the webinar. Simply watch and fill out the entry form. Enter HERE now.

 

 

Watch the webcast for valuable branding and marketing insight and please share it – plus iStock’s discount offer and BrandTwist’s chance for a Free Brand Health Check – with friends or colleagues who you feel might benefit.

 

 

Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

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BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former V.P. of Brand for Virgin, Julie Cottineau, shares her entrepreneurial story and talks about personal branding, innovation, and future brand trends in this interview by Bill Sobel for CMSWire.com. Bill is the principal of SobelMedia and NY:MIEG/The New York Media Information Exchange Group. He’s been described as a media powerhouse and a master connector. (You can connect with Bill on Twitter: he’s @bsobel226 -  tell him we say “Hi”)

CMSWire.com is a popular web magazine published by Simpler Media Group, Inc. There you’ll find an abundance of helpful articles, interviews and resources that keep you in the know about Customer Experience Management, Digital Marketing, Social Business and Enterprise Information Management. Check them out.

Catch Bill’s interview “Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand” with Julie HERE. 

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Branding vs. Advertising: Know the Difference to Grow

A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. In this  guest post Chris Garrett illustrates how knowing the difference between branding and advertising can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand. Read about Chris in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. While both are a part of marketing and are done with the express purpose of increasing revenue, they do so in different ways, and each has the ability to make other more or less effective. Let’s take a look at branding and advertising and how knowing the difference can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand.

Branding

Branding is a lot deeper than we might realize when we’re reading about the newest marketing fads on the internet. Branding has everything to do with identity: who are you and what kind of business are you? What’s your name, and why should I remember it? How do you and your brand make me feel? The answers to these questions should be  related to your products and services – but not limited to them. Your brand is what makes your business feel like a person, and a person is more than an automatic vending machine, business transaction or product; a person has a personality, and just like a person, your business’ brand needs to show its personality. For example, in Apple’s iPod advertisement pictured above, Apple goes beyond simply presenting a “product” for you to purchase. It’s the explosive size, lively color and the dancing, active “youthful” silhouette that communicates how the brand wants you to feel when you interact with them.

Let’s take a look at the major contributing factors and ways to communicate your brand identity.

Logo and Name – Your logo and name are often the first thing people see, and they work essentially as a visual representation of your name. “Brand Recognition” usually refers to people recognizing your logo or your company name, but brand-building encompasses more than that, because in brand-building, the focus is on what people will think of and how they will feel when they hear or see your name.

Atmosphere – Think of Starbucks, what does it make you think of? Wood paneled décor, warm yellow lighting, comfy seating and the cozy smell of coffee, right? What about McDonalds? Bright colors, bright lights, play areas and a whimsical looking clown. Consider what you want your customers to think of and experience when deciding on your décor and environment. How does it make people feel? If you don’t like the view from your windows, get a wall mural that gives your clientele the view you want them to experience; customize everything and make your business’ space the one that people will want to come back to.

Community Outreach – What does your business and it’s employees do during down time? Lay on the couch and watch TV?  Buy fancy things and party all night? Volunteer at a neighborhood shelter? That’s not to say you need to literally go volunteering, but it means you should think about the image your company projects beyond the professional realm. Does your business donate to any causes, or participate in fundraising efforts? Does it sell fair trade goods or use particularly energy-conscious equipment? Let people know what your brand and employees care about.

Work Environment – You might be surprised to see this listed here, but think about the companies we’ve all recently read about in the news and you’ll find that most of the negative brand associations for these companies are related to disenchanted workers speaking out about their abysmal working conditions. On the other end of the spectrum are brands like DreamWorks, Costco, and Whole Foods, all of whom are famous for their widely-recognized employee-friendly policies and happy, helpful workers. Your employees are also part of your brand. Provide a supportive business culture and guide employees on how to best represent your brand and customers will feel and apreciate the difference, too!

Advertising

Your customer’s relationship with your company begins and ends with your brand. What keeps your business profitable is, of course, sales, but the ideal customer comes to buy from your business or use your service specifically because they want to support your brand, not just because they want a product. That’s why it is important to really identify clearly who your ideal target customer is.

Advertising is about communicating what you have to offer through sales, coupons, radio and TV ads, and posters. An advertisement is soliciting a meeting between your ideal customer and your company, and the difference between a customer who knows your brand and one who doesn’t is like the difference between asking a stranger on the street to go to coffee with you, and asking a friend.

Advertising, Branding and Trust

Let’s examine this through the lens of a personal relationship. In the two scenarios below, let’s say that your brand is you; your product is a cup of coffee and your customer is your friend:

Scenerio A: You call up your friend and ask them to come over because you have a cup of coffee you’d like them to purchase. Most likely, your friend will feel you were only interested in making a deal; that you (the brand) don’t really care for them, their feelings or their experience – because you’re clearly placing your product and profit before your relationship with them. What’s missing here? A genuine brand relationship.

Scenerio B: You ask them to come over for a cup of coffee because you want to visit with them, engage in conversation and enjoy some warm and cozy time together. In this instance, you’re making the relationship between you, and how your friend will feel when they engage with you, more important than the product – and you are experienced as being a trusted and genuine person (brand).

The bottom line is to consider the many ways that your brand goes beyond colors, logo design or a jingle, to provide the experience and feeling your consumer is seeking. Once you clearly identify who your ideal customer is and what they need and are specifically looking for, you can pinpoint what your brand should be doing to gain your customer’s trust and deliver what they want. Once you do, your business’ brand can generate loyal followers, who will keep coming back for more.

About the author: Chris Garrett is marketing writer who blogs about aesthetics in marketing, brand building, and advertising for Megaprint.comOn Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.

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3 Signs Your Brand Has the Blues – And How To Shake Them Off

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Could your brand have seasonal mood disorder? It’s possible. Many of us find it hard to jump start our lives after the bustle of the holidays. The short days and cold weather are no help – making it hard to focus on business-building when we’d rather hibernate. But we’ve got some sure fire ways to bust your brand out of the winter blues.

Watch a replay of our webcast that will help you banish the brand blues “The Yin and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories” with BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former VP of Brand for Virgin Julie Cottineau and Head of Creative Planning at iStock Rebecca Swift. 

Here are three “Brand Blues” symptoms to look for and ideas to get your business back on track:

1) You’re feeling the Brand Love, but not the Cash

You’ve got something special to offer, and you’re connecting with people that your product or service could help. They seem interested, but when it comes to the moment of truth they’re just not buying. This is the dating equivalent of being told “you’re nice but let’s just be friends”

This usually happens when you don’t really understand your ideal customer and what they need. What keeps them up at night? And what triggers are going to help them move from being a “Brand-friend” to a committed “Brand -user and fan”?

We spend quite a bit of time on defining our Bull’s Eye target in our Brand School program for small businesses. The most important part of making sure you’ve got a vibrant brand is targeting the right people, understanding their motivations, and speaking directly to those feelings to get them to act.

Take a look at your website (or your primary marketing vehicles) and ask yourself honestly…is it clear who this product or service is for and why should they buy it?

Does it present a clear statement of a problem and a solution that’s going to shake people out of their own doldrums, get them to identify with what you are promising and take action?

Before you re-do your website, or any other marketing materials – stop and think about your target – who they are and what they need. Don’t worry about being too narrow.  It’s better to connect with fewer people who actually buy your product or service, then have a lot of generic messaging that appeals to everyone, but converts no one.

2) You’re Bored with your own Brand

When you work day in and day out on the same business in the same category it’s hard to keep the fresh ideas flowing. But we need innovation to drive interest and keep our customers coming back.

While Brand Boredom is understandable, it can be harmful to your business. When you’re not excited about what you’re promoting – this comes across loud and clear to customers – in face to face meetings and even online.

So how do you keep it fresh? You need to TWIST it up.  When you stay too focused on your own competitors and category, you end up with “me too” brands.

We believe you need to look at old problems from new and different angles. This is where the TWIST in BrandTwist comes in.

Leverage this lateral thinking by imagining what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if it took over your business. How would this brand use its DNA to innovate your market?  Twist an inspirational brand (ex. Virgin, Zappos, Starbucks, Apple) with yours and see the impact it can have in creating fresh ideas for your business.

If you own a dry cleaning business you might want to TWIST it with Starbucks.  We’re not suggesting you serve better coffee to waiting customers. We want you to dig deeper. Think about how Starbucks customizes each order – could you offer a new type of dry-cleaning service where you offer a menu of customized options? “I’ll take a ½ starch, ½ steam no hanger pressing please.”

Innovation is critical in creating strong brands. Our Brand School curriculum offers several specific lateral thinking exercises and teaches you how to apply the TWISTS of break through brands to your business.

3) You have too many ideas and no idea how to move forward

For some people, the source of brand blues is having too many ideas. Many business people have an idea a day (if not a minute) and this can be overwhelming. It can lead to a crippling condition we call “fear of the idea”. Every new idea brings up a whole new level of stress on how you’re going to execute it.  This state can actually lead to a situation where nothing gets done.

Have no fear. The trick is in prioritizing which ideas to pursue and breaking down the steps to move them forward.

Look for ideas that have both high feasibility and high impact. By high feasibility we mean ideas that can be reasonably implemented. They may take some investment in resources or partners, but they don’t require inventing a completely new manufacturing process or any involvement from NASA. By high impact, we mean the ideas that would appeal strongly to your target and support your brand’s overall authority and distinctiveness.

Lastly, we recommend that you break down these ideas into small actionable steps. Instead of saying “I need to create a fresh, new killer website” we recommend breaking it into smaller steps that you will actually get done. For example, asking friends via Facebook and LinkedIn for web designer recommendations, investigating online resources like 99 Designs, creating a web design brief, and identifying 3 websites you admire (and pinpoint why) so you can share them as examples with your designer when you find them

We also recommend finding a Branding Buddy to keep you accountable and moving forward. Weekly check- ins (over Skype or coffee) will help you move forward. Program these into your calendar – pick a consistent day and time that works for you and your buddy and make these meetings a high priority.

In Brand School Master Class we have found that creating a private community of like-minded entrepreneurs to support one another and hold each other accountable is a very effective way to help everyone stay on track and bring their ideas to market.

We know its cold and your brand might be feeling the winter blues right now, but with a bit of ingenuity, discipline and the right kind of support your business can emerge into Spring stronger and more invigorated.

Interested in more brand building tips? Make sure you check out our Brand School Master Class site and join our mailing list. You will get a free e-book “Brand Like a Billionaire – 5 Tips I learned from Richard Branson”. You can also learn how to qualify for a FREE one-hour strategy Brand Health Check session with Julie (valued at $500).

AND don’t forget to watch “The Yin and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories” FREE webcast replay with BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former VP of Brand for Virgin Julie Cottineau and Head of Creative Planning at iStock Rebecca Swift  - all about on Visual and Verbal Branding.

In just one hour you’ll bash your brand blues and learn:

  • How to get your brand noticed by creating a compelling story using pictures and language.
  • The three main tones that resonate with customers.
  • How the verbal and visual balance helps your business succeed.

Watch it HERE.

 

This Valentine’s Day, Show Your Love with a Twist

Tired of the same old gifts for Valentine’s Day? If you’re stuck in the typical roses, perfume, and boxed chocolates rut, never fear…we’ve uncovered 9 innovative brands that offer clever TWISTS on the classic Valentine’s favorites for both men and women.

moonglowmoonglow jewelry twists the idea of personalizing jewelry by taking  a special moment in time and depicting what the moon looked like on that day. This line of handcrafted and made-to-order jewelry is designed in Montreal by local artist, Luc Rouleau. Pick a date you want to commemorate – first kiss, wedding, anniversary – and find the exact moonphase through their moonphase calculator.

 

godiva2GODIVA’S Chocolate and Coffee of the Month Club steps up the traditional chocolate gift by pairing two strong favorites, coffee and chocolate – and curates them so you can give a gift that keeps on giving. This collection includes up to three months of Chocolate Truffle Coffee paired with a favorite GODIVA treat. It’s the perfect way to rev up your relationship for months to come!

 

 

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Personalized M&M’s are a whimsical and fun way to express your unique “couple” brand. Mars twists their iconic favorite, M&M’s, by letting you custom design your own candies. You can choose your colors; put a portrait or special photo on them and imprint your own special words and affections. Your honey will never tire of seeing your XO’s, hearts, special dates, or… perhaps even a proposal?

 

boomf

With boomf magical marshmallows you can twist your memories into a romantic adornment for your cup of hot cocoa. Personalize marshmallows with your favorite Instagram pictures. Turn photos of you and your sweetie into a romantic, sweet and fluffy gift. Created by James Middleton, brother of Kate Middleton, it boasts a royal romantic touch. Free shipping to Europe and North America.

 

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Mr. Beer – Beer, Cider and Root Beer Brewing Kits puts a twist on the micro brew trend by giving you everything you need to turn your fridge into a micro brewery. With its reusable brew keg and screw-top bottles, Mr. Beer creates up to two gallons of beer or cider in just 14 days. There’s nothing like kicking back and enjoying a home-made, lip-locked toast together.

 

 

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Champagne Dipped in Chocolate – Literally. The duo of chocolate and Champagne always enhances a romantic setting.  But here, Guittard Chocolate has twisted these favorite gifts by literally combining them. They dip the bottle of Champagne (or wine) in a rich, decadent Guittard dark chocolate. This creative indulgent gift available through GiftTree.com is the perfect touch to any romantic evening.

 

 

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A rose is a rose… but a Love Is In The Air Plant lasts and lasts and is practically care-free. Give your Valentine a twist on the usual red roses. Air Plants are trendy and unique. This gift from Red Envelope features a tillandsia air plant and rocks within a glass globe that can be placed on flat surface or hung indoors or outdoors. A red heart-shapped glass stone makes sure your loving intention is clear.

 

perfume

For women: Fragrance Republic adds a twist to the standard perfume present with their fragrance enthusiasts club that gives exclusive access to original fine fragrances as created by world-class perfumers. Each month members receive an exclusive new fragrance delivered straight from the FR! lab free of charge, right to their door. Membership includes connection to an online community where you can rate and vote for favorite fragrances; exclusive invites to launch parties, speaker events and discounts.

 

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For men:  Scent Monthly – Does your hottie wear the same cologne, every season, every day? Help him twist out of that scent rut with a membership to Scent Monthly. They deliver two fresh, premium fragrances each month, and each fragrance is handpicked for the season. Sign up for a  three or six-month subscription or a trial one-month membership and your guy will be thanking you throughout the year.

 

Support your sweetie in growing their business. Are they an entrepreneur, small business owner, artist, performer, or freelancer? Here’s a way to help them be more successful doing something they love. Brand School is our highly effective, premier branding program that provides the tools, framework and insight to build a stronger personal or business brand. Get more information about our next session and free tools and tips for better branding when you and your darling join our mailing list

 

Why Every Author, Speaker and Expert Needs a Brand Bumper

How do you distinguish your brand and its products and services in a competitive market? One way is to develop a “video brand bumper” that accompanies your every presentation, video, or workshop. Here in this guest post, Dr. Marina Kostina, co-founder of Bookphoria, shares with you more about what a video brand bumper is, why every author, speaker and expert needs one, and a 3-step process to develop an effective bumper for your brand. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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While attending a live workshop with branding expert Julie Cottineau, I heard Julie mention a quote from Jay –Z, an American rapper and entrepreneur, who has captured the whole idea of entrepreneural marketing in one sentence: “I’M NOT A BUSINESSMAN – I’M A BUSINESS, MAN!”

Julie also conveyed these additional, evergreen marketing and branding concepts:

  • People connect with people, not with companies.
  • Find out what makes you and your product or services stand out from the crowd.
  • What are your unique features that can be translated into your business to create a personal signature for your products and services?
  • You ARE your business, and every point of interaction with your client needs to breathe YOU.

But in this ever-expanding and competitive marketplace, how do you distinguish yourself, your brand and your products and services?

One way to create a personal digital signature is to develop a “video brand bumper” that accompanies your every presentation, video, or workshop. My business partner and I have been using brand bumpers for our own products for some time and were so enthusiastic about their impact that we developed our own unique bumper production company, Bookphoria. Here in this guest post, we share with you more about what a video brand bumper is, why every author, speaker and expert needs one, and a 3-step process to develop an effective bumper for your brand!
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WHAT IS A VIDEO BUMPER?
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A video bumper is a brief video announcement of your brand. It is usually only between 2 to 15 seconds long. It can contain a voice-over, an image, or a dynamic logo with background music illustrating your brand. You can put this branded piece of video at the top of your presentation as an introduction and you can also include it at the tail of your video marketing as well, to give you a professional edge.
Bumpers have a recurring signature or theme music segment and can vary in style from simple text to short films. The most well-known video bumpers are of those from the movie studios such as Dreamworks, Miramax or Columbia, as seen in this preview.

Now, as an author, speaker or expert you need to consider developing a video bumper for yourself too.
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WHY DO YOU NEED A VIDEO BRAND BUMPER?
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  • Bumpers are a great way to build brand awareness and attract audience to your book or your product. They allow your audience to recognize you even BEFORE your presentation or show begins! In short, they tell a stronger personal brand story.
  • Bumpers help you stand out from competition and give your more authority and prestige. The use of bumpers for personal branding is still something different and therefore super fun, just like e-mail was in its early days.
  • With bumpers you can have more impact as they capture the essence of your book/ content or brand and create a filter through which your audience views your materials.

THE HOW’S:

Here is a 3-step process that will help you to develop an effective video brand bumper:

1.       Tell your core message.

What makes you stand out from the crowd? You must be very clear and clever to find laser-focused concepts that can be turned into a visual summary of the core principle of your book, content or brand in a quick, 15-20 second bumper.

For example, in our own Bookphoria bumper we illustrate how a book comes alive through images of vines growing from the book, the logo color changes and the dramatic music. We want our audience to see that they become not only writers of their content and their books but also producers, actors and high tech designers.

In the bumper for her own company, Brain Alchemist, Anastasia Pryanikova demonstrates the power of brain and technology. Her core message is to rewire your brain to speak your mind and be heard… you literally see and feel how the brain is rewired in this beautiful bumper.

2. Use every detail to support your core message.

We live in the time when quick-paced technology-based markets need what BrandTwist founder and CEO Julie Cottineau calls ‘Word of Eye’ – where people share not only words, but pictures, images and photos. These digital bites are created, sent and shared through social networks with incredible speed. This is the new currency of news and information. Nowadays, not only must you have a visual representation of your brand but you also need to select all the images you share very carefully to truly stand out from the crowd. Everything in your bumper: color, music, even the animation and type, must support the image and feeling you want to project.

Let’s look at the bumper that I created for my company, Wired@Heart. My main goal is to help small business owners build connections and engagement online. Therefore, my choice of colors are warm and the sparkles and animation – as well as the music – in this video all create a deeper sense of warmth, connection and interaction.

3.       Create a movie-like quality.

Your digital bumper is the FIRST thing the audience will notice about you. Your bumper MUST be of high quality. A professionally done bumper will increase your prestige, the value of your products and thus help build your clients’ trust in you and your services. Unfortunately, the cost of creating a professionally produced bumper is usually very high; it entails finding a personal branding consultant who can advise you on what type of message to portray in your bumper, a designer who can develop all images, and animator and/or a developer. Paying for these services could be very costly.

An alternative is to try to develop a bumper yourself by using pre-made samples that usually run for $300-400 each. The beauty is that you don’t need to know anything about development or animation. You just plug in your title into a template and voila! However, they do not allow for true customization, and you will probably end up with an unoriginal bumper shared by many other authors and experts.

Introducing the good news…

Our company, Bookphoria. Because we frequently used video bumpers for our own products, we became frustrated with the limited resources available to us to easily and cost-efficiently produce our bumpers, so we created our own production company. Since Bookphoria is a full service company that is dedicated SPECIFICALLY to authors and experts who want to market their content, we cut your costs of having to hire a brand consultant, a designer and a developer – we handle and create everything for you. We meet for a brief FREE one-on-one consultation to determine your needs, your core message and your unique angle. We then develop all elements for your bumper and design it to truly be yours. In fact, we make as many samples of the bumper as you need until you find THE PERFECT ONE, along with a 100% guarantee on all products we develop.

Whatever method you choose to produce your video brand bumper, remember that your video needs to represent YOU as well as your business, products and services and also needs to quickly communicate your core brand message to stand out, connect and be remembered. Video is now more accessible than ever. Make it work for your brand and business.

EVEN BETTER NEWS FOR FRIENDS OF BRANDTWIST:

Marina and Anastasia of Bookphoria want to help you make your books and expert content come alive and change lives!  For a limited time, they are making available to friends of BrandTwist a special offer: You can still enjoy their New Year’s promotion and get your video brand bumper for only $200 until February 15, 2014. This includes a free 1-on-1 consultation, design, music, animation, development, and free samples until you are satisfied with the end result!  They cannot wait to put their creative hats on and develop a killer bumper for your book and your brand.

As you can imagine, they have a high volume of orders for this amazing product. To secure your spot, please sign up for your Free 1-1 consultation today. Put “book bumper” into the topic of the form – Sign up HERE.

 About the authors:

MarinaDr. Marina Kostina is a founder of Wired@Heart, a distance learning consulting company, an Amazon Bestselling author, winner of STARTALK, the Oppenheimer Family Foundation grant, and a nominee for the Golden Apple Award. She has presented her research at various national and international conferences that provided insights to thousands professionals on how to build online connection, presence, engagement and enjoyment.
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anastasiaAnastasia Pryanikova, M.A., J.D. is the founder of E-Studio, LLC, a coaching, training and consulting company that translates neuroscience and media psychology insights into tools and solutions in the areas of communication, conflict management, public speaking, presenting, and transmedia storytelling. She is a speaker and a Certified World Class Speaking Coach, trained by Craig Valentine, World Champion of Public Speaking for Toastmasters International.

 

Both Marina and Anastasia are co-founders of Bookphoria - an innovative online and mobile learning platform that enables authors, speakers and experts to turn their books and content into dynamic, interactive online courses and multimedia products and grow their information business and communities of practice. Discover more about Bookphoria and connect with Marina and Anastasia through the Bookphoria Facebook page, on Twitter at @bookphoria or via email: info@bookphoria.com.

5 Healthy Habits of Highly Successful Solopreneurs

Many entrepreneurs and business owners encounter a unique challenge: how to re-charge physically and emotionally and still have energy left for business. This guest post, 5 Healthy Habits of Highly Successful Solopreneurs, gives easy, effective ways to cultivate habits that will increase both health and wealth. It is from the LiveAWholeLife.net blog by Debra Boulanger. Read more about Deb and LiveAWholeLife.net, PLUS a special gift to friends of BrandTwist, below.

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As a solopreneur, you drive yourself pretty hard to get the exposure you need to succeed and delight the clients you win over. It takes a lot of energy, heart and mental prowess to engage and attract your ideal clients. What habits can you cultivate that will increase both your health and your wealth?

You may speak from the stage, participate in telesummits, write blogs, record videos, send newsletters, network and partner with other solopreneurs and sponsor events.You likely have a marketing plan, financial plan, and annual goals. Your to-dos are a mile long, but where and how do you show up on your own list of things to do? How do you care for your body, mind and soul to do this important work that you do?

While marketing plans, financial plans and budgets are critical, they are not responsible for your success.

You show up in life at a cellular level. Everything you eat, every thought that has crossed your mind, every emotion you feel and even the amount of sleep you got last night are all a part of what is making up ‘you’ today. Right here. Right now. If you are not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to serve those around you very well either.

Here are the five healthy habits of highly successful solopreneurs that I recommend you cultivate if you want to run at peak performance:

1. Eat based on how you want to feel. Different foods affect your body and mind in different ways. What’s on your agenda today? How do you want to feel while you are doing that? Eat the food that will make you feel that way.

2. Drink lemon water. Not only does it taste good, it acts as a natural diuretic and helps alkalize your bloodstream – making it less likely that you will get allergies, colds or flu.

3. Add superfoods to your regime. Trouble focussing on one thing? Tired of that afternoon crash? Certain superfoods can calm your anxious mind, even out your blood sugar, give you more energy, have you thinking more clearly and give your libido a boost too. My top two are cacao and maca. See the full list at: MyHealthyFoodGuide.com

4. Get your fill of primary foods. While food is important, rarely do any of us ever go hungry. Yet, sometimes we are starved for love, friendship, and connection. If you find yourself opening the pantry or the fridge way too often, check in and ask yourself, “What am I really hungry for?” Look at areas of your life that may be lacking. Are you spending enough time with friends? Getting the love you deserve? Getting enough exercise? Spending time in quiet reflection? Whatever it is you are hungry for, go get more of that thing. Feed your soul as well as your stomach.

5. Create balance and space. If you work alone in a home office, it’s easy to let the boundaries bleed between work and home. Make sure you are creating balance. Meditation can help you to stop running on autopilot and become more centered in the present moment. Journaling can quell the judging voices inside; get you in touch with gratitude and give you space to reflect on your intentions.

Remember to get up and dance often! Life is a great ride and it’s really, really short.

WANT MORE TIPS TO STAY ENERGIZED AND HEALTHIER from Deb?

As a special gift to friends of BrandTwist, Deb is making available, for free, her guide: The Live a Whole Life Guide to Slimming Down Without Dieting… 9 easy steps to lose weight any time of year. Download your free copy HERE.

Note: this specific offer (above) to BrandTwist friends has expired, but you’ll want to click HERE for more of Deb’s valuable free information and resources.

debraboulingerAbout the author: Debra Boulanger

Debra (Deb) Boulanger is the founder of Live a Whole Life where she helps business women over 40 enjoy greater health, unstoppable energy and the super sharp brain power to rock it in business. As a business owner and a single mom herself she knows firsthand what it’s like to be pulled in many different directions.

Prior to founding Live a Whole Life, Deb enjoyed a very successful 25-year product management and marketing career in the professional services industry.

Today, she’s a certified holistic health coach and runs the very successful Feeding Your Freedom program. She speaks with hundreds of women each year through conferences, teleseminars and syndicated radio. Connect with Deb on Facebook at Live A Whole Life With Debra Boulanger, and on Twitter she’s @debraboulanger.

3 Opportunities to Move Your Business Forward

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Happy New Year! This is a time to act on your business resolutions, and to help, we’re excited to share with you these upcoming interactive workshops with BrandTwist Founder & CEO Julie Cottineau – all within 30-minutes of New York City. (If you don’t live in the area, perhaps you have a friend or colleague that does and could benefit from these events).

In these hands-on, fun-filled events you will learn how to:

  • Stand out from competition
  • Have more impact with less spending
  • Tell a stronger personal brand story
  • Twist your thinking to create fresh ideas

And more!

Julie will be sharing tools and techniques to innovate your brand – and show you how you can put them to work right away to GROW YOUR BUSINESS! These workshops are normally $250 and up but in partnership with local community business centers, we are able to offer them for a fraction of the price.

Join Julie and other like-minded, inspired entrepreneurs and business owners who are putting their business and brands at the top of their lists this year!

There is also an opportunity to get FREE in-person, one-on-one time with Julie prior to each session. Read more below.

These events have concluded, but to receive immediate updates about more events like these, Brand School’s exclusive programs and free brand and business-building tips, please sign up for our newsletter:

Subscribe to more posts like this →  

 

JUMP START YOUR BRAND 

January 31, 2014, Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. At The Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Social Innovation, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. 

You’ll get 5 sure-fire ways to boost your brand and your business in this interactive session to gain practical insights and takeaway steps, and be infused with the energy of other entrepreneurs and small business owners – Register for the workshop HERE. 

BRAND LIKE A BILLIONAIRE: 5 TIPS I LEARNED FROM RICHARD BRANSON 

February 6, 2014, Thursday, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. At Serendipity Labs, Rye, NY. 

In this workshop, Julie will be sharing tips she learned from her five years as VP of Brand for Virgin North America and show you how you can make them work for your business. Learn from one of the best-loved brands on the planet and one of the most successful entrepreneurs – Register for the workshop HERE. 

TWIST YOUR BRAND, GROW YOUR BUSINESS 

February 25, 2014, Tuessday, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. At The W@tercooler Hub, Tarrytown, NY.  

Boost your business with innovative ways to look at old problems from new angles that will help you create new products and services and build loyal brand fans. See how both large and small brands are innovating and how to apply these lessons directly to help your brand stand out – Register for the workshop HERE. 

Please pass these valuable opportunities and offers along to any friends you think may be interested in joining Julie in boosting their business. These hands-on events are a great way to start rocking any business and brand in the New Year.

Each of these events also include FREE, valuable one-on-one time with Julie on days prior to the session. Interested in finding out more about a FREE Brand Health Check 45-minute personal strategy session? Contact Julie at Julie@BrandTwist.com

We look forward to Twisting with you soon!

How to Build an Innovative Brand – MENG

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I was so pleased to have been invited to present “How To Build an Innovative Brand” to the NJ Chapter of MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group). This was an energetic, hands-on workshop where business owners and entrepreneurs learned how to use lateral thinking to twist their brands with other successful brands and arrive at creative and inspiring ideas to keep their brands and businesses fresh and reach more customers.
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Everyone was engaged and eagerly participating. The afternoon was productive and fun and I am grateful for the opportunity to share and receive creative ideas with so many enthusiastic participants.
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You can read an insightful summary of the afternoon, including the top pointers, lessons and action steps in this OnDEMAND CMO blog post, “How to build an innovative brand” HERE.
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‘Tis the Season to Build your Brand

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We know the holidays are a bit crazy, but they are also a great time to connect with customers and clients and build your brand. In case you missed some of  our recent entries, here is a re-cap of a few seasonal posts to inspire you:

‘Tis the season! Creating a gift guide for your business is a great way to explore what your brand really stands for and is a nice twist on reinforcing your brand values – plus, it’s fun to do! This post from BrandTwist guest blogger and Company B founder, Bonnie Rothman Morris, was inspired by Seth Godin and gives tips on how to create one for your business. Check out “Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide.” 

Amidst the chaos that is the holiday season is can be tough to make your brand stand out among the rest. This doesn’t always require innovative creativity or a hefty marketing budget. Here is a guest post from marketer Alice Jenkins giving four cost-effective ways to market your brand this holiday season that will both show good character and expose your brand to the masses, “Marketing Your Brand for The Holidays.”

Holidays, and especially holiday gift giving, can be extremely taxing. This year why not take a step back and create something special? Catch these “5 Creative Gifts that Won’t Break the Bank.”

Many companies engage in the practice of sending holiday greetings (print or emails) to colleagues, clients, partners and prospects. But what does your holiday card really say about your brand? After all, it’s not just a card it’s a communication vehicle. Here’s what we did while I was working as V.P. of Brand at Virgin, “What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand.”

The holidays are about connecting to one another, and a personal brand is an aspect of branding that can often go overlooked, even though it’s incredibly important in business. Whether you’re looking to use your personal brand to get a job, are launching your own business, or want to strengthen your existing business, building a strong personal brand will help you to transform your passions and personality into a brand that works for you. Don’t miss these three essential tips to building “The Brand of YOU.”

Stay warm and keep TWISTING!

“What an excellent experience. You have turned our business on its head! We are in the process of re-inventing our brand and company!” - Gavin Meiring, CEO, Rugged PC, South Africa

Marketing Your Brand Throughout the Holidays

This entry, Marketing Your Brand Throughout the Holidays, from Alice Jenkins, gives 4 ways your business can make the most of the holiday season (or any season!) to make your brand stand out. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Alice in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Amidst the chaos that is the holiday season is can be tough to make your brand stand out among the rest. This doesn’t always require innovative creativity or a hefty marketing budget. For the businesses that don’t exactly have a million-dollar budget to air commercials, take up billboard space, and buy every piece of ad-space on the internet, the key to marketing your brand is variety. Here are four cost-effective ways to market your brand this holiday season that will both show good character and expose your brand to the masses:

1. Parades

If there is any kind of parade coming through your town you must be a part of it. Make it a point to get the employees together and build a float that plays off of your particular line of business. Holiday parades receive a relatively large amount of media coverage by their community and if you were to win an award for your float you could receive even more coverage.

2. Branded Item Giveaways

The holiday season is a time of giving. Let your customers know you appreciate their business by giving away a free branded gift with every purchase. For a business the most effective gifts for marketing are the ones that are directly useful during the holiday season. Branded ornaments to hang from the tree, branded pens to sign cards or gift tags with, probably the most underutilized promotional item of the winter; hand warmers. Read more about effective use of SWAG here.

3. Social Media/Website

Customize your webpage with a winter or holiday-themed background. Add mistletoe here, a few snowflakes there; remember your website is an extension of your place of business. Imagine if someone walked into your store and saw nothing to evoke holiday cheer. Constantly update your social media page and let your followers know the most recent deals, hours of business, and any other happenings.

4. Charity

So many businesses fail to see how well a charity fundraiser at their place of business can market their brand and attract new customers. Offer discounts to those who donate a certain amount of food or money to a philanthropy organization. It will establish great public relations for your brand and potentially lure new customers to your establishment.

Parades and social media may seem be the meat of the marketing plate here but don’t neglect the value of good public relations through charity and showing appreciation to your loyal customers with giveaways.

About guest blogger Alice Jenkins: 

Alice Jenkins is a marketing writer for the custom pens supplier, Pensxpress. She enjoys helping small businesses come up with new and innovative methods to get their brand out there amidst the holiday cheer. On Twitter she’s @alicejenkins37.

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Stand Out in a Bag Full of SWAG

This entry, Stand Out in a Bag Full of SWAG, from Julie Hartwell, gives creative twists on how to make SWAG unique to make your business get noticed. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Julie in her bio below. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Everyone loves free stuff. This idea was reinforced recently when I took my 11 year old nephew to the local county fair. There were carnival rides, games, sheep, pigs, and chickens. My nephew was politely interested in all these things but made it increasingly clear to me that he wanted to make sure we went to the Expo Center. It was full of businesses getting their brand out there. What did he want from this building? In a word: S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get). He couldn’t get enough branded business pens.

Often it doesn’t even matter who it’s from or what it is. If someone is giving you something with more utility than a brochure, you’ll most likely accept it and be happy. In this respect, pens are great, but you want to do more. Your SWAG needs to stand out as much as you want your business to.

A Case Study of a Successful SWAG Campaign:

Everyone expects to get T-shirts and beverage koozies from companies at promotional events. So is it any surprise that, when people receive average SWAG, it’s not at all exciting?

An analytics startup called Spinnakr realized this, and wanted to do things differently. When Twitter users tweeted about “Shades of Fame”, they would receive their own pair of branded shades in the mail soon after. This is what Spinnakr did right:

  1. It required a commitment on behalf of the potential customer to get the SWAG. It’s always better when you have to work for it right?
  2. Spinnakr used the SWAG to get recognition through social media. If you’re going to give away something for free, make sure you get a return on your investment.
  3. The SWAG was something their target consumers wanted. No one wants another refrigerator magnet. How about a pair of turquoise hipster shades? Umm, yes please!

Create your own SWAG

You’ve made the decision to create your own SWAG, and to do it differently. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make it useful! SWAG does no one any good if it is useless and forgotten.
  • Be mindful of the industry you are promoting. A cloud storage promoter probably wouldn’t give away branded thumb drives.
  • Be like Spinnakr: make the consumer work for it. You’d be surprised at what people will do for free stuff.
  • Go small for a big return. No one wants to carry a spare tire around with them. It will also help your bottom line; small is cheap.
  • Make sure your SWAG is in line with the ethics of your business. PETA wouldn’t give away leather bound notebooks.
  • Make your brand visible. Even branded underwear will get seen by one person if the brand is prominently displayed.
  • Turn your SWAG into SWAGGER! Be confident in your SWAG. Give yourself an outgoing brand personality. Enthusiasm is infectious, and will really transfer through to the consumer.

About guest blogger Julie Hartwell:

Julie is a marketing consultant and fashionista who loves a good campaign almost as much as she loves free stuff. On Twitter she’s @JulieHartwell23.

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