What’s My TWIST? Unexpected experts can help your brand.

Far too often, brands get stuck sounding, looking, and feeling the same way to consumers as any other competitor in their field. These brands aren’t standing out from the bunch; they’re merely doing just enough to fit in and survive. The most successful brands owe that success to the fact that they’re different. It’s why you gravitate to Apple before Dell, and why you can’t forget GEICO’s gecko. To stand out you need to get some outside perspective and a little inspiration.

What's My Twist Panel - Unique experts give feedback

The “What’s my TWIST Panel” technique does just that.

The “inspired experts” panel uncovers fresh language by taking experts in related but distinctly different fields and asks questions to extract fresh language that can be TWISTED with your own brand.

For example, recently we helped a pharmaceutical client with an over-the-counter medication focused on protection, by bringing in four unusual experts:

  • A former fireman
  • A bouncer
  • A computer security consultant
  • And an insurance agent

The essential element of this panel was that the client had no idea what fields the experts were in. Similar to the classic “What’s My Line?” game show – the occupations of the panelists were guessed and revealed at the very end. This kept the pharmaceutical executives focused on active listening for fresh language that they could then TWIST to add distinction to their marketing.

The panel was asked questions such as:

  • “What does protection mean in your field?”
  • “What happens when there is a failure of protection?”
  • “What are the emotions involved? The consequences?”
  • “How do you act to prevent future breakdowns?”

The results? Fresh perspectives on providing control, comfort, and confidence to consumers in the most vulnerable situations – that can be TWISTED into marketing that breaks through.

What experts would you invite to your What’s My TWIST? panel and what related, but distinct categories should your brand be learning from? Learn about more TWISTING techniques in TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands.

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How to Represent Your Brand at Big Events

In May I was asked to be a part of two amazing events with strong (and unique) brand experiences. First I stopped by the Business and Burgers segment during the Newfronts with Entrepreneur TV to talk TWISTS and burgers. The next day I headed to Northern California to join Tyra Banks at Stanford Graduate School of Business to talk TWISTS for personal branding.

Representing Your Brand on stages like Entrepreneur and Stanford Graduate School of Business

I think you’ll agree, both of these events had their own unique and very strong brand experiences, and in both cases, multiple large brands were involved. In events like these, the challenge becomes how do you make sure YOUR brand connects and stands out?

It all comes down to three Rs…

  • Research
  • Represent
  • Repeat

Let’s talk research.

For years we’ve heard about the importance of doing your “homework”, but for many business owners they skip over doing it before these types of events, and this is where you can lose some important brand leverage.

Before both events, I was in continuous contact with the teams putting on the events so I could know not only the details and expectations, but also how I could best support the event, and the event leaders.

By connecting with them before the event and digging in on my own research I was able to do two very important things.

First I was able to offer relevant recommendations that could help the event and hosts. This allows me to stand out to them, and that’s valuable not only the day of the event or for future events, but for possible partnerships in the future.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Brand TWIST exercise

The second thing it allows me to do is over deliver for the audience. I know exactly who they are before I entered the room and that allows me to make sure my content is directly targeted at them. I am able to make sure they hear it and remember it.

This research can happen right up until you go on stage. Before the Business and Burgers segment, I asked the guest chef about the burger and what the TWIST was. This allowed me to highlight the great burger and talk TWISTING. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t taken the time to ask a few quick questions. In case you are curious, it was a pinch of cinnamon added to the lamb burger. YUM!

Let’s talk represent

Representing your brand is more than carrying your card and handing it to everyone you meet. You’re a walking and talking example of your brand. This means you can be a constant visual reinforcement of your brand through wearing your brand colors, but also it means living your brand promise, so think not only about the color but the style as a whole.

Julie Cottineau and Tyra Banks talked Personal branding at Stanford Graduate School of Business

It’s also important to have collateral that represents your brand, and if you have a book – that gets really easy. I went back and forth about carrying books with me for the Business and Burgers events, and I’m glad I did. We ended up having one on the table during our chat. The same thing happened at Stanford. After the class, Tyra went live on Facebook with some students and held the book while sharing how she enjoyed it.

Remember this is all about being visual, what can you put in front of your audience’s eyes that will help them remember who you are? It doesn’t have to be a book, it can be a “report” of findings with your logo loud and proud on the cover.

Let’s talk repeat

One of the most important parts of Brand School is knowing your core brand message, and that’s because knowing that allows us to build everything else. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to know that for me it always comes back to the TWIST.

Julie Cottineau looks for the brand TWIST in a burger

That’s why during my time at Business and Burgers I asked about the TWIST in the burger. I also complimented the hosts on their own unique TWISTS – revving up business content with engaging cooking tips and, fun to eat, delicious (messy) burgers! It allowed me to have another place in the conversation to talk TWISTS. Even better was a way for me to talk about my core message, without just talking about me. It allowed me to highlight that you can find the TWIST in anything.

You’ll also notice in the videos from Entrepreneur TV and Tyra Banks we use the word TWIST a lot because it’s all about repeating that brand message in new and creative ways so that you can connect with the people listening.

It’s important to remember though, my ability to repeat came from doing the research, and visually representing the BrandTWIST brand.

What tips to do you have to help your brand shine during important events? Share them here at our BrandTwist blog.

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Performance Wear with a Laid Back TWIST

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Everyone knows how important exercising is to living a healthy lifestyle- but honestly many of us would rather sit on the couch with a pint of double fudge chocolate than train for a marathon- we feel defeated if we don’t confirm to the “ultimate athlete” image of many fitness brands.

Outdoor Voices is disrupting the fitness industry by literally “freeing fitness from performance.” The technical apparel brand creates stylish and flattering active-wear for everyone. Outdoor Voices believes in “doing things”, whether it’s going for a jog, riding a bike, or walking your dog. The brand engages consumers and allows them to write their own definition of fitness.

It all stems from the brands founder, Tyler Haney, who was recently featured in Forbes “30 under 30.” The 28-year-old powerhouse attended Parsons School of Design, and by TWISTING her love of staying active and simply “doing things,” she was able to build a truly iconic brand in just three years. Her TWIST allows Outdoor Voices to stand out amongst giants like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas, who instill a typical “go hard” and “beast mode” mentality.

Tyler told Fashionista “We talk a lot about OV being the hiking buddy that brought the snacks.” Her spot-on perspective of the industry, and her undeniable passion drives Outdoor Voices to dominant success.

Headquartered in New York and Austin, Outdoor Voices brought in over 22.5 million in venture capital, and the community continues to explode across the nation. The future is looking extremely bright for this brand with a TWIST.

Is your brand pushing a traditional viewpoint or lightening up and letting consumers define their own ideal benefit? Think outside the box and TWIST to break away from competition.

david scherzer

David Scherzer is a 24 year old marketer and copywriter, who puts a narrow focus on storytelling. He obtained a bachelors degree in media studies at CUNY Queens College, and continues to exercise his marketing-muscle and work with some of the industries greats. Not to mention, he’s a massive soccer fan. Chat with him at davidascherzer@gmail.com. Or connect on LinkedIn.

 

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Opera With A More Approachable TWIST

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Opera is an elite art form, with high ticket prices only available to a select few. Right? Wrong!

The Metropolitan Opera continues its 10-year tradition with a TWIST of live transmission of season openers on multiple screens in Times Square.

Last year viewers were treated to Verdi’s Otello. This year it was Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, which will also be screened in 100 movie theaters around the world – offering yet another, more affordable way for the brand to broaden its reach.

This might seem like a bad idea of “giving away” content, when it could be purchased at higher prices. But it’s actually a smart strategy of reaching out to new users who might be unfamiliar with opera and intimidated by an unfamiliar experience in the ritzy Metropolitan Operah House.  Plus it creates good will and great publicity.

What products or services could your business offer with the TWIST of being free or available in unexpected venues to widen your reach?

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Trader Joe’s Caring With a Twist

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When we are feeling down or under the weather, we all need some comfort. We love Trader Joe’s packaging TWIST. They use the tissue box packaging to let you know they care and want you to feel better! We love the personal signatures like “love, tissue” that brings the point home.

What will help make your customers feel more loved? Little touch points, like packaging copy, are a great way to ad a little delight to their day – and keep you fondly on their next shopping list.

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Brand Twisting on Creative Warriors Podcast

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Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School Online founder, former VP of Brand for Virgin, and author of “TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands”, shares branding and business-building tips to help your business and brand stand out on Creative Warriors Podcast with host Jeffrey Shaw.

Highlights:

  • Your brand is your business
  • Taking off your brand Blinders
  • 3 Pillars to create lasting impact
  • Leveraging industries outside your category
  • The importance of a Brand Audit

Creative Warriors is dedicated to serving and supporting service-based professionals who are in business marketing themselves and their talent. To make the journey more joyous and the path more profitable. Their tagline: Create. Serve. Be Prosperous.  Check out their site for more helpful resources, podcasts, and courses.

To listen to Jeffrey and Julie’s discussion, click here: Episode 180 – Julie Cottineau

 

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Branding Twists from Julie Cottineau on KGO Radio with DreX

julie-on-kgoJulie Cottineau, BrandTwist and BrandSchoolOnline.com founder, former VP of Brand for Virgin and author of “TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands”, on KGO 810 Radio, San Fransisco with DreX, talking branding and business-building tips and takeaways for the business owner, non-profit and entrepreneur.

LISTEN to the entire interview:

WATCH  VIDEO SEGMENTS of the Interview:

Segment #1 – How Julie started TWISTING. The Pokemon trend, augmented reality and how you can make it work for your business. How branding is invaluable for small businesses.


Segment #2 – Personal branding, icons, lessons learned from the campaign and brands of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, how brand touch points work, how to find inspiration even if you’re just a numbers person, how failure can help you.

Segment #3 – Branding tips for women, perfectionism, working effectively with a team, personal branding as it relates to your business, using twists to help your business stand out, and help you make better business decisions, finding inspiration from other brands.

Segment #4 – Looking beyond what a product is to what it offers, reflections on the San Francisco brand, focusing on specific characteristics of your customer, customer service to differentiate your brand, social media marketing, how narrowing your marketing/branding focus will expand your reach, stay away from “me too” marketing.

 

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Twist Your Brand – Grow Your Business

BrandTwist and BrandSchoolOnline.com & CEO, former VP of Brand for Richard Branson’s Virgin, author of “TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands” and Westchester, NY resident is a guest on the Business Council of Westchesters “Westchester Means Business”, radio program on WVOX. The Council’s Executive Vice President & COO, John Ravitz, conducted the interview. This session is full of takeaways on the fundamentals of branding for the small business owner and non-profit, how entrepreneurs can TWIST with larger brands to boost their own marketing, innovation and branding, and how working at Virgin inspired Julie’s own entrepreneurial journey.

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.

Teaching the Twist – Quick Twist Video #11

 

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Branding is something you do every day, every minute to connect with your audience and ultimately create a more powerful and profitable business.  Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School founder, author of TWIST and former VP of Brand at Virgin, discusses the inextricable link between brand and business strategy.

More Quick Twist Video tips here.

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TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands by Brand School founder Julie Cottineau

“This book is a gift to small business owners, packed with information and strategies for potent branding, and full of obvious experience, wisdom and from-the-ground knowledge.” - Sarah Hinawi, executive director, Purpl Center for Learning and Social Innovation

Twist Personal and Business – Quick Twist Video #9

 

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Keeping it real makes you and your brand more relatable. Julie Cottineau, BrandTwist and Brand School founder, author of TWIST and former VP of Brand at Virgin, explains how TWISTING your personal and professional brands can make you unstoppable.

More Quick Twist Video tips here.

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TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands by Brand School founder Julie Cottineau.

“Julie’s rich experience as the vice president of brand for Virgin has been brought to life in TWIST – a wakeup call and a road map for building brands that break through and get noticed.” - Raul Leal, CEO Virgin Hotels