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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The One Simple Thing You Can Do To Get 10x More Opportunities 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 on 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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When was the last time you updated your status on LinkedIn?

Did you know that LinkedIn now has over 300 million members in over 200 countries? It’s THE business network for professionals.

Updating your status at least ONE time per week will give you 10x more opportunities because you’re staying top-of-mind and positioning yourself as an expert.

You may think “It’s all been said before” or “I don’t want to bug my connections”.

But, when you share quality, relevant, timely information, your connections will love you for it.

Here are 3 kinds of status updates that you can share:

  1. Write a short & sweet tip that can help your audience do something. If you can direct them to your blog for more information – even better!
  2. Share the latest article that you’ve read that you just know your target audience will love. Add your own comment to share which point(s) you liked the most.
  3. Announce that you will be at a particular conference and ask your connections “See you there?”

Remember to keep it professional. Don’t include a Sudoku challenge or announce that you’ve had a muffin for breakfast.

Take Action Now: Do you have any other suggestions for great LinkedIn status updates? Please share!

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

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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!

More posts from the Linkedin series HERE.

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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The #1 Reason You Should NOT Connect With EVERYONE 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 on 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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I’m a firm believer that quality always trumps quantity.

You don’t exchange business cards without a conversation, so why would you accept someone to be a part of your online Rolodex if you haven’t chatted with them first?

When you refer business, you typically you know, like and trust them. You tell your friends and family that a particular company did a great job and you were satisfied with the results.  Have you ever referred a company you didn’t know or trust?

It only takes a few moments to connect with your connections and deepen your relationships.  Here are two steps to ensuring success:

Step 1: Personalize Your Invitation To Connect

When you are making a new connection, ALWAYS be sure to send a personalized note to remind them how you met or let them know why you wish to connect with them.

You may notice on their profile that you went to the same school or perhaps you know someone in common.  This can help turn a cold call

into a warm introduction. Remember, we are more likely to buy from people we know.

Step 2: Respond To Your Invitation Requests

When someone simply sends you the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” request, I will often reply with:

Thanks for your invitation to connect. Can you please refresh my memory as to how we know each other?”

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Or

Thanks for your invitation to connect. I don’t think we’ve met yet. I would love to know more about you and your business. I’d love to get together for a coffee. Would next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. work for you?”

This way, you can get to know your connection better or if they don’t respond, you’re not adding a stranger who likely won’t refer business to you anyway.

The easiest way to reply without accepting is by using the app on your smartphone or tablet (see image) or learn how to respond in 4 steps via desktop visit: How to Respond to Linkedin Invitations. 

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Take action now: Did you find this tip useful? If so, be sure to share with your colleagues and friends.

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

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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!

More posts from the Linkedin series HERE.

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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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!

More posts from the Linkedin series HERE.

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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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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‘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

Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide

This post, Your Brand Needs a Gift Guide, by Company B founder Bonnie Rothman Morris explains how creating a gift guide for your business is a way to explore what your brand really stands for. It’s a great idea and a nice twist on how to reinforce your brand values. This is another in our guest blogger seriesRead more about Bonnie 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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Seth Godin just came out with his holiday gift guide. I trust his opinions, so I enjoyed clicking through his curated group of quirky products looking for ideas. My favorites? Brooklyn-built headphones and a Bob Dylan collection to match. I don’t have a giftee for either, but never mind, what I really loved was how well those products align with Seth’s brand. They’re insider-y and should make you feel smart and thoughtful when you give them. Like Seth.

Any brand can create a gift guide, and it’s a worthy exercise, whether you choose to share your picks on a company blog, with the media, with your customers … or not. The exercise of building a curated lists of gifts your brand could give to someone you care about can help you tap into what you really want to mean to your customers.

Here’s why: gift giving is an art. And every gift tells a story (or it should!). The best gift-givers make the recipient feel special and appreciated by you. The best gift-givers also give gifts that are memorable. What brand doesn’t want their customers to feel that way about them?

Here are some questions to ask to get you started.

  • What are my brand’s core values? How do they translate into my brand’s personality? List them.
  • If my personality is accessible and friendly, for example, what categories of products can my brand legitimately recommend? Think broadly. A food brand can venture into style; a tech brand may legitimately recommend food.
  • If your brand is clever, make sure the gifts are, too. If you’re mainstream, stick with something that’s delightful but relatable. Useful? Twist it up and make it completely useless but fun. If your brand is hip, well, it goes without saying what you need to do. If it’s not hip and you, the gift-giver, are, think about something campy. You get the idea.
  • Play the Amazon game: If my customers like X (i.e., me) they might also like Y. This springs the doors wide open.
  • Most importantly, what do I want my customers to remember about me after receiving this gift?

Once you create your gift guide, there is so much you can do with it. You can make a Vine. (Stop motion animation of the gifts going into a big box). Share it on Facebook or your website. Write a blog post, like Seth, with links. Or, better, buy a bunch of the stuff and send it to your customers. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll remember the gift and, even better, remember your brand and what it stands for.

Okay. We’re putting our money where our mouths are here at Company B. To see Company B’s gift guide, click HERE.

About guest blogger Bonnie Rothman Morris:

Bonnie Rothman Morris became an official storyteller at 6, when she won a short-story writing contest sponsored by the public library in her hometown. She founded Company B in 2008 to deliver Public Relations, Social Media and Branded Content. Today, she tells smart stories for consumer brands that captivate and engage. She’s also famous for giving great gifts. Tweet @bonniemorris.

How Uniforms Influence Employees and Their Company Brand

In this entry, How Uniforms Influence Employees and Their Company Brand, Jennifer Busch, explains how uniforms play an important role in not only influencing customer expectations, but that one important element, often forgotten, is how uniforms heavily influence employees as well. This is part of our guest blogger series. You can read more about Jennifer 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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We all know that a company’s uniforms can say a lot about its employees. But how about what employees say about their uniforms?

Most companies choose uniforms to reflect their brand—perhaps understated formal suits for a luxury hotel, or casual and colorful outfits for a family-friendly park. Uniforms reveal a tremendous amount about an organization and communicate to customers an image of professionalism and reliability. Though uniforms play an important role in influencing customer expectations, one element often forgotten is how uniforms heavily influence employees as well.

Research in the hospitality and service industries show that employees who enjoy wearing their uniforms had higher self-perceptions of job performance, better attitudes about their work, and higher levels of job satisfaction. Likewise, employees who disliked their uniforms had lower levels of job satisfaction. Levels of employee satisfaction directly correlate with customer satisfaction.

So what are the elements that go into creating uniforms that employees will be proud to wear? There are two main considerations, appearance and function.

Appearance. Employees care about how they look. An attractive uniform can greatly enhance self-esteem, which in turn improves attitude. One extremely important detail is the fit. Baggy or tight garments can make employees feel self-conscious and less confident in interacting with customers. Other important details include color, fabric, and style, which should reflect the company brand.

Function. Uniforms should be sturdy enough to handle daily wear and tear. They also should not inhibit job performance—imagine a waiter’s pockets not being able to fit a notepad, or a bellboy’s jacket being so overdesigned with buttons that they pop off every time he is lifting luggage. Impractical uniforms can increase stress and make job performance difficult.

In short, well-designed uniforms can build employee self-confidence and morale. In particular, studies show that employees believe that their credibility increases while wearing a formal style uniform, making them far more confident and professional while interacting with customers. This translates to better service, and in turn positively affects a company’s long-term profitability. It’s what researchers call the “Apple Store Effect.” When managers and employees feel connected to the company, they exhibit higher levels of loyalty and commitment to the job, which translates to better customer connections.

About guest blogger Jennifer Busch:

Jennifer is the fourth generation of the Busch family to run I. Buss & Allan Uniform Company. Prior to joining the family business, Jennifer worked in the field of psychological research and also flourished in the creative industries. She now channels her creativity into her work as the owner and lead designer for I. Buss & Allan Uniform. She has designed unique looks for many of New York’s most renowned owners and developers. I.Buss & Allan’s client list includes hotels and clubs, real estate companies, privately owned firms, The NYPD,  banks and Business Improvement Districts.

Agency vs. Client: What’s the Best Fit For You?

This post, Agency vs. Client: What’s the Best Fit For You? is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

Here’a a question I get a lot:

Should I work for an Agency or a Brand?

This is a tough one. There is no one right answer. I’ve been lucky enough to work on both sides of the branding aisle and I think like most career paths, there is no right or wrong path. Just the path you choose.

But I can tell you that from my perspective, if you are interested in an agency role, it’s good to pursue this at the beginning of your career.

Agency jobs can be tough. The pay (especially at the beginning) is low and the hours are long. But, at the right Agency, you will learn a lot. So if you are interested in trying the Agency side, it’s often best to invest this time early in your career when normally you have less obligations (mortgage, spouse, kids) and can put in the long hours and be less concerned about the pay.

In contrast, the relatively shorter and more predictable hours of a client-side job can often fit your lifestyle better when kids enter the picture.

I also believe one benefit of working on the Agency side is that by being accountable to a client, you can learn a great deal about program management and meeting management skills. As an Assistant Account Executive at Grey, I learned how to be very buttoned-up. I had to make sure everyone was prepared for meetings and we weren’t wasting the client’s time. Agendas went out with meeting invites, materials were prepared and next steps were clearly outlined in meeting reports. This kind of discipline, learned early on, stayed with me and was helpful as I advanced through my career.

You can also learn this on the Client side, but often meetings are a bit more casual. At least this was my experience at Virgin- but also at many Clients that I worked for as an Agency partner.

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The other aspect that I loved about working on the Agency side was the exposure to different accounts and business challenges. You don’t always get that when you sign on early with a client that works in one category.

So there are a  lot of plusses about the Agency side, but here’s one tick in favor of a Client job…if you are really interested in the business side of marketing you will likely learn more about this if you are on the Client side. This isn’t to say that Agency people don’t do a good job of learning about their Client’s businesses. They do. But in my experience, no matter how close an Agency partner is, its still not the same as being on the inside and hearing first hand all of the business and financial conversations – and being truly held accountable for business results.

My 5 + years at Virgin was like getting my MBA. I became much more comfortable and familiar with different business terms and business models. I saw first hand the impact of different marketing decisions. From a much closer perspective than I ever had on the Agency side. I also learned how to be more accountable for my creative ideas. I couldn’t propose solutions that were going to cost a lot without thinking about how we would make the cost up in additional revenue. This might sound like a constraint, but it actually made me make sure my creative ideas were more sound, and in turn, they had a better chance of being implemented.

So what’s the right fit for you? It’s hard to say. One way to make the choice is to think about where you see yourself in 5-10 years. If you have any ambitions of someday starting your own business, then I would say it’s really important to get some experience on the Client side. Even if you have an MBA from a top school – there’s really no substitute for in market experience.

And if you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or are already building a business, our highly effective, premier branding program, Brand will give you the insight and tools you need to get the job done. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“Brand School was helped us set structure to our process, define our target and recognize our customer’s motivations. We were able to create timely taglines and better define our branding campaigns”.  - Randi Curhan, Development Coordinator for Redwood High School Foundation

How Not to Dress for Success

This post, How Not to Dress for Success, is another in our series providing insight and action steps for those seeking a career in branding. Julie Cottineau gives her top tips and shares insights from her 25+ years at great companies such as Grey, Interbrand and Virgin. You can read more entries in this Career series HERE

It may be summer, but this is still a job. Even if you see senior partners dressing in casual clothes – remember they’ve already gotten the job. If you are an intern or junior employee,  you are still auditioning. The casual air in a creative environment like an agency can be misleading, but if you have any doubt whatsoever, err on the more professional side.

This means:

No flip flops (for men or women) ever- save them for the beach!

No midriff baring.

Gals: No super micro-mini skirts or hotpants.

Guys: Depending on your company, you may not need to wear a jacket or tie – but no shorts or scruffy t-shirts, and no pants hanging so low they’re falling off.

Pay attention to how the men and women in the office are dressing when they go to see clients.

When in doubt: ask!

Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but it doesn’t mean you need to look frumpy either. Just be clean, neat and professional.  Don’t go for the the Devil Wears Prada Anne Hathaway before look.

If you are in the branding business, you do need to pay a little attention to your own brand. This is a great time to start cultivating your unique personal style, and style can be expressed in many ways.

If you do want to show some personality through your clothing, accessorize. This can be statement jewelry, cool bags, belts, shoes, hats, scarfs or ties; all applicable for both men and women.

Perhaps there is a certain color, pattern or cool style of specs that you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to wear them continually and start to develop a signature look. As long as it’s genuinely connected to who you are – don’t play dress up.

One place where shorts are totally appropriate—the company softball team. Joining in is a great way to show your unique personality, demonstrate that you are team player and get to know your future colleagues and bosses.

When I was at Virgin we had a great college intern who came to every game. He wasn’t the best batter or fielder but he had such a great attitude. He was always cheering his teammates on and offering to buy the first round at the pub after the game. This definitely made a positive and memorable impression, gave us great insight into his personality and showed that he was someone who could fit in with the corporate culture.

Have you observed a fashion faux pas in the office? We’d love to hear about your own experience… maybe it was your own internship or a story from one of your friends.

Also, if you are looking to boost your resume, why not become a guest blogger for BrandTwist? Reach out to jamie@brandtwist.com with your blog idea or any questions about guest blogging.

Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the insight and tools you need to express your personal brand for greater recognition in your career field. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also connect with us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

“I highly recommend tis class to anybody; it will put your business on a different level.” - Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of  wired@heart