Twisting Personal Branding: Tone, Twitter and Trouble

adeleThough your business’s semblance is essential to your success, don’t forget to pay attention to how you present yourself. Your personal brand shows the public who you are as a company, as well as a person. What’s your TWIST? Are you bubbly and lighthearted? Are you serious and driven? Do you want to appear approachable? These are questions you may want to ask yourself before entering the public eye.

Many businesses have a distinctive presence when it comes to their brand, so much so that it feels more like a personal brand. A prime example is the British juice and smoothie company, Innocent Drinks. As the name implies, this brand maintains an innocent, almost comical appearance on its social media platforms. Innocent Drinks wrote on Twitter, “Scientists * say buying our smoothies for half price…makes you 67% more attractive.” The company then followed up with, “ * Scientists may be imaginary.” With both messages, Innocent Drinks reiterates its twist – its humorous tone – displaying a consistent personal brand. Many consumers, especially the younger demographic, have applauded this personal branding, leading to a strong social media fan base. Because of its successful personal branding, Innocent Drinks makes sure the public remembers its products, as well as the company as a whole.

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Personal branding is just as important, if not more important, for individuals as it is for businesses. Celebrities have a large presence on social media, especially on Twitter. The Twitter platform permits celebrities to quickly  communicate directly with their fans. This is why celebrities often flock to Twitter when problems arise that they want to address in a timely fashion.

Not all business ventures will go off without a hitch and nobody is perfect, not even celebrities. The manner in which you respond to errors and setbacks is crucial to how you and your business, are viewed. When things go wrong in a celebrity’s career, they often follow one of two paths to address it: laugh it off or become utterly serious. The path they choose reflects on both their personal and business brand.

Besides her beautiful voice, Grammy award-winning artist Adele is known for her humor which has become a defining personal brand twist. She is also known for not caring what others, like the media, think about her choices and her lifestyle. This is Adele’s personal brand, and it works for her. When parts of her performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards seemed uncharacteristically out of tune, Adele took to the social media platform to explain the story behind the problem. She tweeted, “The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Shit happens…” She then followed with, “Because of it though… I’m treating myself to an In-N-Out. So maybe it was worth it.” Adele was consistent with expressing her humorous and relaxed personality when her performance did not go as planned. Her personal brand stayed intact, and her fans appreciated it.

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But not all celebrities will remain calm, cool, and collected when they run into obstacles – and this can have an impact on their personal brand. Laura Benanti is a Tony Award-winner for her portrayal of Louise in Gypsy and a five-time Tony nominee. Like Adele, Benanti is known for her humor, especially in her frequent tweets. But Benanti’s personal brand veered from funny to ferocious when her husband encountered a seating mix up on a flight.

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She called out United Airlines, tweeting, “Hey United, the garbage can of the skies, if you book an aisle seat across the country you should get that seat. Not the MIDDLE,” to which United Airlines responded, “Hey, Laura. We know seat changes can be a drag. DM us your confirmation number if you’d like assistance.” After Benanti attacked the airline again (later deleting her tweet), United Airlines answered, “We know this is frustrating, however we do state in our Contract of Carriage that seat assignments are never guaranteed.”

Benanti’s personal brand shifted drastically when everything did not go as planned revealing a brand-inconsistent demeanor.  To her, United Airlines was the villain. In the public’s eyes, Benanti became the villain. The sudden change in her personal brand away from humor made her appear unapproachable.

Clearly, finding your personal brand twist is important. The tone you set for yourself and your company shows the public who you are, what you stand for, and how you stand out. When things go wrong, stay consistent with your brand’s tone and handle the situation in keeping with your brand.

About the author:

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Justin Cohen is a rising senior at Dobbs Ferry High School. An International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, Justin hopes to pursue a career in advertising. He is happy to be a part of the BrandTwist team!  You can reach Justin on Twitter at @justcohen18 and via email at justcohen18@gmail.com.

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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.

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.

Branding Lessons from Beyonce

It takes more than a catchy logo, flashy colors and a little bit of “shake your hips” and “show some leg” to create a trusted, consistent brand, and no one knows that better then Beyoncé. The whirlwind of negative press that circulated about how she had lip-synched the National Anthem during President Obama’s Inauguration could have tainted her gleaming reputation, but it didn’t. Why not? She could have ignored the matter or she could have admitted an error in judgment and apologized. She did neither. What she did do was communicate. She expressed what she did, why she did it, and remained rock-solid true to her brand.

Beyoncé admitted to singing with a recording, and in doing so continued to deliver what her fans expect most from her: quality, emotional connection, passion and some real “Sasha Fierce” (her brand avatar) attitude, which further endeared the market to her.

Businesses of every kind encounter errors and mistakes. The challenge lies in finding ways to rise above those bumps in the road. How can your business and brand benefit from looking at the way Beyoncé handled her lip-synch snafu?

Let’s look at how she succeeded in preserving trust and actually strengthening her brand:

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IF YOU LIKE IT, THEN YOU BETTER TAKE THE REINS ON IT

Shortly after the Inauguration, at a press conference about her upcoming Super Bowl Half Time Show concert, Beyoncé took the reins. Before reporters had a chance to toss her a question, she belted out a powerful acapella rendition of “The National Anthem” followed with, “Any questions?” and a laugh. Not only did she take control and write her own ending to the lip-synch buzz, but she even over-delivered by giving everyone what they wanted to see and hear in true “Sasha Fierce” brand style all the way. 

SHOW YOUR HUMAN SIDE

She went on to share her humanness and vulnerability. She expressed that she is a perfectionist, was uncomfortable performing live without a sound check, and did not want to let everyone down with a less-than-perfect moment. She then reinforced her dedication to continue delivering what her fan following expects by stating she would not disappoint in the upcoming Super Bowl Half Time Show.

KEY TAKE-AWAY? BE PREEMPTIVE AND WRITE YOUR OWN ENDING

Your business can rise above bumps in the road. How? Identify the problem quickly. Address your market with conviction in a way that’s in line with your voice, image, and customer expectation. Over-deliver by providing discounts or free downloads, etc. Tell your story, share challenges and re-commit. Give your market the opportunity to better understand who you are. Then reinforce what your brand stands for by communicating positive intentions. You too will create a positive ending to a challenging situation.

AT BRAND SCHOOL WE SHOW YOU HOW TO ROCK YOUR BRAND

Understanding your customers’ needs, being able to exceed their expectations and effectively communicate your ideas is critical to maintaining strong brand loyalty. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, gives you the tools you need to develop your branding and use it to make your business sing. We give you hands-on exercises, exclusive online videos, and the opportunity to connect with a supportive community of fellow brand-building entrepreneurs.

“The value I received from my investment was incredible and I have no doubt that it will continue to pay dividends to me.”  - Lynn Stull, Owner Arts2Thrive

Branding Lessons from the Royal Wedding

Depending on your penchant for romance and spectacle, Friday’s “wedding of the century” may have moved you or bored you… to tears.

But regardless of whether you were in the “set my alarm to 5am camp” or the camp of “please, aren’t there other things in the world to focus on?”, there’s one thing everyone can agree on…the whole event was a masterpiece of branding.
Keep reading »

Betty White: Branding Lessons

In case you’ve been living under a rock….Betty White, the 88 year old Emmy winning actress, is back with a vengeance.

Her re-popularity (if that’s a word) started with a Snicker’s commercial during the Super Bowl:

This spot and her performance in it, triggered a Facebook campaign to have her host Saturday Night Live. Over half a million people became fans of the Facebook petition page and she will be appearing this weekend as the SNL host.

What branding lessons can be learned from Betty White?
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The Sarah Palin Brand

Fascinating piece in today’s NY Times business section on How Sarah Palin Became a Brand.

Whether or not you agree with her politics, I think you have to admire her brand-building skills.

From the very beginning of her vice presidential candidacy, I think that some of us were too quick to dismiss her.

As in all marketing, it’s extremely important to see your product not through your own eyes…but through the eyes of the potential target audience.

Keep reading »

Oscar Follow Up

Well, I was wrong about Avatar taking best picture.

But I was right about this being a “year of small” as many lower budget films like Hurt Locker, Crazy Heart (yeah Jeff Bridges!) and Precious swept the awards.

Hard to believe that Kathryn Bigelow is the FIRST woman director to win an Oscar. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1633375/story.jhtml
But better late than never. And for a war film, and not a romantic comedy, no less.

Overall I found the evening a bit uninspired. I actually fell asleep at 9:30 and had to catch up on what I missed in this morning’s news.

For NY area viewers the fight between ABC (broadcasters of the Oscar’s) and CableVision left the consumers as the big losers, until a last minute reprieve straightened things out. Wonder how this will impact the CableVision brand.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What’s your take on the 82nd Oscar’s?

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Who are your Oscar Faves?

This Sunday is the 82nd annual Academy Awards. In case you need a refresher on who is nominated, click here.

This year’s nominees are an interesting mix of big budget blockbusters  (Avatar) and smaller, more quirky pieces (An Education).

I think it will be hard to ignore the commercial success (and technical prowess) of Avatar- which I think will walk away with Best Picture. But I also think this may also be a year of the underdog as the national rejection of all things “big business” could permeate the voting.

I think we may see smaller films like Precious rewarded for best supporting actress (Mo’Nique) and Crazy Heart taking home the precious statue for Best Actor (Jeff Bridges).

What are your Oscar predictions? Who do you think will go home with the gold?

Join the conversation »

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Do these Tiger golf balls cross the line?   Tigertail

These Tiger Woods Mistress golf balls hit the news yesterday and according to the media have at least one of his alleged former mistresses up in arms.

What do you think? Is this a harmless “novelty” product taking advantage of an outrageous scandal or do you agree that there’s something darker at play here? Do these promote violence against women?

Personally I think they cross the line. I have a hard time with the notion of hittin women’s faces -even if it’s done in “sport”.

Wondering  if they will sell and who will buy them.

What’s your twist?

Join the conversation »